Video Credit: CEN/@animalmalaysia
This is the moment a plankton-eating whale shark sidles up to a boat and allows the fisherman to remove a rope caught around its midriff before appearing to thank the men with several swishes of its tail.
The incident was filmed off the coast of Bintulu in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo, and was later shared on Facebook by ‘Malaysia Animal Association’ where it has been viewed 100,000 times.
In the accompanying message, the association said the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) swam up to the fishermen’s boat and remained alongside the vessel for a while.
When they saw a rope caught around its body, the fishermen took a hooked pole and pulled the animal closer to the boat.
Meanwhile, the whale shark appeared to let the Malaysian fishermen slowly remove the rope while it stayed close to their boat.
One man used a cleaver to cut the rope off the filter-feeding carpet shark, the largest known surviving fish species.
After being freed, the marine animal then appeared to thank the fishermen by swishing its tail several times as it swam off.
In the heartwarming footage, the fishermen are heard saying goodbye to the grateful whale shark as it swims away from the boat.
The thoughtful men also removed the rope from the water so no other marine animals could get caught up on it.
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