Tracking data from “Sammy” the female whale shark that was reportedly released from Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm on March 18 has been retrieved by Mote Marine Laboratory, according to a gulfnews.com article. The whale shark was tagged with a pop-up satellite tracking tag upon her release. The tag was expected to record data for approximately 3 months, but it popped up after one month. It is unknown why the tag detached early, but data retrieved from the tracking tag indicated what Dr. Robert Hueter, Director of Mote’s Center for Shark Research described as “normal behavior similar to what we’ve observed in other whale sharks.”
Not long after the reported release of the whale shark, some animal rights groups were requesting evidence that the shark had actually been released, calling into question the “secretive” nature of The Palm’s release of “Sammy” back into the wild. The data retrieved by Mote Marine Laboratory provides scientific evidence that the whale was not only released but exhibited normal behavior for at least 33 days after her release.
Mote has posted a map of the released whale shark’s tracking data.