Though whale sharks are true sharks, they are so placid that almost anyone, regardless of previous snorkelling experience, can safely enter the water and swim with them. Their gentle nature has made the whale shark a popular focus of marine wildlife tourism. Sadly, these same qualities, coupled with valuable fins and meat, have resulted in people hunting whale sharks in all sorts of inventive ways, with major fisheries having occurred in mainland China, India, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Around half of the world’s whale shark population has been killed since the 1980s. They were classified as a globally endangered species in 2016.