Mar 22, 10 | 1:52 am
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 4.2m female was returned to the Gulf waters where it had been "rescued", said the hotel, where guests pay up to $7 500 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.