As someone who loves nature, experiencing wildlife probably brings you a lot of joy. And as you’re particularly interested in sharks, it’s likely that seeing Whale Sharks and Basking Sharks are high on your bucket list. It certainly is on ours!

In all the excitement of seeing these remarkable animals it can be tempting to get as close to the action as possible. But this can intimidate animals and, in some circumstances, may put you in danger.

Crowding or harassing any animal is likely to cause them great distress. This not only devalues your experience but may cause the animal to act erratically.

To create a truly amazing and unforgettable experience remember to respect wildlife. For example Whale Shark operators in Mozambique have a ‘one boat per Whale Shark’ policy. Although on quiet days this isn't always observed.


When scared, larger animals, such as Whale Sharks and Basking Sharks, can be dangerous. An 8m, 7 tonne Basking Shark is more than capable of leaping clear out of the water. Not something you'd want to land on your head!

Similarly, whilst diving at an event like the sardine run remember that you're in the middle of a feeding frenzy. And it's not only sharks that are feeding.

Wildlife watching is becoming increasingly popular. And to fully enjoy your experience it's important to act responsibly. By understanding how our actions affect wildlife we can minimise our disturbance. Ensuring a safe and positive experience for both you and the shark. Awareness, responsibility and respect are key:

  • AWARENESS – Research the animals you'll be watching. Learn to recognise the signs they make when they feel threatened. Be alert, observant and patient. Always put the interests of the animal first.

  • RESPONSIBLITY – Remember you're responsible for your own actions. If animals display any sign of distress move away quietly. Also consider the length of time you spend watching them. The presence of people over long periods can be disturbing.

  • RESPECT – Always respect the wildlife, environment and other people. Leave the environment as you find it.


Ensure safe and positive interactions between humans and sharks by choosing a responsible tour operator that follows the advice in the resources below: 

► Download our Basking Shark Code of Conduct (pdf)

► View the Maldives Whale Shark Research Project's guidelines

Looking for a UK tour operator?

► We recommend a WiSe accredited company. Visit the Wildlife Safe (WiSe) website for more information.

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