After 18 months in captivity, 'Sammy' the whale shark has been released back into the waters of the Arabian Gulf.
The four-metre long female shark was at the centre of an international storm of protest when she was captured off Jebel Ali on August 27 2008.
The shark has since been on display to visitors to the Atlantis resort’s aquarium on the Palm Jumeirah.
The Atlantis resort said on Thursday that the long wait was required to ensure the shark’s survival upon release. In a statement it argued that seasonal elements affecting water temperature, salinity and migratory patterns were perfect for enhancing her chances of survival in the open ocean.