Whale sharks are some of the most beautiful, graceful giants of the ocean. Which makes our featured video of the week all the more heartbreaking. But, not to worry, there’s a happy ending.
This whale shark was spotted by a group of divers with a commercial fishing rope wrapped around its body. It’s possible this amazing creature had been entangled by the rope for years.
Unfortunately, this is all too common a sight. Lost and discared fishing line, rope and other marine debris pose a serious threat to marine life. According to a 2014 NOAA study, about 200 marine species are impacted by entanglement, including mammals, turtles, birds, fish, and crabs.
Thankfully, for this whale shark, an alert group of divers came to the rescue. In a mere 30 seconds with hardly any stress put on the animal, the rope was removed by a diver. As if it knew they were there to help, the whale shark cooperated and stayed calm while the diver gently cut and detached the rope.
“For the dive team, it’s a moment of pure joy” recounts the narrator as the dive team celebrates the freed shark.
The clip is from the documentary Secrets of Shark Island, which explores the Revillagigedo Islands, located 200 miles off the coast of Mexico. The area is home to whitetip sharks, humpback whales, mantas, and now, one happy whale shark.
Learn more about the effects of marine debris and how you can help by visiting projectaware.org.