Two men have sparked anger and outrage online, after photos emerged that appear to show them surfing on the back of an endangered Whale Shark, while holidaying off the coast of Mexico.
Though there is no geotag, the photos are thought to have been taken in the Caribbean Sea, near the islands of Isla Holbox or Mujeres, both of which are part of nearby Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
The shark appears to be swimming feet below the surface when the men stand on its back, both holding onto ropes that are presumably being towed by a boat.
The photos have enraged twitter users, with one commenting:
“Does anyone out there know these idiots? They are riding on the back of what I’m assuming is a whale shark. It’s not enough to go shooting animals for sport, ride ellies for pleasure and entertainment, now we are riding f*cking whale shark for a photo op.”
Another jumped in to say:
“They are uncivilised people who I condemn in the strongest manner.”
Christopher Gonzalez, regional director for the Yucatan Peninsula Regional Commission, said: “We are trying to identify the authenticity of these images.”
While it is legal and common to swim with Whale Sharks, people are advised to keep a 15 foot distance and riding/touching is strictly prohibited. Whale Sharks don’t eat people or anything close, but go for small fish and plankton which they filter out of water.
With some growing extremely large, the Whale Shark is often hunted by Chinese fishermen, for their skin, blubber and fins.
They’ve got enough on their plates without silly idiots trying to ride them.