Tubbataha is home to at least fourteen (14) species of shark. Seasoned zoologists and filmmakers trooped to the Tubbataha reefs have been working doubly hard in recent weeks to further understand the intricacies of the reef and the its bigger role as a shark sanctuary not just for the Philippines’ waters, but for the entire region. While it’s quite rare to see sharks in most other dive sites in the Philippines, the reef’s status as a protected area has allowed certain species of shark to thrive.
According to a 2011 study by Conservation International, the most common species of shark in the park is the white tip shark. Following closely are the grey reef sharks and silver tip sharks. The usage of Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) and footage from dive boat operators has allowed experts to conclude that there are at least five (5) tiger sharks in the park. Whale sharks and hammerheads have also been spotted in Tubbataha on occasion.
The Large Marine Vertebrate (LaMaVe) Project has been investing on sophisticated equipment to carefully monitor the various species of shark in Tubbataha but the diving public has also been instrumental in the identification individual species. Footage and photos donated by divers have been invaluable in estimating the numbers and movements of whale sharks and tiger sharks in the park.