Conservationists and internet users alike were left with broken hearts after viewing a viral video that hit Instagram last year. The 10-second video shows a blacktip shark tied and being dragged behind the back of a speeding boat, as it bounces and skips along waves.
The video which had been circulating for months sparked the attention of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission after receiving a number of complaints about the video. This led to a 4-month investigation alongside the state prosecutors which saw the suspects arrested.
The alleged assailants were charged with 2 counts of aggravated animal cruelty, which is a third-degree felony. The video was shared by private message to Mark Quartiano, aka Mark the Shark who is known for his shark-fishing expeditions, who was immediately enraged by horrific video.
Mark then posted the video to his feed as a deterrent and stated:
CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WTF IS GOING ON HERE ???? JUST GOT THIS ON MY FEED ! SENT FROM @bearjew428 AND @MICHAELWENZEL .FOR ONCE I MAY HAVE TO AGREE WITH @PETA. #WHODOESTHISSHIT#sowrong#notcool
While Mark is a fisherman, he still does not believe in the cruel torture of living creates, much like most of us, rational human beings. In an interview with the New York Times he stated:
'I couldn't believe that someone would send me something like this, ...I was horrified.'
The suspects allegedly took more videos as well as photographs during their outing which showed even more criminal activity. One of the assailants shot a blacknose shark with a speargun, which is illegal to do. There was also footage of the assailants shooting the blacktip shark from the original video with a .38 calibre revolver, prior to tying it up and dragging it behind their speedboat.
This kind of behaviour sickens us all, however it is not uncommon. In this case, the suspects were brought to justice thanks to them recording their own foolish actions.