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Saturday, February 14, 2009

'Free Shark Campaign' Gains Momentum in Dubai

If so many wildlife organisations around the world are protesting about whale sharks in captivity then why is Singapore purposely doing exactly the same controversial thing! It's obviously negatively viewed internationally, and most importantly the future of this vulnerable species is at stake!

'Free Shark Campaign' Gains Momentum in Dubai
Published Thursday, February 12, 2009, Written by The Media Line Staff

Pressure is increasing on the five-star Atlantis hotel in Dubai to release the whale-shark known as Sammy, which has been kept in aquarium at the hotel for 160 days.

Several wildlife groups have issued a statement in a local newspaper supporting the “Free Sammy” campaign. Signatures to the plea include Emirates Wildlife Society–World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), WWF International Global Species Program, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Emirates Environment Group and the Abu Dhabi Natural History Group.

According to the open letter, the whale-shark – which despite its name is a large plankton eating fish, which can grow to be 40 feet long and weigh up to 13.6 tons – is listed as an endangered species by several international conservation organizations and is vulnerable to extinction.

Whale sharks migrate extremely large distances each year and regularly move between the surface and deep waters, a behavior that is simply not possible in an aquarium no matter how large the facility might be, the open letter stated. This highly migratory nature, combined with its low abundance, makes it particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

The authors of the open letter also expressed concern regarding the effect on the whale-shark population by removing a female from the sea where she could reproduce.

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