A video circulating the Internet this week shows two tourists attempting to surf on a whale shark, while being towed along by a boat.
In the video, two idiots are towed behind a boat while balancing on the whale shark, which they are using as a surfboard. To their sheer amusement, the shark heads underwater in an attempt to forcibly remove the two heavy hindrances. The shark unfortunately doesn’t succeed and becomes more agitated as the boat party of jerks continues to harass the poor fish.
Whale sharks are classified as vulnerable. Any human interaction with them can affect their natural behavior, including the constant movement required for their oxygen supply. Whale sharks also have to maintain a protective layer on their skin, so standing on a whale shark is a pretty dumb move.
It is illegal in the US to harass whales and dolphins, but this unfortunately doesn’t extend to whales sharks as they’re classified as fish.
"My hope is that one day sharks will be elevated to that same level of protection as marine mammals," Eric Hovland, associate curator at the Florida Aquarium, told Florida's Bay News 9 earlier this week.
Marine Connection, a conservation group based in the UK, said on its Facebook page, "What a sad reflection on their attitude to wildlife when, instead of considering themselves fortunate to see this majestic creature in the wild, they choose to participate in a stupid stunt like this."
Check out the full video below from Marine Connection’s Facebook page.
Wildlife harassment is never a laughing matterUnbelievable footage of individuals 'surfing' a whale shark. What a sad reflection on their attitude to wildlife when, instead of considering themselves fortunate to see this majestic creature in the wild, they choose to participate in a stupid stunt like this (wonder if they would have done this with a great white shark?). As whale sharks are protected - the IUCN (World Conservation Union) Red List of Threatened Species lists the Whale Shark as vulnerable - these guys should be charged - come on FB community, please help bring these people to justice for their stupidity and arrogance treating a protected species in this way. Please share widely.
Posted by Marine Connection on Monday, June 15, 2015
[H/T: The Dodo]