Sometimes that Instagram photo-op just isn't worth it. A local businessman in Indonesia learned that lesson the hard way, after he publicized a video of himself riding on the back of a legally protected whale shark. It was a crime serious enough to get him arrested.
The video — which you can watch at the bottom of this article — was recorded in Cenderawasih Bay, Indonesia, earlier this month.
One of the divers lies on the whale shark's back, grabbing the sides of its head. Another diver is holding onto the animal's pectoral fin.
The divers seem to be trying to hold the whale shark in place so that the camera person can record the perfect shot. The diver on the back of the shark gives an "OK" hand signal to whoever is recording.
Meanwhile, the animal appears uncomfortable, opening its mouth and moving its body back and forth.
Environmentalists called attention to the video after it was posted online, which eventually led to local authorities arresting the man who was riding on the back of the whale shark. In Indonesia, even touching a whale shark is illegal, because the animals can get injured easily. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the whale shark as endangered.
Environmental activist Rachmad Saleh, quoted in the Daily Mail, said, "It's too stupid, claiming to be a diver but acting ridiculous. It's a shame."
Saleh told the Daily Mail that the perpetrators will not be allowed to enter this conservation area again. Authorities have also threatened to revoke their scuba licenses.
Let's hope these divers learned their lesson: Leave wild animals alone. They're not there for your entertainment, and there is always the chance they could get aggressive.
We should be glad that the authorities reprimanded the perpetrators in this case, and also hope their story sends a message to divers and snorkelers all over the world.
Watch the full video of these divers' unacceptable (and illegal) behavior below: