Environmental groups praise three Sarawak fishermen who freed whale shark

Three fishermen from the Malaysian state of Sarawak are being praised by local environmental authorities after they helped untie a rope that was attached to a whale shark.

In a clip that went viral over the weekend, the majestic animal can be seen swimming slowly alongside the fishermen’s boat, almost as though it was asking for help in detaching a yellow rope that had somehow gotten looped around its body (yes, we know we’re anthropomorphizing a giant fish — sue us). The men kindly obliged, freeing the animal.

In the two-minute long clip, one of the men can be heard saying that he believed the animal was asking for assistance, as it waited calmly for them to figure out how to remove the rope. Eventually the men used a long hook to lift the rope away from the whale shark’s back, and then cut it with a cleaver, setting the animal free.

Realizing that three had managed to remove the tie, the whale shark thanked the fishermen with a little wave of its fin (yes, we’re doing it again), which the men returned as it promptly swam away.


Malaysia Animal Association President Arie Dwi Andika told local media that his organization was “so proud of [the] Malaysians who helped the shark. It’s so hard these days to get honest people to help animals in need.”

Arie added that Malaysians everywhere should take a page out of their book, and contribute to preserving not just marine life, but all the animals in our fair land.

Whale sharks are commonly found in Malaysian waters, and are the world’s largest fish. They can grow up to 18.8 meters in length, and weigh in at an impressing 19,000 kilograms.

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