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Thu 18 Mar 2010 04:09 PM

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Atlantis frees Sammy the whale shark

After 18 months in captivity Sammy the whale shark is released into open seas, Atlantis resort confirms.

Atlantis frees Sammy the whale shark
FREEDOM: Sammy the whale shark has been released into the wild after 18 months of captivity.

After 18 months in captivity, 'Sammy' the whale shark has been released back into the waters of the Arabian Gulf.

The four-metre long female shark was at the centre of an international storm of protest when she was captured off Jebel Ali on August 27 2008.

The shark has since been on display to visitors to the Atlantis resort’s aquarium on the Palm Jumeirah.

The detainment of the whale shark prompted uproar from animal rights groups, including the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Former Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson even described the situation as "heartbreaking".

The Atlantis resort said on Thursday that the long wait was required to ensure the shark’s survival upon release. In a statement it argued that seasonal elements affecting water temperature, salinity and migratory patterns were perfect for enhancing her chances of survival in the open ocean.

The whale shark has been tagged and the Atlantis Fish Husbandry Team will continue to monitor its progress.

“The whale shark is an animal about which little is known and Atlantis is proud that the research and data gathered can be shared amongst the marine community,” said Steve Kaiser, vice president, marine and science engineering for the Atlantis resort

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Raj 10 years ago

Hey thats really great news .... finally after so much of protest Hope Sammy has a great life in her real world ... All the best

mohammed 10 years ago

Thank God, Sammy is free. what was the condition of the creature when Atlantis released it? will it survive? Does AB has any video of it being released in the ocean?

kris 10 years ago

I must say I am very happy to hear that the Atlantis has decided to release this wonderful marine creature back to its natural habitat. I am a bit curious as to why this decision took 18 months? What's the catch? Was the animal ill ? Was it release so it could die a natural death in the ocean and the Atlantis would avoid any negative publicity had it died in their aquarium? Will it be replaced with another large marine creature sometime soon?

ahmed 10 years ago

There are still millions living in captivity. Only the big have attention same as humans.

Happy 10 years ago

I am so happy sammy is free

JK 10 years ago

Sad to see Sammy off. I am sure all the tiny sharks will miss him/her who seemed to swim always beside him/her. Oh, all those activists who are going to reply back against me, please... if you like to talk about free due to animal rights whatever, lets talk about all fishes, not just one. And lets begin with Zoo.

Jutta Weber 10 years ago

THAT, I call really GOOD news ......

Bill Allison 10 years ago

Statements made by Atlantis staff about the research benefits would be more compelling if information about the research was available. For a starter, how about posting the research purpose, objectives, methods and results for the duration of the shark's period of incarceration and for this new phase. As it stands, statements about research and the release seem like after the fact rationalizations.

Bwana Makuba 10 years ago

Not sure if letting Sammy free is a good idea, out off the frying pan into the fire? The other fish in Atlantis seem to be happy enough. I compare the situation with people wanting to move to the UAE for better prospects!

Samantha 10 years ago

it would be great to get the proof! and if it is still alive!