The whale shark — the world's largest fish — is under threat. Its numbers are in decline and it is up to the global community to implement laws that ensure their survival.
That's why Indonesian marine laws stipulate that divers — who come from all around the world for a chance to see them in the wild — keep a distance of at least three feet from the enormous creatures.
But those warnings weren't heeded by a few careless scuba divers in Indonesia's Cenderawasih Bay National Park. In a video that recently went viral, the group can be seen decked in full scuba gear and with no regard for their safety or that of the sharks.
One person straddled the shark's back while two others held down its fins and another clung on to its tail. Others then proceed to take photos.
Whale Sharks like other sharks must keep moving to breathe. Although they are huge, the fish are extremely fragile, and any type of human contact can lead to injury which could quickly lead to their death.
While the scuba divers are clearly at fault and have been arrested by authorities, there is one other person that should be equally accountable — the tour guide.
Tour guides supposedly know the laws that protect Indonesia's endangered marine species, but this one decided to ignore them and allow his clients to treat the fish like a plush toy. Indonesian authorities should make sure to find the tour guide and make sure they also pay a price for endangering the whale sharks. Sign the petition and encourage Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti to take action against all guilty parties.