Abu Dhabi paddle boarder films whale shark circling him in canal

Christian Bildsten shared drone footage of the encounter in Raha Beach canal

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A paddle boarder captured stunning drone footage of an early morning encounter with a whale shark.

Christian Bildsten was paddling along Raha Beach canal when he saw the creature circling him.

The scene was shot by chance by his "follow me" drone, which was directly overhead.

The IT manager posted the footage and photos on social media.

It was not clear if the juvenile was the same whale shark that was seen near Abu Dhabi island's inlets and waterways over the winter.

If it is, the harmless shark, which was several metres long, was first seen in September, having made its way into the Raha canals after following a plankton bloom.

It stayed in the area for several weeks before heading several kilometres up to the waters off Al Bahia in early November, where it became stuck, swimming in circles in a man-made lagoon.

The city's environment agency stepped in after it became clear the shark was trapped and could not feed.