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Some lucky fishermen in Karachi, Pakistan were fortunate enough to be part of what is probably considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in their profession - Reeling in a 40 foot long whale shark.
Fortunately however, the fishermen were not responsible for killing this magnificent creature. It had been spotted floating around unconscious in the Arabian Sea about 90 miles off the coast of Karachi for almost ten days, before it finally washed ashore.
As you can imagine, lifting the whale was no easy task - It took three cranes to get the 8-ton behemoth out of the water. Then, began the fun part - The auction for this rare creature that is coveted for its meat, oil and fins. After some vigorous bidding, the whale shark was finally sold for just 1.7 million Pakistani Rupees or about 18,800 USD!
Despite their names, these gigantic creatures belong to the shark family and are the largest known extant fish. The longest whale shark ever witnessed was 41.50 feet long - However, there have been unconfirmed reports of ones even longer than that. Despite their large rather scary looking mouths that can measure up to 5 feet wide and house between 300 to 350 tiny teeth, these fish pose no danger to humans, and have even been known to allow swimmers to ride on their fins. They largely feed on plankton - the microscopic plants and plants that drift around in the ocean currents.
Found largely in tropical waters, whale sharks can live up to 70 years in the wild. Unfortunately, human fishing, both accidental and deliberate, as well as, declining food sources has taken its toll on their population and like a lot of other magnificent creatures these too, are currently on the endangered list.
Resources: christianpost.com, dailymail.co.uk