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Man slammed for jumping on huge shark and hitching ride on its back

A swimmer has been slammed for leaping off a moving boat and landing on the back of a whale shark – which then swims off with him clinging to its dorsal fin.

In the clip, recorded in Saudi Arabia, the man on the boat slowly edges towards a group of endangered whale sharks.

As he nears, one of the huge beasts slowly swims below him and he jumps into the water and lands on the back of the gigantic animal.

Startled, the whale shark swims away and the man initially balances on the animal's back, before grabbing it by the fin as his friends follow in the boat while shouting and cheering.

One of the laughing men shouts to his friend: "Careful, it can swallow you."

The footage was shot in the Red Sea, near the city of Yanbu, and the man who jumped on the shark was named as Zaki Al-sabahy, local media reported.

Zaki was said to be with two other men, Bader Al-Kabidi and Yasser Al-Rifai, newspaper Al Madina reports.

Whale sharks, a peaceful species of shark that feeds on plankton, are extremely rare to see in the Red Sea and many people commented on the man's stunt.

Many were clearly impressed, such as one man who wrote: "I want to try."

And fan wrote: "Strong", while another wrote: "A brave man, God saves him."

But other social media users were infuriated, with one saying: "Praise be to God, I see we have their names.

“I hope they will be arrested and held accountable for their reckless behaviour."

A second said: "I fully agree, they must be held accountable.

“One day you get an idiot standing on the back of a turtle while it's laying its eggs, then the next day you get this guy standing on a whale passing peacefully by and terrifying it.

“They are destroying nature."

Saudi authorities have made no comment on the incident.

The whale shark, the world's largest fish, is listed as “endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List due to the impacts of fisheries, by-catch losses and vessel strikes, along with the animal's long lifespan and late maturation.

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