The rescue earlier this month of a large whale shark that had become ensnared in rope is receiving lots of attention this week, after a snippet of the rescue effort aired Monday on NBC’s Today Show. (That clip is posted immediately below. A longer YouTube version appears farther down in the story.)
The docile whale shark was encountered by divers aboard the Solmar V at Roca Partida, one of the Revillagigedo Islands west of Mexico, about 250 miles south of Cabo San Lucas on Baja California’s tip.
Whale sharks, which are the world’s largest fish and can measure 40 feet or more, eat plankton and pose no threat to humans, who often swim alongside the gentle giants for extended periods.
As viewers can see, the specimen in the video sustained deep wounds where the rope had become tightly wrapped around its body, especially in the pectoral fin area.
Noel Hall, who uploaded the original video, stated in the description area:
“During the first dive of the morning, we came upon a mature whale shark in some amount of distress due to a large rope cinched around it’s girth. It must have been there for some time, as the rope was encrusted with barnacles, and was cutting deeply into the flesh of the shark.
“On the second dive of the morning, we located the same whale shark once again, and with Eddy (dive guest) on the scene with his GoPro camera, we were able to memorialize the rescue. In the video you will see Dave (dive guide) approach the shark from the front, and Dani (dive guide) swim to the shark from above. You will see Dani successfully cut the rope loose, freeing the shark which slowly swims away.”
It remains unclear how the rope, which measured about two inches in diameter, became wrapped around the whale shark. But thanks to these good Samaritans, its chances of surviving were significantly enhanced.
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