ISLAMABAD - The giant whale shark carcass that was found on February 6 in the Gora Bari area in Pakistani territory of Arabian Sea by the local fishermen finally reached its final destination - Pakistan Museum of Natural History, Islamabad - where it will be processed for its long-term preservation and display.

“The preservation process will take at least four months. It then, will be reconstructed, mounted and displayed for the general public as an icon of biodiversity of Pakistan,” informed Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation Dr Manzoor Soomro while addressing a news conference here on Saturday.

He said that with the consent of all the stakeholders, it was decided that this unique specimen should be preserved and displayed in the museum for future research and education. He said the team of scientists and technicians from Pakistan Museum of Natural History have already completed the first phase of the preservation process in Karachi.

“The immediate task was to save the specimen from being perished. Fifteen people including scientists and technicians worked day and night to complete the first phase in record two days.

The skin and skeleton of the specimen has been saved and recovered,” Dr Soomro added. He said that the tissues of all the organs of the specimen have been preserved for any laboratory analysis in future and for accurate age determination of the specimen.

He informed that the largest verified specimen of this huge shark was first caught on November 11, 1947 near Baba Island, Karachi. It was 41.50-foot long, weighted more than 21.5 tons and had a girth of 23 feet. “That specimen could not be saved at that time as nobody was aware of its importance.”

“After 65 years, on February 6, 2012, a second biggest specimen, weighted 16 tonnes and 42 feet length, has been landed at Karachi coast.

And it will be preserved,” Dr Soomro said. 

Dr Soomro said when fishermen had found the whale shark Gora Bari area, it was alive and motionless, according to the statements of the fishermen. However, he said, it died before the fishermen started hauling it towards seashore.

It was than brought to Karachi Fish Harbor and auctioned for Rs0.2 million.

The auctioneer who purchased the fish managed an exhibition of the specimen and levied a ticket of Rs20. Knowing the importance of this huge specimen, Karachi Fish Harbour Authority and Marine Fisheries Department came into action and took possession of the huge shark.