Whale Shark 'Rescued' and taken to Atlantis Palm Aquarium - Dubai
UK experts air concerns over 'capture' of protected Whale Shark, removed from ocean and held captive in Atlantis Palm aquarium attraction. Fears that the 'fishy tale' is really a cover to 'increase profitability'.
From 7 Days - Dubai
''A four-metre-long whale shark that was spotted by a local fisherman off the coast of Jebel Ali - United Arab Emirates, has been captured and moved to an aquarium at the new Atlantis hotel on the Palm Jumeirah.The hotel said the shark “was clearly under duress” when it was sighted and its team of biologists and veterinarians made the decision to move it to the 11-million-litre lagoon for medical care and observation, due to the high temperature and salinity of the water it was in. A representative of the hotel said she was unable to say when the whale shark would be returned to the wild. The spokesperson, who said that the protected species was rescued on August 28, added: “Staff at Atlantis are monitoring her. They can’t speculate when she will be released.”
The hotel said that since the arrival of the whale shark, it has been monitored 24-hours a day, and extensive data gathered on its swim patterns, feeding and behaviour. In addition, the hotel said, the Fish Husbandry team is in constant contact with experts
in the whale shark community, sharing data on the new arrival. Ali Hood, director of conservation at the UK-based Shark Trust, told newspapers that the animal can grow to be up to 15 metres in length and the species is the world’s largest living fish.
“The whale shark is a highly migratory species and must be treated with the utmost care,” she said. “We are always concerned when one is taken out of the ocean due to the fragility of the species. “We certainly would not support any venture that would use one merely as a financial attraction.”Atlantis says its aim is to implement targeted scientific studies... to provide an enhanced marine knowledge of the waters surrounding the UAE. Alan Leibman, President and Managing Director of Atlantis, said: “The whale shark is an animal about which little is known and we hope that we can add to the research and data that is available. Education, conservation and research go hand in hand to benefit all marine life.”Earlier this year environmentalists hit out at Atlantis for importing 28 bottlenose dolphins that were taken from the wild in the Solomon Islands.''
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates