Whale Sharks as Good Luck Charms

In Cenderawasih Bay, in West Papua, Indonesia, fishermen set out for days on hand-made floating platforms called bagans. At night, they turn on lights to attract squid and baitfish, and lower nets from their bagans—also attracting whale sharks to the smell and commotion. Bagan fishermen have long believed that whale sharks bring good luck and feed them bits of baitfish. Today, the luck comes to them in the form of marine tourism, as people travel to Cenderawasih Bay for up-close encounters with these gentle giants. Photographer Pete Oxford visited the bay, and returned with these photos, recently published in the online magazine bioGraphic.

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