Whale shark

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the largest fish in the sea, and although seeing them in the wild and swimming with them can be imposing, their diet is based on plankton.

Cooperating Volunteers collaborates in various destinations where, during your free time, you might be able to take an excursion and, with luck, see them. It’s an unforgettable experience.

Today, we’ll share a bit more about them and some interesting facts you might not know.

This animal can exceed 12 meters in length and weigh more than 21 tons, making it the largest fish in the world. Despite its imposing size, as mentioned earlier, it is a gentle creature known for its calm behavior and filter-feeding diet (humans and most marine animals are not on their menu).

Its elongated body is covered in white spots and lines, a unique pattern for each individual, similar to human fingerprints. Its head is flattened and wide, with small barbels protruding from its nostrils. The extremely large mouth can measure up to 1.5 meters wide. Inside its mouth, hundreds of rows of small teeth align, though these are not used for chewing. Instead, the whale shark feeds by filtering water, capturing plankton, small fish, and crustaceans. They expel the water through their gills and retain all these foods.

Whale sharks prefer warm waters where they follow the migrations of plankton and other food sources, which is why they are present in all tropical seas. They congregate in different places depending on the time of year, giving them a global distribution, inhabiting all the world’s tropical and temperate oceans. Often, these sharks undertake long migrations, moving between feeding and breeding areas.

The reproduction of whale sharks remains a mystery in many aspects. It is known that they are ovoviviparous, meaning the females retain the eggs inside their bodies until the young are ready to be born. Newborn whale sharks measure between 40 and 60 centimeters in length. They are believed to reach sexual maturity at around 9 meters, although this can vary. A female whale shark can give birth to a large number of young in a single litter. One documented case found more than 300 embryos in a female.

The whale shark is classified as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The main threats to their survival include accidental fishing, maritime traffic, pollution, and targeted hunting in some regions. Habitat loss due to climate change also poses a significant threat.

Globally, various conservation measures have been implemented to protect this species. Many nations have banned whale shark fishing and established marine protected areas where these animals can feed and breed without human interference. Additionally, whale shark watching tourism has become an important source of income for some communities, incentivizing the conservation of these animals instead of their exploitation.

The calm nature of these animals allows many divers and snorkelers around the world to have close encounters with these giants of the sea. However, it is crucial that these interactions are conducted responsibly to avoid stressing the animals or disrupting their natural behavior. Strict regulations in many whale shark watching destinations help ensure that these activities are sustainable and safe for both the sharks and humans.


  • They can live up to 70-100 years, although determining their exact age is a challenge for scientists. Techniques like measuring growth bands in the vertebrae are used to estimate age.
  •  In different cultures and languages, the whale shark is known by various names. In the Philippines, it is called “butanding,” in Mexico, “domino,” and in many other places, simply “monster fish.”
  • Despite their size, whale sharks are slow swimmers, moving at an average speed of 5 km/h. However, they can undertake migratory journeys of thousands of kilometers between feeding and breeding areas.
  • Although their mouth contains around 3,000 small teeth arranged in over 300 rows, these teeth do not play a significant role in their feeding.
  • Whale sharks have the ability to emit bioluminescent light. This is especially noticeable in young individuals and may serve to attract prey or communicate with other whale sharks.
  • Like some bats and dolphins, whale sharks are believed to use echolocation to navigate and find food, although this hypothesis is still being investigated.
  • In several cultures, the whale shark is considered a symbol of luck and protection. For example, in the Philippine Islands, encountering a whale shark is believed to be a sign of good fortune.


  • MEXICO: Isla Holbox and the Yucatán Peninsula. Between June and September, whale sharks congregate in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico near Isla Holbox and the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, especially around Isla Mujeres and Cancún.
  • PHILIPPINES: Donsol and Oslob. In Donsol, whale shark sightings are common between November and June. In Oslob, sightings occur almost year-round due to the controversial practice of feeding them to attract them near the coast.
  • AUSTRALIA: Ningaloo Reef. Between March and July, the Ningaloo Reef on Australia’s west coast is an excellent place to spot whale sharks, especially during the annual migration.
  • MALDIVES: Ari Atoll and Baa Atoll. Whale sharks can be seen year-round in the Maldives, but are more common between May and December. Ari Atoll is particularly famous for these sightings.
  • SEYCHELLES: Mahe Island and surroundings. In the Seychelles, whale sharks are usually observed between October and April, following the plankton migration.
  • MOZAMBIQUE: Tofo Beach. Between October and March, Tofo Beach in Mozambique is a prominent location to see whale sharks, which feed on the plankton-rich waters.
  • TANZANIA: Mafia Island. Mafia Island, especially between October and March, offers a good opportunity to spot whale sharks.
  • MADAGASCAR: Nosy Be Island. Between September and December, Nosy Be Island is an excellent place to see them.
  • INDIA: Lakshadweep Islands. The Lakshadweep Islands, particularly around the atolls, are known whale shark sighting spots between May and December.
  • INDONESIA: Cenderawasih Bay. This place in West Papua is known for its regular whale shark sightings, attracted by small fish and plankton year-round.

The whale shark is one of the ocean’s marvels, a gentle giant playing a crucial role in the marine ecosystem.

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Our volunteers will be able to validate university credits with the aim of traveling in a more responsible and economical way.

What does volunteering focused on university practices involve?

At Cooperating Volunteers, we make agreements with different universities to validate university credits with the aim of traveling in a more responsible and economical way.

The specialties we work with are extensive: medical volunteering, nursing, education, social work, psychology, physiotherapy, engineering, architecture…

The practices can be carried out in our designated destinations for this purpose, as well as in Spain.

If you choose an international destination, it’s a unique way to live an unforgettable and enriching experience, as you will have the opportunity to continue your education in another country, with a completely different culture.

Stepping out of our comfort zone and being part of the various projects at the destination will allow us to grow both personally and professionally, creating a more extensive curriculum.

And we are fully convinced that this experience will accompany you throughout your life.

You will be able to visit hospitals, schools, centers, orphanages, and participate directly and actively in the daily lives of all those people at the destination, always accompanied by other professionals willing to collaborate hand in hand with you and guide you in daily tasks.

If your university is not part of the agreement with Cooperating Volunteers, you can contact cristina@cooperatingvolunteers.com so that we can get in touch and make this experience a reality. 


Corporate volunteering consists of tailored programs for your company, designed to develop teamwork skills.

It is proven that teamwork directly impacts productivity. 

Collective effort surpasses individual capabilities, promotes diversity of skills, stimulates creativity, and facilitates problem-solving in the face of various challenges.

Therefore, it not only maximizes efficiency but also enriches the work environment.

We conduct corporate volunteering programs that consist of customized programs for your company, designed to develop teamwork skills, improve performance, and foster unity among employees.

We tailor projects to the corporate identity and size of the company, and we can adjust them to any destination and time of the year.

The advantages of corporate volunteering include:

  • Improving communication.
  • Group unity.
  • Cultural integration in different situations.
  • Employee training.
  • Increased Corporate Social Responsibility.

The future is aligned with a more responsible society, and participating in social projects positions our company among the list of revolutionary businesses that want to be part of the change.

If you resonate with this message, corporate volunteering is a unique experience both individually and collectively, and at Cooperating Volunteers, we accompany you throughout the process to make it a unique journey.


Quality time spent with family strengthens emotional bonds, promotes communication, and contributes to the emotional well-being of its members. 

Spending quality time with family and being able to disconnect from our hectic routines is not only enriching but also necessary.

Sometimes we forget to communicate, connect, and dedicate time to each other. Each one of us lives focused on our jobs, schools… And it’s necessary to find the opportunity to pause and take care of ourselves.

Quality time spent with family strengthens emotional bonds, promotes communication, and contributes to the emotional well-being of its members. And of course, it creates lifelong positive memories.

At Cooperating Volunteers, we suggest moving away from those ‘more superficial’ trips (which can also be fantastic), but we invite you to live this experience to bring out our most empathetic and humanitarian side.

Family volunteering gives us the opportunity to be part of a positive impact, promoting values of solidarity and social responsibility.

There are many families who choose to experience these trips focused on cooperation and direct involvement with different communities around the world, where living conditions are very different and sometimes entirely precarious.

Projects are tailored to different ages, allowing us to work together.

An incredible way to fill our suitcase with memories, learning, and knowledge.

And although stepping out of our comfort zone often feels daunting, we assure you firsthand that it’s worth it.

At Cooperating Volunteers, we accompany you throughout the entire experience, from start to finish, to make it unforgettable.


At Cooperating Volunteers, we believe it’s never too late for anything, especially for volunteering and living a unique and unforgettable experience.

There are many people, increasingly so, who opt for responsible travel that involves social work.

Accustomed to organized and mostly touristic trips, at Cooperating Volunteers, we want to advocate for a more enriching experience, one that transforms us from within and allows us to be part of the change the world needs to see.

We can adapt both the destination and the duration of our projects to fit your needs.

It’s an opportunity full of emotions that allows us to significantly contribute to different communities and their evolution. And you can participate in different areas such as education, social support, or assistance in different centers.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Sense of purpose: Provides a sense of purpose by contributing your skills and experiences to meaningful causes.
  • Emotional well-being: Reduces feelings of isolation and establishes social connections.
  • Personal development: It’s continuous learning, skill development, and discovering new activities while keeping the mind-body active.
  • Physical health: Keeping active.
  • Stress reduction: The act of helping others reduces stress and contributes to mental health.

Living this experience will undoubtedly be a before and after. 


A volunteering initiative with leadership and impact through the educational action program.

When we talk about social volunteering, we refer to all those actions and activities carried out altruistically, selflessly, and with the aim of addressing multiple problems and needs of different communities, always focused on education and self-sufficiency.

Education is essential because it provides the tools and knowledge necessary for personal, social, and economic development.

Our goal is to create self-sufficient communities and provide opportunities for the future personal development of each member. The message is not to ‘give’, but to accompany in the process of training for self-managed provision.

At Cooperating Volunteers, many of our destinations and projects embrace this type of volunteering. Some of our projects include: community programs, education, women’s empowerment…

And although they are completely different from each other, they share a single objective: progress towards a society that can embrace us all in the same way.

If you are someone who is restless, who needs to see a change in the future, volunteering is an experience tailor-made for you.