An endangered whale shark was dragged to shore alive by boats and then killed by a group of people in Playa Maurica, Venezuela this week.
Take a look at this post …
Afterward, the people stood on top of the carcass to celebrate over it like it, was a trophy.
The horrific and illegal killing is just the latest of several endangered shark killings that have occurred during the quarantine in Venezuela, causing irreparable damage to the local marine ecosystem.
Whale sharks are slow-moving gentle giants and are the largest known surviving fish species. They feed on plankton and travel long distances to find enough food to sustain its large body.
They can spend 20 hours a day near the water’s surface and are harmless to humans. They’re popular among tourists who not only observe them but also swim with them.
There’s been a disturbing decline in the whale-shark population in recent years — enough to prompt the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to declare the giant fish “endangered” in 2016.
Whale shark meat is actually dangerous for human consumption because of its high levels of mercury and other metals … but unfortunately, the humanitarian crisis happening in Venezuela is causing people to hunt whale shark for food, and efforts to persuade government officials to establish protections have produced little results.
Experts are recognizing the need for cross-border initiatives such as educational-cooperation agreements in order to protect the giant fish.
Conservationists — like shark specialists from Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research — are working directly with Venezuelan coastal communities to teach fishers about the ecotourism opportunities that whale sharks bring to prevent further whale shark killings.
At Karmagawa and SaveTheReef, we’re heartbroken for this beautiful creature … and we love that animal experts are coming together to find creative ways to protect animals like whale sharks. There’s always a solution to be able to treat the planet and all its living creatures better.
Have them watch this powerful video …
The director of this video, Amir Zakeri, created a masterclass for anyone in the Karmagawa and SaveTheReef community who would like to use film to tell stories that can help the environment and all its voiceless animals. If that’s you, here’s a discount to get 50% off the regular price.
What do you think about this gentle giant experiencing this horrific death? Leave a comment below.
(Cover image: Ryan Janssens/Shutterstock)