Unbelievable! Found, hassled and then eaten!
In just a short time, one of the rarest sharks in the world went from swimming in Philippine waters to simmering in coconut milk.
The 13-foot-long (4-meter-long) megamouth shark (pictured), caught on March 30 by mackerel fishers off the city of Donsol, was only the 41st megamouth shark ever found, according to WWF-Philippines.
Fishers brought the odd creature—which died during its capture—to local project manager Elson Aca of WWF, an international conservation nonprofit.
Aca immediately identified it as a megamouth shark and encouraged the fishers not to eat it.
But the draw of the delicacy was too great: The 1,102-pound (500-kilogram) shark was butchered for a shark-meat dish called kinuout.
The megamouth shark species, discovered in 1976 off Oahu, Hawaii, was so bizarre that scientists had to create a new family and genus to classify it. With its giant mouth but tiny teeth, megamouth, like the whale shark, is a filter feeder that preys on tiny animals and appears to be no danger to humans.
Only 40 megamouth sharks, including 7 in the Philippines, have been found since the initial discovery. The shark is so rare that the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the megamouth species as “data deficient.”
Source: National Geographic – read the whole sordid story here.