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Rare mako shark sighted on Pulau Mabul

Rare mako shark sighted on Pulau Mabul



The mako shark in the shallow waters of Mabul.-Photo by Sylvian Kok

SEMPORNA (Jan 10): An unusual encounter with a shortfin mako shark on Pulau Mabul provided an interesting end-of-year experience for tourist Sylvian Kok and her friends.

The shark was sighted swimming beside the tourist boat that she and her friends were on near the Mabul Water Bungalows, in the Semporna region.

The shark was recorded feeding on the carcasss of a billfish in the shallows and swimming alongside their boat – a most memorable experience for all involved, as the species usually prefers the open ocean.

Kok’s video of the encounter was uploaded onto social media platforms – with many sharing her excitement, as the video has since gone viral.

The shark was identified as a shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), on the basis of the size of the pectoral fins on the side of the body and the shape of the snout.

Even more amazing for this close-up encounter, is that this species is known to jump up to 20 feet out of water – nearly five metres! – and can achieve speed of more than 70km per hour over short periods.

The sighting is yet another sign of the incredible marine biodiversity found in Sabah, particularly in the Semporna region. The tourists are not alone in their excitement at the shark sighting, as many tourists go to the region to be able to dive with sharks.

A study by Dr Johanna Zimmerhackel of the Australian Institute of Marine Science determined that shark-diving tourism provided direct revenues in excess of US$16.6 million to the Semporna region in 2018.


News date: 
Monday, January 10, 2022
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