A 5-foot-long white-tipped shark died after it was placed into an above-ground backyard pool in Van Nuys, California, during a commercial shoot for Kmart, the LA Times reported.
White-tip sharks are on the list of threatened species due to a decline in population following the popularity of shark fin soup, according to the IUCN.
The death occurred March 6, but came to light after an on-set whistleblower tipped off PETA that Kmart had insisted on using live sharks in the ad:
… the production company, Boxer Films of Los Angeles, had recommended against using a live shark. When the animal died, Kmart asked that a second shark be brought on set, but the production company refused and replaced the animal with an animatronic hippopotamus, …
Actors were jumping in and out of the pool where the shark was kept, according to an AP/BBC report. When it showed signs of distress, “the shark was injected with adrenaline and received oxygen from a trainer,” the LA Times says. The shark died that afternoon after being moved to a specialist in Long Beach.
The American Humane Association — responsible for those “No Animals Were Harmed” notices — has been alerted.
“We take this matter seriously and safety is always our paramount concern. We have been advised by our agency that the production company responsible for this shoot worked with professional animal handlers and a representative of the American Humane Association for the purpose of monitoring the shark’s welfare. We are saddened by this incident.”
DraftFCB is the Kmart’s main agency, although the client placed the account into review in January. The agency did not immediately respond to a message requesting comment.
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