TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - A new species of 'walking' shark was discovered off the coast of Halmahera, Conservation International announced on Friday two weeks ago.
"The shark, which has the endearing quality of using its fins to 'walk' across the ocean floor, calls attention to the fact that the vast majority of Indonesia's elasmobranchs are harmless to humans and lead fascinating but little-known lives beneath the sea," Dr. Mark Erdmann, who was involved in the discovery, wrote on CI's website.
Indonesia is the world's leading exporter of dried shark fins, but the country has made a real effort in the past year to protect the creatures, Erdmann wrote.
It was the third walking shark species discovered in Indonesia in the past six years, said Fahmi, a shark expert at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).
"We now know that six of the nine known walking shark species occur in Indonesian waters, and these animals are divers' favorites, with excellent potential to help grow our marine tourism industry," Fahmi said as quoted by The Guardian.