(Coast of Mexico) -- A group of Scuba divers in Mexico rescued a pregnant whale shark from almost certain death by cutting a thick rope which had wrapped itself around the animal's body.
The incident took place in a marine nature reserve near Roca Partida, one of Mexico's Revillagigedo Islands, some 400 kilometres to the southeast of the resort town of Cabo San Lucas.
The whale shark was about 10 metres (33 feet) in length and weighed approximately 15 tons. The animal was swimming approximately 30 metres (100 feet) below the ocean's surface.
Divers discovered the whale shark during a routine tourist trip aboard the Solmar V, a luxury live-aboard dive vessel that operates from Cabo San Lucas when they saw the animal and decided to act, much to the delight of the cheering tourists on board.
Divemaster and cruise director Daniel Zapata and several other divers made two trips down to the slow-moving whale, first to check its condition, and then to remove the rope, which may have eventually killed the still-growing animal if it had not been removed.
A large, deep scar could be seen on the whale shark's back once the rope was removed, leading the divers to believe that the animal had been trapped for some time.
Whale sharks - which are classified as sharks - are the largest fish species in existence, with fully grown specimens reaching up to 12 metres (40 feet) in length. They are known to prefer warm waters and can be often seen in the tropical waters off Mexico's coasts.
Despite their considerable size, the docile whale sharks are considered harmless to divers, as they feed almost exclusively on plankton, larvae, and tiny fish.
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