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In Images: Tale of an Injured Whale Shark

Fermin the Whale Shark

Fermin the whale shark feeding.

(Image credit: Physalus)

The male whale shark "Fermin" feeds at a non-motorized boat in the Tan-awan feeding area in Oslob, the Philippines before his injury. Like other sharks who feed there regularly, Fermin sports calluses around his mouth from repeatedly bumping the boat.

Fermin Pre-Injury

Fermin before his injury

(Image credit: Physalus)

A view from above of the whale shark Fermin shows the calluses caused by bumping against boats from which fishermen drop shrimp meals.

Propeller Scar

Fermin's propeller injury.

(Image credit: Physalus)

Between July 17 and July 19, Fermin encountered a motorized boat and came away with deep propeller cuts to his face. The placement of the cuts suggests he approached the boat in search of food.

11 Gashes

Gashes from a propeller scar on a whale shark.

(Image credit: Physalus)

An encounter with a motorized boat left the male whale shark Fermin with 11 gashes across his face.

Fermin's Scars

Fermin the whale shark injured.

(Image credit: Physalus)

The whale shark "Fermin" sports slashes from a run-in with a boat propeller. One cut runs across his left eye.

Fermin's Face

Fermin head-on

(Image credit: Physalus)

Fermin, before being injured by a boat propeller. The whale shark is a daily visitor to the Tan-awan whale shark feeding area, an ecotourism effort in Oslob in the Philippines.

Fermin's Full Length

Fermin's full body.

(Image credit: Physalus)

Fermin is young and small for a whale shark, about 13 feet (4 meters) in length. Marine biologists are not yet sure whether his left eye will recover from his injury.

Stephanie Pappas

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.