It was a wondrous sight, a four-meter-long whale shark swimming gracefully in waters off Sai Kung.
But just a day after the video clip was published on social media and brought cheer to local netizens, an extremely upsetting picture of the giant fish captured by fishermen and lying on the floor of a large boat, apparently dead, went viral, Metro Daily reports.
Many netizens voiced anger over the sight, noting that the species is rarely seen in Hong Kong waters and locals should protect it, instead of catching and killing the harmless and defenseless animal.
In the photo, the whale shark has the same spots seen in the creature featured in the earlier video footage. But is it the same animal?
The person who uploaded the photo claims it’s not the same fish earlier spotted swimming in Sai Kung waters, but neither did he reveal if it was taken in Hong Kong or if the boat is owned by a local fisherman.
The post was later deleted.
Many of those who saw the picture on social media condemned the people responsible for catching the rare fish, calling them selfish and way out of line.
One netizen said he wanted to see whale sharks in Hong Kong, but he would rather that they do not come to local waters than see them captured and harmed.
Hung Ka-yiu, president of the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, told Apple Daily that the whale shark in the photo should be different from the one seen in the video clip because the former looked bigger.
The Ocean Park Conservation Foundation said it is highly concerned about the incident but more information is needed for confirmation.
A spokesman from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said it has not received any report on the capture of a whale shark.
Whale sharks, which are the largest known extant fish species, have been listed as endangered species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Video clip of whale shark in Sai Kung waters goes viral (Sept 7, 2016)
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