The never-before-seen moment fishermen feed shrimp to giant whale sharks by HAND

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These remarkable photographs show a group of fearless fishermen feeding shrimp to 25ft giant whale sharks – by hand.

Conservationist Shawn Heinrich captured what he described as the ‘overblown feeding of goldfish’ near Oslob in the Philippines.

The 40-year-old, who revealed the incredible behaviour of the six sharks and 12 fishermen drew gasps of disbelief from onlookers, said the images showed a ‘rare and exciting connection’.

Swimming with the sharks: A fearless fisherman is shown grabbing onto the back of a giant whale shark shortly after feeding them by handSwimming with the sharks: A fearless fisherman is shown grabbing onto the back of a giant whale shark shortly after feeding them by hand 

A fisherman poses over a hungry whale shark A fisherman poses over a hungry whale shark

Hungry beast: A fisherman poses over a hungry giant whale shark (left) as another is fed by one his colleagues (right)

He said: ‘Typically shy of one another, the whale shark and the fishermen have formed an unusual bond of appreciation, respect and trust. These ground-breaking images capture that story.’

Shawn was told about the feeding phenomenon by a local park ranger and decided to pay them a visit and said he was ‘stunned’ by what he witnessed. He said: ‘This is the first time I have ever witnessed this sort of behaviour or relationship between fishermen and the whale sharks. It appears the fishermen have fostered a personal relationship with the sharks from onset, and have strong appreciation and affection for the animals.

‘It was a lifetime moment, just me, the fishermen, and these gentle whale sharks. What was most touching was the relationship between them all. The fishermen clearly cared for these animals, and the whale sharks demonstrated such trust in them.

‘Having witnessed the slaughter of whale sharks at the hands of fishermen elsewhere in the region, this interaction was a beacon of hope for me, a message that both man and whale shark could co-exist, could develop trust, and even appreciate one another.’

Magnificent: Conservationist Shawn Heinrichs captured these photographs of what he described as the 'overblown feeding of goldfish' near Oslob in the PhilippinesMagnificent: Conservationist Shawn Heinrichs captured these photographs of what he described as the ‘overblown feeding of goldfish’ near Oslob in the Philippines
Feed me: A giant whale shark approaches a local fisherman to be hand-fed brine shrimp in shallow waters in Oslob, PhilippinesFeed me: A giant whale shark approaches a local fisherman to be hand-fed brine shrimp in shallow waters in Oslob, Philippines 

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