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Wild video shows whale ‘aggressively’ sucking woman’s entire head

Incredible footage shows the beluga whale rip away a woman's wig and then grab at her skirt and body.

Shocking video of a whale sucking a woman’s entire head into its mouth has prompted a warning to travellers to avoid encounters with captive marine mammals. Analysis of the startling footage, which is believed to have been shot at a Chinese aquarium, prompted concerns for both humans and animal safety.

The 47-second video was originally uploaded to social media in November, but was discovered and shared internationally by animal advocates at China Cetacean Alliance (CCA) this week. It shows the beluga whale pulling what appears to be hair, or possibly a wig, from a woman’s head and then grabbing at her skirt, legs and body.

"All of these are obvious aggressive behaviours," the group said in Mandarin. "Judging from the intensity in the video, the woman had at least bruises and abrasions. In addition, beluga whales are fully capable of biting and dragging people out of the water, causing more serious injuries or even death."

Left - A woman with her hands on her head underwater in the Chinese aquarium after the beluga whale engulfed her head in its mouth. Right - the beluga whale attacking the woman.
A woman appeared shocked after a whale sucked her entire head into its mouth. Source: CCA

You can watch the full video below.

Ongoing fascination with captive whales in China

Despite dolphin parks declining in popularity in western countries they remain popular in China. In 2020, CCA estimated there were at least 1085 cetaceans in captivity in China including 16 orcas and 202 beluga whales.

Dolphins are frequently captured from the wild to be displayed at Chinese aquariums, with many sourced from Japan's notorious Taiji cove where hundreds are also butchered. An ongoing supply is required because dolphins generally aren’t as long-lived in captivity.

Growing awareness of animal welfare in China

CCA said it was commonplace for tourists to pay to dive with whales inside tanks, and for videos to be filmed. It was concerned her wig posed a choking hazard for the whale.

In November, CCA told Yahoo it was also concerned about penguins being held captive at regional aquariums and shopping centres. But added there was growing awareness about animal welfare in cities.

“It’s a big country, so the demographics are diverse. For people in small cities with limited access to information, they still like to go to marine parks just for fun. Because there aren’t many fun activities where they live,” they said.

“A lot of them don’t think about the animals’ situation. They just think: There is a park and I can take my kids there. But then sometimes I receive comments from people saying: My kids are feeling troubled and they think the animals are really distressed.”

The aquarium where the footage is believed to have been filmed has been contacted for comment.

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