Whale shark in distress towed out to sea

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whale shark

REUTERS

A whale shark. File photo: David Loh

Cape Town - A whale shark that appeared to be in distress was gently towed out to sea near the Stompneus Bay harbour, in the Western Cape, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Saturday.

On Friday, NSRI Mykonos volunteers and a local wildlife rescue crew responded to the scene, spokesman Craig Lambinon said in a statement.

On arrival a five to six meter whale shark was found in shallow water adjacent to the Stompneus Bay harbour appearing to be weak and in distress.

They attempted to coax it out to sea, but it seemed too weak.

“...The NSRI sea rescue craft and ropes were used to gently pull the whale shark into deeper water where, once in open water, the whale shark appeared to respond more positively and it was released,” said Lambinon.

The teams were cautiously optimistic that the sea creature would survive.

“By 7pm when it was finally released to open water the whale shark appeared to be swimming with more confidence.”

Locals were asked to monitor the shoreline in case the whale shark came into the shallow waters again.

Whale sharks are the largest known species of fish. Despite their name, they are not mammals. They are slow-swimming filter feeders and are not known to attack humans. - Sapa


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