A couple of fishermen in the Philippines caught a rare shark, the Megamouth Shark, in the waters off of Donsol on March 30. It wasn’t long before they had the massive beast extricated from their net and placed in boiling coconut milk. What they did not know is that the shark they had captured was so rare that there was only documented evidence of only 40 of them. Ever.
Megamouth 41, its official designation, weighed 1,102 pounds.
According to National Geographic, Elson Aca of the WWF, who recognized the Megamouth shark said that he attempted to persuade the fishermen to release the massive shark. But sharks are a delicacy and the big meal was soon cooking. It was made into a dish called kinuout.
The first Megamouth shark was discovered in 1976 off of Oahu, Hawaii. It was such a strange-looking creature that it required a new family and genus categorization. Its overly large mouth, hence its name, is used to scoop. It is a filter feeder, like the whale shark, and believed to be no threat to humans.
The unfortunate Megamouth shark is one of several species of rare animals that have been found or rediscovered in recent months.
The WWF sponsored the Greater Mekong Programme that catalogued over a thousand new species in Southeast Asia over a couple years. Among the finds was a Laotian Rock Rat, an animal that was thought to be extinct. Until the rediscovery, scientists had believed that the Laotian rock rat became extinct 11 million years ago. It looks like a cross between a squirrel and a rat. Apparently, it is a delicacy as well — researchers found it in a food market.
But the people in the Philippines like their rare species on a plate. Not only did they have no problem gobbling down the monster Megamouth shark, they had no problem eating what may even be a more rare species of bird.
A bird only seen as pictures drawn from specimens in museums, the Worcester’s buttonquail, was captured and photographed before being sold as food in a market in January. The bird is only found on the island of Luzon and scientists had believed it to be extinct.
Rare and near extinct animals are finding it difficult to stay extant in proximity to the top of the food chain. But at least there are pictures…
Photo of the Megamouth Shark before it became a meal.
Photo of the Worcester’s buttonquail before it was sold for food in a market.
Photo of Laotian Rock Rat that may or may not have been become a meal.