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

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Whale Shark at Dubai Atlantis Hotel Making Waves Around the World

See 20 November 2008 Update
As an indication of the Atlantis Hotel whale shark ruckus rippling around the world, the Boston Globe and the Washington Post have a full length article on the issue.

The article says:

“An Emirates-based newspaper, the Gulf News, is waging a Free Sammy the Shark campaign. Editors said they named the shark before the hotel disclosed it was female.”

“Emirates residents started a Facebook campaign that has attracted more than 8,000 members. "This poor whale shark was caught off the shores of Dubai and needs to be put back where it belongs before she dies," its mission statement declares.”

“The shark has spent more than 50 days behind glass.”

“Animal advocacy organizations, marine science associations, and hotel industry publications have condemned Sammy's confinement. “

“The Atlantis and the Environment Ministry say the captive shark is educating the public. In the hotel lobby, however, neither signs nor guides identify the shark for the tourists who pass through.”

This publicity is not helping the Atlantis Hotel resort, Nakheel, the developers and the image of the United Arab Emirates.

Even the Boston Globe and Washington Post are weighing in on the fishy controversy with the sub-title, ‘Debate suggests culture of excess has its limits’.

To read the entire article, follow this link:
Ellen Knickmeyer, Rare Whale Shark Held at Dubai Resort Making Waves, The Boston Globe, 30 October 2008; Washington Post, 24 October 2008.

What do you think about keeping this whale shark in the Atlantis aquarium?

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The Atlantis resort's captive whale shark, dubbed Sammy by news media, swims in a lobby aquarium also viewable from $7,500-a-night suites. Animal rights groups and scientists have condemned the confinement of the shark. (Courtesy of Kamran Jebreili -- Associated Press and from the above links)