When people went diving on an island, they were shocked to find sea animals in underwater cages, with one of them chained. They took photos and posted them online, attracting the attention of wildlife authorities.
Delon Lim had gone diving with a group of divers off a remote island of Kokoya, Indonesia, when he came across a shocking scene. There were two rare marine mammals closely related to manatees, dugongs, confined to cages at the bottom of the ocean.
Held in separate cages, these dugongs, also known as sea cows, seemed to be a mother and her calf. The mother had a rope tied to her tail, while the calf did not.
According to The Dodo, Lim said that the duo was captured by a local fisherman who wanted to make a profit from tourists. He said, “He asked for some money if we want to see the dugong or take a picture.” He added that the divers are permitted to take photos and videos in the cage with the mother.
Seeing the condition of the duo, Lim’s understanding was that the duo might have been restrained for several weeks. He explained, “It seems so. The ropes are worn and torn. The scars and the wound on her tail are so deep. It was very heartbreaking.”
Seeing the ordeal the dugongs were going through, the divers tried convincing the fisherman to let them go, as the animals are a protected species.
“When we left the island, the fisherman agreed to release them,” Lim said. But he and the other divers still felt uneasy. “But since we were not so convinced he would, I posted the video to social media,” he added.
In a few hours after the video was posted, the wildlife authorities contacted him, requesting the exact location where the animals were held. They set the animals free the next day.
Just a simple, conscientious act by Lim counteracted the cruelty of the fisherman. Most of the time, that’s all it takes.