At Papua Diving Resorts, we're privileged to witness Raja Ampat's stunning marine life, including the remarkable zebra shark. The zebra shark is truly a notable wonder of our precious aquatic ecosystem. They radiate a unique charm and calm demeanor  that sets them apart from other shark species. 

Their decreasing numbers in Raja Ampat has ignited our steadfast commitment to their conservation and rehabilitation. When you stay with us, you help to support our efforts to study and protect the zebra sharks and their habitats. 

The Zebra Shark: A Profile 

The tropical Indo-Pacific zebra shark (Stegostoma tigrinum) is a carpet shark. Young zebra sharks display stripes, while adults have a spotted pattern. This remarkable shift in their appearance serves a purpose far beyond aesthetics; it's a cunning evolutionary strategy for survival, camouflaging them from danger.  

The young sharks' stripes mimic venomous sea snakes to deter predators, and the adults' spots help them blend in with the ocean floor. 

Friendly Giants of the Sea 

In spite of their intimidating size, zebra sharks are renowned for their kind disposition . They frequently serve as a highlight for Raja Ampat divers and snorkelers, as they are not hostile towards people. Their friendly nature draws curious divers and snorkelers from all over the world, who are keen on conservation diving. 

The Tale of the Two Sharks: Tiger vs. Zebra

Tiger shark

Although they live tranquil lives, zebra sharks are sometimes mistaken for their more vicious counterpart, the tiger shark. However, their differences are evident in both behavior and appearance. Tiger sharks are large and have stripes all their lives, while zebra sharks are thin and spotted when they are adults. The distinctions between zebra and tiger sharks highlight the diversity of our seas and the importance of understanding each species' role in our marine ecosystems. 

Zebra shark

A Dire Past and a Bright Future 

Historically, Raja Ampat sharks had a severe predicament. The Asian shark fin trade had driven certain species, including the zebra shark, to extinction. Our founder, Mr. Max Ammer, saw this when he first came to the region in 1990, and sought to provide more sustainable ways of living for the locals in the area, with conservation efforts that predate our resorts, Papua diving being a pioneer of sustainable tourism in Raja Ampat. To encourage locals from shark and ray finning as a way of earning an income, Mr. Max Ammer offered to teach them to become dive guides and boat builders, leading the way for sustainable tourism in Raja Ampat.  

With help from the government, conservation in Raja Ampat took a momentous step in  2012. That year,  the region's inaugural shark and ray sanctuary was created. All shark species have been completely protected in these seas ever since however,the gradual recovery of the zebra shark population the necessity of ongoing conservation measures. 

The StAR Initiative: A Glimmer of Hope 

Papua Diving Resorts is proudly  a part of the ground-breaking StAR (Stegostoma tigrinum Augmentation and Recovery) project. The first of its type, the StAR program is committed to saving and relocating captive-bred zebra sharks in order to rebuild its population in Raja Ampat. With the help of Fondation Segré and in coordination with Conservation International, we are committed to working towards the success of the project’s mission and vision. 

Releasing captive-bred zebra sharks into protected zones helps repopulate the area and maintain marine ecosystem health. 

Zebra Sharks' Place in the Ecosystem

Conservation Zebra Shark

Zebra sharks are essential regulators in the food chain. They balance the health of Raja Ampat's coral reefs by keepingthe balance of prey populations. This then supports a vibrant and varied underwater ecosystem. As we  keep their conservation a  top priority, we ensure the long-term survival of both their species and the coral reef system as a whole, as their existence signals a healthy environment. 

Our Stewardship of the Environment 

Our commitment to marine conservation at Papua Diving Resorts extends beyond specific initiatives. A significant portion of our net profits are donated to the Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Centre (RARCC), supporting community-based programs and championing sustainable tourism. This  funds community-based programs and supports research and education.  

Our dedication to eco-friendly travel and our active role in rejuvenating shark populations in Raja Ampat has earned us award-winning  acclaim. It's in these pristine waters that these magnificent creatures are making a remarkable comeback, a rare and hopeful sight in our world. 

Come Together to Preserve the Gentle Giants of Raja Ampat 

The zebra shark's journey in Raja Ampat symbolizes resilience and the impact of collaborative conservation efforts. This story is enriched by the cooperation of local communities, conservationists, and eco-conscious tourists. Working together to ensure a brighter future for our marine life. As we progress, we hope you'll be a part of this journey with us. Every effort counts, whether it's picking eco-friendly travel alternatives, telling tales, or supporting conservation efforts. When we work together, we build a future in which the magnificent Raja Ampat zebra sharks flourish. 

The zebra shark is a symbol of the tenacity and beauty of nature as it gracefully moves across the calm waters of Raja Ampat. Observing these gentle giants plunging through the ocean serves as a potent reminder of our need to preserve and protect our planet. 

Dive into adventure with us at Papua Diving Resorts and immerse yourself in a community deeply committed to the preservation of our oceans, all while marveling at underwater wonders. United in our efforts, we stand as guardians of Raja Ampat's vibrant life, ensuring that the zebra shark, along with its marine companions, flourish for countless years ahead.