When a TV show gets boring, writers generate gimmicky gags, or "jump the shark." Fonzie literally jumped a shark in an episode of Happy Days, but it was pure comedy and all for fun and games.
Now a new shopping mall in Kiev, Ukraine, is confining a sand tiger shark named Big John to a small tank. The imprisonment is all to attrack tourists—and although you could call this display gimmicky, there is no "jumping" involved whatsover. The tiny aquarium is a trap, and the shark can barely turn around inside of it.
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While more than a thousand shoppers a day browse cell phone kiosks and department stores, the marine animal suffers in what's ironically called the Ocean Plaza.
"Ocean Plaza has neglected to provide an adequate, industry standard aquarium for the shark, causing it a huge amount of distress and disorientation—a huge disrespect to the shark and an unacceptable public display of animal cruelty," said Mia Forrest of Fin Free Australia, to TakePart. "In doing so, the management has taken a hedonic approach to this shark's confinement, by failing to implement a positive and educational message about the plight of sharks worldwide."
Although the owners of the shopping center say they've done nothing wrong, the shark's nose wound is proof that her tank is too narrow and as a result, she's uncomfortably rubbing against glass.
Kyivan protestors are rallying to either enlarge the tank or free the shark. According to protest coordinator Victoria Svitlova, the protestors are still waiting for Ocean Plaza management to schedule a meeting they promised to organize. If the mall does not agree to the Zemlyane ecologic group's demands, the protestors will boycott the mall as a shopping destination.
If reality show Shark Tank wouldn't call that good for business, why doesn't the actual shark tank just close up shop?
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Alessandra Rizzotti is the Associate Features Editor at Good Magazine and a writer for HelloGiggles.com. She's been published in Smith, Heeb, and Neave's online magazines and currently runs the Los Angeles storytelling show In Bloom: Stories About Growing Up, Still Growing, Or Never Growing Up At All. Her corgi and three tuxedo cats are too cute for words.