A video posted to social media showing boaters in Florida dragging a shark through the water at a “high speed” quickly went viral, but sparked public outrage with some activists referring to the scene as an “animal lynching.” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials launched an investigation and have now identified the men responsible.
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As reported by Fox News, officials have yet to identify the men publicly, as the investigation is still considered ongoing.
“It is too early to speculate what, if any, violations took place in this incident,” said a representative of the agency. “However, the FWC would like to state that the lack of respect shown in this video for our precious natural resources is disheartening and disturbing, and is not representative of conservation-minded anglers around the world.”
The video received national attention after it was reposted by on Instagram by Mark Quartiano, a sports fisherman from Miami who posted under the name “Mark the Shark.”
Quartiano captioned the clip, saying, “Can someone please tell me WTF is going on here???? Just got this on my feed!”
He closed by stating, “For once I may have to agree with @PETA,” and a series of hashtags to show his distaste for the video.
The clip, which runs for about 10 seconds, shows three men smiling as they look back at the shark being dragged through the water.
One of the men says, “Look, he’s almost already dead.” The ultimate fate of the shark is unknown.
Within hours of the video posting, thousands of people added comments. Most were outraged, and some called on Florida officials and PETA to investigate the situation.
Many commenters said the act was “disgusting” and “shameful.” Some even praised Quartiano for exposing the incident. One person said, “Thank you for blowing the whistle on these idiots! What a disgrace they are!” while another stated, “Thank you so much @marktheshark whoever sent you this video thought they were oh so cool and you’d give props. Instead, you were like this is so uncool & wrong.”
The video was sent to Quartiano by other Instagram users under the accounts @bearjew428 and @MICHAELWENZEL. Both of those accounts are no longer active on Instagram.