View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Friday, October 10, 2008

Calls to Free Whale Shark from Atlantis Hotel Aquarium

Environmentalists on Thursday (10 October 2008) called on the managers of a massive new marine-themed resort in this Gulf boomtown to release a whale shark they are holding inside a giant fish tank.

The 13-foot long female whale shark wandered into the shallow waters off Dubai's Gulf coast in August. A week later, representatives of the recently opened $1.5 billion Atlantis Hotel announced that the resort's marine biologists and veterinarians had rescued the whale shark and transported it to an open-air aquarium with 65,000 fish, stingrays and other sea creatures.

But environmentalists and wildlife activists in Dubai say the whale shark has become the hotel's hostage and needs to be release back into the wild.

Gulf News, from Dubai, has called the confinement of the whale shark "cruel, beyond belief." The paper has nicknamed the whale shark Sammy and has asked its readers to join a "Free Sammy the Shark" campaign by downloading an image of the creature and wearing it as a badge. They are experiencing a “Tsunami of Support for Sammy.”

Source: Activists Seek Freedom for Dubai Whale Shark, IHT, 9 October 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: ‘Sammy’ the whale shark. (Photo courtesy of Gulf News at above link)