Greedy whale shark freed from fishing net

Being the biggest fish on earth you can imagine that the whale shark eats a lot. On a recent expedition in Indonesia scientists from Conservation International discovered that these animals are really greedy. Swimming close to the fishing nets of local fishermen they suck the fish through the holes of the net, like giant hoovers.

The giant mouth of the whale shark contains around 3000 little teeth and they filter their food, like plankton and anchovies, out of each bite of water. This video shows a really hungry shark, which almost swallows the entire net!

This seems like a smart food strategy, but it’s not without danger. Sometimes whale sharks get entangled in the nets and they have to be released by the fishermen. This is not always easy and might even damage the sharks’ fin. This happens to the unfortunate whale shark in the next video.

Luckily Arijay Prasad noticed the distressed animal and decided to help him. The net had already dug deep into its skin leaving a gaping wound, so he knew he had to do something to prevent the shark from dying. Freeing him wasn’t easy though. Initially the shark got scared when the group of divers tried to take the net off. They attempted many times to free the terrified animal but after half hour they still didn’t manage to get him out. Finally Mr. Prasad was able to set him free by cutting the net with the knife he was carrying with him.

The brave 34-year-old diver later said: “It was amazing to be so close to this wonderful creature.” The whale shark showed his gratitude by swimming alongside the divers for a while before swimming away to freedom.

Sources:

Levi Winchester, “Watch: Jaw-some! Huge whale shark rescued by diver after being caught in a net”, Express, 2014-07-25
Judith Laanen, “Kijken: walvishaai zuigt volleerd een net vissen leeg”, NRC, 2012-07-18