Shark dragged ashore by Hard Rock Hotel lifeguards dies, creates outrage

A blue shark flailing in the surf on a beach near the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in the Dominican Republic was captured by seven men—some of them hotel lifeguards—and dragged to shore where it died.

The lifeguards, dressed in blue shorts and red T-shirts, posed for photos with the shark as did tourists and kids. Photos and a link to a video of the incident were posted on Facebook by Gary Stokes, creating an uproar and a whole lot of bad publicity for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana.

"The lifeguards brought the shark ashore to protect guests and staff," Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana spokesperson Stacy Soriano told BuzzFeed News.

Soriano told BuzzFeed the hotel was unaware of the subsequent photos of its lifeguards posing with the shark, adding, "The hotel takes this situation very seriously, and any staff members involved have been reported and will face appropriate actions according to HR policy."

The Independent reported that WPTV journalist Ashleigh Walters of Palm Beach captured video of the incident. Bavaro Digital posted video, though it was unclear if it was Walters' video:

The Dodo claimed the men pulled the shark from the water for the sole purpose of getting photos with it, calling it a "troubling trend of deadly self-obsession" and citing the recent story of the small dolphin being killed for photos on a beach in Bueno Aires, Argentina.

"That is absolutely against our standards of protecting animals as we protect our guests," Soriano told The Dodo.

The public outcry on social media was what you might expect:

"I won't be spending my money with them again! Disgraceful!!"

"Ignorance kills."

"Disgusting people."

"What a shame…boycott Hard Rock til they make this right."

"Blues are my favorite shark. This is pathetic and sad, and these lifeguards need an education. RIP beautiful blue."

Perhaps closing the beach for a day might have been a better option, or simply relocating it far offshore.

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