The whale shark, an endangered species, was caught and released at the Shanghumugham Beach in Thiruvananthapuram.

Fishermen in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram releasing a whale shark caught in their net into the sea. Left: Fishermen push whale shark to sea / Right: Whale shark swims
news Wildlife Sunday, December 06, 2020 - 09:01

The whale shark didn’t seem to move at first. It was on the shore of Shanghumugham Beach in Thiruvananthapuram, caught in the nets of John Martin, a fisherman. It was not easy pulling it off the net and freeing it from the tangled net. A few other men had gathered to help pull the gigantic fish out. They knew it had to go back to the sea as it was an endangered species. The men put a rope around it and together pushed the whale shark into the sea as the waves began hitting the shore. On touching the waves, the fins stood up and the tail swished. The men began applauding, cheering it on, as wave by wave, it gathered strength and swam away, swishing the tail like it was waving goodbye.

                                        Whale shark being freed from the net
 

This is the third such instance where the fishermen in Kerala released the whale sharks they caught. Vivek Menon, Chief Executive Officer of Wildlife Trust India, wrote: “Beginning the morning with good news from Kerala. A whale shark caught in the nets was freed by fishers. The third instance in this state following the start of Wildlife Trust India project here. I have announced a special award for them.”

They will receive a reward of Rs 10,000 from Wildlife Trust India, said Ajith Shanghumugham, whose uncle John Martin had caught the whale shark early on Friday morning before releasing it back into the sea. “It was strange that it was floating above, they usually move about in the depths,” said Ajith, who caught the video of the fishermen pushing the whale shark out to the sea together and rejoicing as it came back to life on touching the waves again.

The Wildlife Trust India also shared the good news on its page. “Back into the sea! Fishers in Kerala saved this whale shark and saw it safely back into the waters. Third such rescue-release in this state, heartening to see the community take conservation action just like  Gujarat fishers who have till date saved more than 720 whale sharks!”

Before this, about a year ago, a whale shark was caught and then released into the sea in Kollam. 

Watch: Video of whale shark being released to the sea

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