Forest officials expressed concern over the death of the shark and said it was a rare species protected under the Wild Life Act. The reason for the death of the shark, which washed ashore early this morning, would be known after post-mortem, they said.

Largest fish species in the world, whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is listed under Schedule I (Part IIA Fish), accordingly it has the highest level of protection.

The whale shark is a slow-moving filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known extant fish species. The largest confirmed individual had a length of 12.65 metres or 41.5 ft and a weight of about 21.5 tonnes or 21,500 kg. The whale shark is the largest living non-mammalian vertebrate.

It is the sole member of the genus Rhincodon and the only extant member of the family. The species originated about 60 million years ago. The whale shark is found in open waters of the tropical oceans and is rarely found in water below 22 °C