In pictures: The world’s largest fish

By MiNDFOOD

A whale shark approaches a feeder boat off the beach of Tan-awan, Oslob, in the southern Philippines island of Cebu March 1, 2013. Tan-awan, in the southern Philippines island of Cebu, used to be a sleepy village that never saw tourists unless they were lost or in transit. Yet now they flock there by the hundreds - to swim with whale sharks, the world's largest fish. Whale sharks are lured to the Tan-awan coastline of the Oslob district by fishermen who hand feed them small shrimp, drawing divers and snorkelers to see the highly sought-after animals, known as gentle giants of the sea. But the practice has sparked fierce debate on the internet and among biologists, who decry it as unnatural. Picture taken March 1, 2013. REUTERS/David Loh (PHILIPPINES  - Tags: SOCIETY ANIMALS ENVIRONMENT)

ATTENTION EDITORS: PICTURE 12 OF 25 FOR PACKAGE 'THE WHALE SHARK FEEDERS'
SEARCH 'WHALE LOH' FOR ALL IMAGES - GM1E93C17MA01
A whale shark approaches a feeder boat off the beach of Tan-awan, Oslob, in the southern Philippines island of Cebu March 1, 2013. Tan-awan, in the southern Philippines island of Cebu, used to be a sleepy village that never saw tourists unless they were lost or in transit. Yet now they flock there by the hundreds - to swim with whale sharks, the world's largest fish. Whale sharks are lured to the Tan-awan coastline of the Oslob district by fishermen who hand feed them small shrimp, drawing divers and snorkelers to see the highly sought-after animals, known as gentle giants of the sea. But the practice has sparked fierce debate on the internet and among biologists, who decry it as unnatural. Picture taken March 1, 2013. REUTERS/David Loh (PHILIPPINES - Tags: SOCIETY ANIMALS ENVIRONMENT) ATTENTION EDITORS: PICTURE 12 OF 25 FOR PACKAGE 'THE WHALE SHARK FEEDERS' SEARCH 'WHALE LOH' FOR ALL IMAGES - GM1E93C17MA01

Started in 2012, International Whale Shark Day (August 30) celebrates these gentle giants. The slow-moving, filter-feeding carpet sharks are the largest fish species known to man.

The name “whale shark” refers to the fish’s size, being as large as some species of whales. Take a look at these pictures of this beautiful creature:

A whale shark approaches a feeder boat off the beach of Tan-awan, Oslob, in the southern Philippines island of Cebu March 1, 2013. Tan-awan, in the southern Philippines island of Cebu, used to be a sleepy village that never saw tourists unless they were lost or in transit. Yet now they flock there by the hundreds – to swim with whale sharks, the world’s largest fish. Whale sharks are lured to the Tan-awan coastline of the Oslob district by fishermen who hand feed them small shrimp, drawing divers and snorkelers to see the highly sought-after animals, known as gentle giants of the sea. But the practice has sparked fierce debate on the internet and among biologists, who decry it as unnatural. REUTERS/David Loh
Snorkelers swim with a whale shark, the world’s largest fish, at Maldives’ South Ari Atoll. The whale shark inhabits in tropical and temperate waters and is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a vulnerable species. REUTERS/David Loh 
REUTERS/David Loh
Tagged Whale Shark with Cobia on the Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth, Western Australia.

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