Thursday, 28 March 2013

Whale shark capture threatens Kenya’s image for responsible tourism

Whale sharks are the largest fish, reaching lengths of more than 12 metres and weights of more than 20 tonnes, abd are highly migratory - Totally unsuitable for captivity. Credit EAD

Ill-advised tourism ‘adventure' threatens Kenyan Whale sharks - Born Free Foundation and international marine experts are outraged

March 2013. Plans to capture and keep some Whale sharks in an enclosure off the south coast ok Kenya threatens Kenya's hard fought for reputation as a responsible tourism destination. Under the sham pretence of conservation, the company involved is hoping to make money from visits and people paying to swim with whale sharks.

Whale sharks are migratory and deep diving filter feeders, three things that captive animals will be unable to do. This thinly veiled attempt to make money from captive whale sharks will put people off visiting Kenya altogether. Kenya has spent many years building up its image as a leader in Responsible Tourism, and has led the fight against elephant poaching and legalising ivory sales, but this gross idea threatens to undermine many years of hard work.

A huge outcry has been sparked off amongst conservation groups and marine scientists by plans by Seaquarium Ltd. in Kenya to begin catching wild migrating whale sharks for public display in a marine enclosure off the southern Kenyan coast, ostensibly for the purposes of "tourism and conservation."
Fully Protected

Whale sharks are the largest fish on the planet and, while their huge size and gaping-mouthed appearance can be terrifying, these docile plankton feeders pose no threat to man and are fully protected under various international wildlife laws and conventions.

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