Despicable Viral Video Shows Scuba Divers Riding Juvenile Whale Shark
Several divers have been arrested in West Papua, Indonesia, after a video posted on Twitter showed the divers riding a whale shark in Cendrawasih Bay, according to a report in the Asian online journal Coconuts.
The video, which swiftly went viral, attracted worldwide condemnation as it clearly shows one diver straddling the whale shark's dorsal surface and hanging on to the sides of its mouth, a second hanging onto the shark's side, and a third to the tail. Meanwhile, other divers wave at the camera and make okay signs.
The whale shark, a juvenile judging by its size in comparison to the divers, appears to be in some distress and obviously having difficulty swimming.
The video was first uploaded to Twitter by Indonesian rock star Akhadi 'Kaka' Wira Satriaji. Kaka tagged Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti in the tweet, who later confirmed to the Coconut that the divers had been arrested by police. So far no details have been given as to their identities, nor what charges they will face.
Cassandra Tania, marine species officer at WWF Indonesia, said in an interview with the Jakarta Post that said the act was dangerous for both humans and the whale shark, and she 'regretted that the tour operator did not inform the divers on how to properly interact with the whale sharks.'
Whale sharks are listed as 'endangered' by the IUCN and have been protected under Indonesian law since 2013.