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Papuan Kalabia Shark: Walking in Raja Ampat Waters

Papuan Kalabia Shark

Archipelago waters in the Maluku and Papua regions, especially marine areas Misool has become a home for marine life Papuan Kalabia Shark which is very rare. For more details about this shark, here's a full review.

Kalabia Shark
Photo by Indonesian Information Portal

The Kalabian Shark Walking in the Ocean

Of course, talking about biodiversity in Indonesia is never ending. One of them is a species of shark that quite a lot inhabit the waters of the archipelago.

Several shark species are endemic. This means that we can only find it in Indonesian waters. Not even necessarily to be found in other areas.

One of them is the Papuan Kalabia Shark which belongs to the genus Hemiscyllium. This shark has several special characteristics. for example, the basic color of his body is light brown and has white and dark brown spots scattered all over his body.

In the dark of night, the Papuan Kalabia shark starts to come out of its hiding place from behind the coral reefs. Unlike most other species of its kind. This shark actually uses both pectoral fins to crawl to the rocky and sandy seabed.

In general, shark species are large and have a row of sharp teeth, but this species is different. The body of this Papuan Kalabia shark is small and has a length of between 50 to 80 centimeters with the smallest size reaching 20 cm.

The food of the Papuan Kalabia shark is small fish, shrimp, crabs, mollusk, squid, and snails, which hide from behind coral reefs. The Kalabian walking shark has a limited distribution and is easy to find at seafloor depths from 2 meters to 15 meters.

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Including Protected Biota

This Papuan Kalabia shark is taxonomically included in the bamboo shark or gecko shark because of the spotted motifs on its body. We can find walking sharks in Raja Ampat in the Regional Waters Conservation area or KKPD Misool. Especially in Raja Ampat Regency, namely West Papua.

Locals call it the Kalabia shark, which varies in body size, from the smallest of 20 centimeters to 70 centimeters. Therefore this shark is included as a small shark category, not a threat to humans.

Even this endemic species in 2020 was recorded in the IUCN. The status itself is NT (near threatened) or near threatened and into the lowest category of the red list, namely low risk.

Well, according to the local researcher for the Management of Coastal and Sea Resources of Sorong, namely Santoso B Widiarto, usually the Papuan Kalabia shark is found in coral reef areas. Especially at a depth of 2 meters which has a rocky or sandy surface.

In his research in April 2020, the fact is that in a 20 kilometer radius in Misool there are 58 Kalabia Papua sharks.

In addition, in their research, Santoso and several other researchers also found the fact that sharks are sometimes caught in fishing nets. When caught, sharks usually walk around breaking nets, so fishermen often kill them.

Therefore, the government in Raja Ampat Regency has issued a Regional Regulation, namely number 9 in 2012 regarding the prohibition of catching sharks. Apart from sharks, there are also Manta rays, as well as certain types of fish in the Raja Ampat sea, namely West Papua.

According to Fahmi, who is a shark expert from LIPI, of course, the presence of this regional regulation will also protect the Kalabia shark species in their natural habitat. Mainly protects from hunting to serve as ornamental fish. This often happens because the selling value of this Kalabia shark is high for the international market.

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That's it about the Papuan Kalabia Shark with its uniqueness crawling in the ocean. Let's together preserve the existence of this endemic Papuan biota so that it doesn't become extinct.

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