Dubai hotel frees Sammy the whale shark

A rare whale shark that was a hotel attraction in Dubai has been returned to the wild, the resort said on Thursday, following an international campaign against the captivity.

Updated: Mar 18, 2010, 22:15 PM IST

Dubai: A rare whale shark that was a hotel
attraction in Dubai has been returned to the wild, the resort
said on Thursday, following an international campaign against the
captivity.

Sammy, a freckled whale shark that is an internationally
protected species, had been kept inside a lobby aquarium at
Dubai`s upscale Atlantis resort since September 2008.
The 14-foot female, was returned to the Gulf waters where
it had been "rescued" said the hotel, where guests pay up to
7,500 dollars a night for a top suite.

The shark was a top crowd puller, but also attracted
unwelcome publicity for the hotel, after animal rights groups
began a worldwide campaign to free Sammy.
A "Free Sammy" Facebook campaign attracted more than
26,000 members.

The hotel announcement came as a 175-nation Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) met in
nearby Qatar.

Atlantis said that the shark had been tagged for
monitoring and research.

PTI