A once-in-a-lifetime moment graced Clifton’s waters as a baby Whale Shark wandered southward! In another rare sighting, people teamed up to help the young shark back to deeper waters!
Clifton, South Africa (07 January 2024) —A moment classed as ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ recently had Cape Town’s Clifton 4th Beach as the talk of the town! This after a special guest to Clifton’s colder waters took to unintentionally join beachgoers (roughly 20m from the shore) earlier this week. However, this was no common marine life spotting.
The sight that captured everyone’s attention was none-other-than a juvenile Whale Shark who had swum the path less travelled near Bun Rock. This was an incredible spotting for two reasons. Firstly, the Whale Shark is a rare aquatic friend and is classified as Endangered Globally on the UICN Red List. Secondly, Whale Sharks are not known to gravitate to or seek cold waters, preferring warmer climates.
While the cause for the Whale Shark’s wandering to one of the Clifton’s is not yet fully known (the Clifton Surf Lifesaving Club have speculated injury or separation from its mother), what happened after it was spotted was very special.
After the shark began to beach itself ,Clifton lifeguards along with other helpful hands joined forces to help the young shark back into deeper waters after members of the public were encouraged to leave the marine baby alone.
Videos of the Whale Shark have continuously circulated social media for the past couple of days, and heartwarmingly, many have been of admiration instead of fear.
Given the bad reputation humans have given sharks (even though it is us who invade their homes and not the other way around), it’s important that the narrative shifts from fear to understanding of how marine ecosystems (and those who are a part of it) work.
The Lifesaving Club have also noted that if anyone should encounter marine life, the best thing to do is to leave it be, and call the pros like:
- The City of Cape Town—021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline
- The NSRI 087 094 9774