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Still Waters

Whale shark 'enclosure' plans in Kenya

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Volker Bassen, a dive instructor who runs a whale shark trust, wants to hang nets 2,000ft long in shallow waters off Kenya's Indian Ocean beaches as enclosures for two of the animals.

Visitors would pay £65 each to snorkel or dive with the whale sharks, and the money would be used to fund protection programmes for them.

But a group of conservationists and wildlife charities, including the Born Free Foundation in Britain, called Mr Bassen's plans "flawed and deeply misguided" and have urged authorities in Kenya to halt it.

http://www.telegraph...-misguided.html

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That's a horrible idea. I really hope it doesn't happen.

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That really sucks..These kinds of things should be stopped permanently.

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Is this worse than a zoo or an aquarium?

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There are many negative aspects to this..

I don't like to see any life in captivity(unless they cannot really survive otherwise), but I really don't think anyone but those trained and able to deal with wildlife should really do it.

As peaceful as whale sharks are, these large animals need much needed space and interaction with their own kind. Entrapping these creatures in the name of conservation efforts seems rather ridiculous. I've tried helping fund these "efforts" before, but I rather doubt they're using the funds given to help save animals.

Trapping animals to save them? No. People need to actually see what they're doing and advertisements and such won't do it.

I do see that interactions with animals would enlighten a rare few to the welfare of animals, but letting them swim side by side is asking for disaster, unless every participant knows how to deal with such beings. Even so, there are a lot of people willing to find a lawsuit and sue others over the most ridiculous mishap; There goes another beautiful creature, put to death for even so frightening a person.

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Whale sharks are plankton feeders, they move through clouds of planktonic animals with their mouths agape feeding as they swim. These plankton rich areas are not uniform, they follow upwellings and currents and so forth and the sharks, manta rays and other filter feeders are constantly on the move following their food. To enclose the animals prevents natural feeding behavior and necessitates an artificial diet. This is how they are maintained in aquaria, the few that do try to keep them. I am not sure the success rate is all that high in captivity and might not be any better under these circumstance. It might be better than an aquarium in that you can have a much larger area and constant exchange of water, but it would likely be stressful for the sharks and limit their long term survival. Also if they become entangled in the nets they may drown, as many shark species must keep moving constantly in order to breathe.

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