A group of Iranian fishermen has caused outrage online, after a video of several of them “surfing” on the back of a whale shark went viral. The video shows two of the fishermen climbing on the back of the shark and standing on top of it whilst it tries to swim off.
The video was posted by Rahmat Hosseini to Instagram, where it was met with widespread condemnation. It turns out people don’t like to see other people treating a beautiful, endangered creature as a surfboard. Who knew?
Needless to say folks, don’t do this. Animals are not there to be hijacked for our entertainment. Luckily, they did not get the reaction they hoped for.
The video appears to be taken off the coast of Bushire, Iran, Newsweek report.
Restoring our faith in humanity, the video really didn’t go down well. Despite having over 24,000 views, the vast majority of the comments are calling the fisherman out for doing such a reckless and mindless thing.
“He’s definitely not brave! This is animal abuse,” one commenter wrote, whilst another suggested “If you are really brave, dude, do the same thing with a great white. I want to see that video.”
The whale shark, which can grow up to 13 meters (42 feet) and is the largest fish in the sea, was added to the IUCN Red List of endangered species in June 2016. At the time, Jane Smart, Director of IUCN’s Global Species Programme warned that they were sliding towards extinction, having halved in number over the last 75 years.
They need the protective layer they have on their skin, so standing on a whale shark is extremely bad for them. In fact, any human interaction with them can affect whale sharks’ natural behavior, including the constant movement required for their oxygen supply, so despite occasional information websites suggesting the docile fish enjoy interacting with humans, it’s best not to even approach them in the wild.