The Clog’s love letter to our favorite gentle giant, the whale shark

Illustration of a diver and a whale shark
Vivian Du/Staff

Oh, Rhincodon typus — the Clog’s love for you is as deep as the big blue. You hold our heart like no other whale or shark of your kind. Maybe this is because you’re a whale shark, or maybe we’re just so mesmerized by your elegance. The way you coast through the ocean is both mysterious and alluring. 

Oh, whale shark — you’re the biggest fish in the sea, and you’re the only one we see. You’re large, but oh, so gentle. As a filter feeder and a member of the shark family, you never use your 3,000 teeth for destruction, but rather as a strategy for survival. Water filters through your 5-foot-wide mouth to process phytoplankton — a whale shark’s primary source of food. The existence of teeth in your mouth is a riddle to all. Please do tell.

Oh, shark — you’re predisposed to warm water temperatures and would savor the summer temperatures of Berkeley, California. You appear to live quite an isolated life, but so much of your history and lifestyle is unknown. I would love to be your pen pal and learn some more. What’s the real reason scientists haven’t discovered where whale sharks raise their offspring? Do you dive into the depths of the ocean to celebrate and tango? If only I could tango in the ocean alongside you. You are stealthy, perhaps living life out of sight to avoid being prodded, poked and abused by human touch.

Oh, gentle giant — how we want to protect you. Even though you’re seen as a fancy dinner to some, we at the Clog respect you and would like for this mindset to be overcome. You and your beloved family members shouldn’t have to live your lives in captivity, merely for the purpose of human entertainment. You and your beloved family members shouldn’t have to endure a painful death, your body sacrificed only for the pleasure of human taste buds. You’re a gentle giant — kind, soft and curious.

Contact Skylar Schoemig at [email protected].