On the second day of 2021, a whale shark drifted into Kendari Bay, in eastern Indonesia, and became trapped when the tide quickly turned. After a 10-hour struggle in murky, shallow water, government officials and local residents managed to push the giant fish 5 kilometers (3 miles) up the inlet that feeds into the bay and back out to sea. The ultimately successful, ad hoc rescue effort highlights the consequences for marine creatures as the bay gradually fills with silt released by land clearing for development projects. Kendari, the city on the bay, has grown rapidly along with the region’s nickel mining and palm oil industries. Yahya, a motorcycle taxi driver who lives nearby, heard the bustle early in the morning and joined several residents seeking to help the 3-meter (10-foot) whale shark, an endangered species. He found a disoriented, squirming animal larger than a car, with a meter-wide (3-foot) mouth, struggling to survive amid sparse mangrove trees and houses on stilts above milky-brown water. “We were afraid it could attack one of us. But it eventually calmed down, and we pushed it along,” Yahya told Mongabay. “I think this is the first time something like this has happened.” Locals push the whale shark away from the shoreline. Image courtesy of the Southeast Sulawesi conservation agency. With the waters just a meter deep at low tide, the animal likely lost its bearings and got stuck. Yahya and others stayed in shallow waters until they reached the deepest part of the…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer