Inspectors from the Eilat Nature Reserve and the Israel Nature and Park Authority had a rare and fascinating encounter with a whale shark.
The unique event took place on Monday in the Gulf of Eilat when the majestic creature was spotted by the inspectors who were on their way back from an unrelated underwater mission.
Since they already had all their diving and photography equipment with them, the team was able to take some gorgeous photographs of the shark as well as stunning video footage.
The shark, who is said to be a juvenile at just 6-7 meters long, calmly swam near the inspectors for approximately 30 minutes.
Ziv Neder, a marine inspector at the Israel Nature and National Parks Authority, said, "There have been encounters between divers in Eilat and the whale shark in the past, some of which were documented in one photograph or another, but the documentation here is definitely exceptional in light of our preparations for photography and diving equipment."
He added, "This exciting documentation highlights the importance of preserving the Gulf of Eilat, which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the world."
The whale shark's diet consists almost entirely of plankton and they are relatively harmless to humans. Rare attacks have occurred outside Israel, but only in response to provocation by humans. It is the largest species of fish in the world.
The whale shark is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Accordingly, the Park Authority forbids members of the public to approach a whale shark, block its route, touch it or take any action that causes harm or prevents it from moving freely.Have you taken any pictures of Israel's underwater creatures? Share them with The Jerusalem Post on million eyez by clicking the blue camera icon below.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>