A man named Delon Lim went diving with a group of divers off the remote island of Kokoya in Indonesia. The group of divers came across a harrowing scene – two rare marine mammals confined to cages and chained at the bottom of the ocean. The fish are called Dugongs and are closely related to Manatees.
They were held in cages and looked to be a mother and her calf. They were in a sorry state when the divers found them. The mother was chained via a rope tied to her tail, while the calf was not tied. According to Lim, the two fish were captured by a local fisherman who was using them to make money off of tourists.
He states, “He [the fisherman] asked for some money if we want to see the dugong or take a picture.” He told a local paper that the divers were permitted to take pictures and videos in the cage with the mother at a fee paid to the fisherman. This explains why the mother was chained.
When he saw the condition of the pair of fish, Lim ascertained that the two had probably been restrained for several weeks at least. He explains, “It seems so. The ropes are worn and torn. The scars and the wound on her tail are so deep. It was very heartbreaking.”
When the divers understood what they were seeing, they pleaded to the fisherman to let the fish go because they are a protected species and the way in which they were held captive is inhumane. Lim says, “When we left the island, the fisherman agreed to release them.” However, after departing he and the other divers still felt uneasy and unsure whether they will be set free.
Lim decided then to post the video of the fish that he took to social media in the hope that it would garner some attention. Only a few hours after the video was posted, the wildlife authorities contacted him to ask about the exact location where the fish were being held.
The authorities found the spot where the fish were imprisoned and set the animals free the next day. A simple act by a concerned individual counteracted the cruelty of the fisherman. This is a testament to the power of social media, and that it can be a positive force if used as one.