Meanwhile, storm clouds seem to be gathering over
The shark was named Sammy and local newspaper the Gulf News has described a ‘tsunami of support’ to have it released with a ‘Free Sammy’ campaign running on its on-line edition (click the image left). You can even download a ‘Free Sammy’ badge from the site.
Whale sharks in captivity cause very mixed reactions; on the one hand having these sharks in tanks does allow many more people to see them and thus serves a function in raising awareness. The very young whale sharks reared in Japanese aquaria have also provided some of the only evidence about neonatal whale shark growth rates. However, on the other hand these are free ranging wild animals that eat plankton and they tend not to fare well being kept in aquaria conditions. Of concern are the recent deaths of two of the captive whale sharks in the Georgia aquarium in the USA; such deaths do little to raise public awareness and only serve to increase pressure to allow these sharks to go back to the open ocean.
If you want to learn more there is also a face-book site for supporters of Sammy at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=93869105312&ref=mf