The controversial pictures are thought to have been taken somewhere near the islands of either Isla Holbox or Mujeres, which are both in the Caribbean Sea and are administratively part of the south-eastern Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
Basically, the photographs show two men, one who is thought to be a holidaymaker and the other a tour operator, standing on the back of the poor whale shark - a creature that is protected by law in Mexico - holding ropes that are tethered to a boat.
It's not a good look.
Naturally, people online are outraged at the behaviour of the two guys. One Twitter user commented: "The excursion operator and tourist who climbed on that poor animal should be punished!"
Another said: "That is totally unacceptable."
A third added: "They are uncivilised people who I condemn in the strongest manner."
Christopher Gonzalez, regional director for the Yucatan Peninsula Regional Commission, said: "We are trying to identify the authenticity of these images."
He added that no other information is available apart from what is on social media, explaining that it might not have taken place in Mexico, an opinion based on the type of rope used.
The whale shark is the largest extant fish in the sea - the biggest one ever recorded was a frankly gigantic 62 feet (18.8 metres) long.
Luckily for us, they are completely uninterested in people, choosing instead to eat plankton and small fish through the filter feeding method.
Still, just because they're huge and completely no threat to humans, that doesn't mean that you can use them as gigantic surfboards and have a jolly around on their backs.
In fact, there are a whole heap of good reasons why that's exactly what you shouldn't do.
First off, while there is no decent record of how many whale sharks are out there, they are listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
They're also slaughtered in massive numbers in China for their skin, oil, and fins. Oh, and they're a large victim of the fishing industry too.
While diving around and swimming with whale sharks is not illegal and is actually a popular tourist activity, there are rules.
You're supposed to stay well clear of them - 15 feet is recommended - and there's definitely a no touching rule.
It should go without saying, then, that you can't strap yourself to a boat with a rope and climb around on the helpless creature's back. That's well out of bounds.
Published on Mon Aug 19 2019 09:47:42 (UTC)
Featured Image Credit: CEN