A dead shark was found hanging from a Florida high school rafters earlier this week, and officials say it was part of a senior prank.
WJXT’s Marilyn Parker reported that the shark’s carcass was discovered and removed from a stairwell at Ponte Vedra High School around 8 a.m. on Thursday.
School officials told WJXT that investigators identified five students involved in the incident. A student who spoke with WJXT said that the gutted shark was part of a senior prank.
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to WJXT that it’s believed to be a school prank, given that the school’s mascot is a shark.
On Friday, animal advocacy group One Protest launched a change.org petition seeking criminal charges against the five students, according to WJXT. The petition has garnered over 1,600 of the requested 2,500 signatures as of Saturday afternoon.
“As an animal advocacy organization, we are accustomed to seeing and hearing about execrable crimes carried out upon wildlife. This case is particularly egregious. We are dealing with high school seniors who have a blatant disregard for life and find killing, mutilating, and displaying the body of an animal as “funny” or a “prank” this kind of mentality and behavior deserves to be punished. We must uphold the laws put in place to protect wildlife and hold those who break the law accountable for their actions,” says the petition.
“Sharks are keystone species that keep our oceans healthy and balanced. Without them, our underwater ecosystems would collapse. They deserve our respect. Please prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law,” the petition concluded.