The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Beachgoers Use Endangered Shark Dragged From Water for Selfies
By Zachary Toliver
Sometimes humans forget that animals have feelings, too, and cause them to suffer. Just consider some Florida beachgoers who were filmed taking photos of and selfies with an injured hammerhead shark, who an expert says most likely died after the incident.
On a beach near West Palm Beach, Florida, a group of people pulled a shark out of the water in an attempt to remove a fish hook from a fin. This was their first mistake, as sharks, and especially their gills, should always be kept in the water. But the incident wasn't over yet.
Not understanding sharks' needs or not considering this one's well-being, the crowd unfortunately turned the event into a photo op. Shark activist and educator Leigh Cobb, who filmed the incident, is heard in her video screaming at the people to put the animal back in the water. Eventually, they did push the shark back into the ocean but not before likely doing some deadly damage.
"[Great hammerhead sharks] don't survive after being taken out of the water," Cobb told ABC News. She noted that high stress levels (which could result from having a crowd of people tugging at the shark) can cause an irreversible lactic acid buildup—which often leads to death.
"[That shark] will die within two weeks," she said. "Absolutely no doubt about it."
Given that hammerheads rarely come this close to shore, it's suspected that the shark was lured in with fish blood—known as "chumming." Because of human activities like overfishing and the shark fin soup industry, hammerhead sharks are an endangered species. The last thing they need is the stress of being used in selfies.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is aware of the video and has asked for any information about the incident.
Animals Are Not Ours to Use as Props!
If there's any chance that your photo is going to hurt a living being, it's not worth taking it. Yet time and time again, we've seen animals routinely injured, exploited, and killed because of human vanity. Turtles have been beaten by crowds, sharks have been dragged from the ocean to die, and baby tigers are torn away from their mothers—just so that people can take photos with them.
All these victims were thinking, feeling individuals who, just as we would be, were terrified when intruders pulled them from their homes and physically abused them—sometimes to death.
What You Can Do
Help us stop this trend of deadly ignorance by sharing this story with your friends, family and social media followers. Let them know that animals' lives are worth so much more than Instagram likes or heart reactions.
Remember, if you see something, say something. If you ever witness someone endanger or mistreat an animal, call the police immediately. If the authorities don't respond, contact PETA for help.
- Exclusive: Instagram Fights Animal Abuse With New Alert System ›
- Video, selfies with baby shark caught off Huntington Beach pier ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jeff Turrentine
First off: Bangkok Wakes to Rain, the intricately wrought, elegantly crafted debut novel by the Thai-American author Pitchaya Sudbanthad, isn't really about climate change. This tale set in the sprawling subtropical Thai capital is ultimately a kind of family saga — although its interconnected characters aren't necessarily linked by a bloodline. What binds them is their relationship to a small parcel of urban land on which has variously stood a Christian mission, an upper-class family house, and a towering condominium. All of the characters have either called this place home or had some other significant connection to it.
Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law Thursday banning public schools or universities in the state from using Native American mascots, names or imagery. Mills' action will make Maine the first state in the nation with such a ban once it goes into effect later this year, The Bangor Daily News reported.
Inslee's 'Evergreen Economy Plan' Calls for $9 Trillion Investment in New Green Jobs, Would Help Fossil Fuel Workers Transition
By Julia Conley
A new climate action plan put forth by Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday is being praised for highlighting the enormous benefits that would result from a rapid shift in the U.S. to a renewable energy economy that centers on the needs of workers and vulnerable communities.