A young whale shark that became trapped in the Tainan Canal yesterday was freed thanks to the efforts of the city’s fire department and conservationists.
Members of the city’s fire department and conservationists rushed to the scene yesterday morning after it was reported that a young whale shark measuring about 3m long had swum into the canal — the first such occurrence in the canal’s 90-year history.
Fire department staff first searched the canal on a lifeboat and a sampan, trying to help the whale shark swim back to the open sea.
But in the end, they managed to capture the whale shark using a fishing net before setting it free in the ocean.
They said they believed that the whale shark swam into the canal from the nearby Anping fishing port, where construction work was in progress.
Whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, were added to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 2002, which means whale shark products can only be sold with special permits.
At the beginning of last year, regulations were introduced that banned the fishing, sale, importation and export of whale sharks.
The whale shark is found in tropical and warm oceans. It can grow to lengths of up to 20m and weigh up to 30 tonnes.
The species is called the “tofu shark” locally because its meat purportedly looks and tastes like tofu. Whale sharks have been targets of harpoon fishing because their meat and fins fetch a high price on the international market.
Whale sharks are seen as having the potential to play an important role in eco-tourism because they are no threat to humans and it is considered safe to swim with them. There is a growing interest in the species among divers and dive businesses.
Before the government banned fishing of the “tofu shark,” Anping was the nation’s largest whale shark fishing port, with catches sometimes topping 70 fish per year, Tainan fishermen said.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since