Whale Sharks Vulnerable to Oil Slick

Director, Center for Shark Research
Dr. Robert Hueter, Director, Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory
SARASOTA (2010-07-08) -

Whale sharks aren't cute and fuzzy animals that tug at heartstrings on the nightly news, like pelicans and turtles that are cleansed of oil and released back into the Gulf of Mexico. But though they're seldom seen by man, they are among the most vulnerable to the spreading Gulf oil slick.

The sharks can grow up to 45 feet long and are the largest fish in the world. These plant-eaters are particularly sensitive to toxins in the food chain. So says Robert Hueter, who directs the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory. He tells WUSF's Steve Newborn that the Gulf slick could be a death sentence for these graceful animals.

For more information on the vulnerable species, check out National Geographic's Whale Shark page.

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