NINGALOO, Western Australia -- A whale shark tagged with a tracking device off north-west Western Australia is believed to have been caught and eaten in Indonesia.
Satellite data has shown the electronic tracking device attached to the seven-and-a-half metre whale shark, off Ningaloo, has been on land for more than three months on an Indonesian island.
The animal was being tracked in a joint project involving the WA Government.
WA Tourism Minister Mark McGowan says the whale shark seems to have been killed by villagers.
"We were aware of evidence before this that they were being destroyed and eaten by people in the countries to our north," Mr McGowan said.
"This appears to confirm that and what it means is there needs to be international action to protect these creatures.
"They deserve the opportunity to survive and we do need to negotiate an international treaty to protect them and our tourism industry."
Mr McGowan says it is a tragedy for the environment and the tourism industry.
"[We need to] protect and preserve this incredibly important species so that future generations can have the opportunity to see these beautiful creatures," he said.
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