Hundreds of Whale Sharks have been congregating close to the Al Shaheen oil field in the Persian Gulf.
The bewildering site is believed to happen close to one of the largest oil fields in the world as it acts as an artificial reef – attracting species that would not otherwise live so close by.
This footage shows an expert from the operator of the field Maersk Oil and David Robinson from Heriot Watt University who specialises in the ecology of the species in the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.
The field is close to the maritime border between Iran and Qatar and each year Whale Sharks have been arriving in huge numbers filter feeding on the water’s surface.
Around 400 have been identified so far by Maersk Oil who have been researching the phenomenon for the past five years.
Scientists have been continuing to monitor the signals put out by the satellite tags they use on the Whale Sharks.
Steffen Bach, marine biologist with Maersk Oil, said: “We really want to know where the females are going because we really don’t know where they give birth. The tags here can tell us a little
bit more about where the females go.”
The Whale Shark populations are thought to currently be in decline and since 2004 the species has been listed as vulnerable to extinction.