An influencer went viral for all the wrong reasons.
CNN reported that great white sharks “are a protected species under China’s wildlife protection law, which has been strengthened and expanded in recent years amid nationwide reforms regarding biodiversity conservation.”
The video was created in July 2022. Tizi was fined 125,000 yuan ($18,500) earlier this year and issued an apology. In connection to the video, two anglers were also arrested on suspicion of selling sharks.
The story was later reshared on Reddit (warning: images may be disturbing to some viewers), where it sparked an entirely new wave of outrage.
“This is utterly disgusting in so many ways,” one user wrote. “Creepy part is it seems so purposeful. Barf.”
CNN noted that part of China’s crackdown on the exploitation or harvesting of protected species included a public campaign with former National Basketball Association superstar Yao Ming to end illegal wildlife trade.
In 2006, Yao pledged to give up shark fin soup, a traditional dish often eaten during celebratory events. The status symbol costs sharks their lives and can destroy ecosystems.
What’s more, protecting sharks can have a profound effect on our environment. A study published in March showed that protecting and restoring wildlife can play a major role in preserving our planet’s natural storage of carbon pollution.
Sharks and other large predators store carbon in their bodies, and maintaining or expanding the populations of nine such animal groups could combat rising global temperatures.
Conserving reef sharks, grey wolves, wildebeest, sea otters, musk oxen, and ocean fish and increasing the number of African forest elephants and American bison as well as baleen whales in the Antarctic Ocean could help capture 6.4 gigatons of carbon dioxide annually.
“To keep the average global temperature from rising more than 1.5°C above its preindustrial level, scientists estimate that we need to remove 6.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere until 2100,” New Scientist reported.
However, this conservation effort would require the rewilding of farmland and more active intervention.
In response to the news of Tizi’s punishment, many Redditors shared their dissatisfaction.
“Fines = legal for a fee,” one said.
Another suggested: “Should be a % of earned income so even rich people get hit hard.”
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