It’s rare to see a giant squid swimming above waters. However, a paddleboarder got a chance to see one though there’s no happy ending to his encounter.

James Taylor and his wife were paddleboarding off Melkbosstrand, South Africa when they saw a large creature in the clear blue water.

Thinking it was just a piece of kelp or something equally harmless, the pair paddled closer.

To his shock, it was a giant squid which later on grips onto his board. Whoa!

Sadly, the giant squid is not in good condition, it was actually dying.

Seeing that it was badly injured, with missing tentacles and bite marks, Taylor decided to haul it ashore.

But dragging the animal ashore was not an attempt to save its life. Taylor assumed it was dying and hauled it for research purposes.

According to Earth Touch News, he said: “I wanted to try get it to the beach for research purposes before it got more damaged by seals in the area.”

“It was only when I pulled the rope tight and started dragging that the squid started moving … and only for a couple of minutes,” clarifies Taylor.

“By the time I got it to the beach, it wasn’t moving at all anymore. I decided the most humane thing to do was to sever its head and put it out of its misery. It’s never nice seeing anything die, but I felt it was the right thing to do.”

According to Taylor, he contacted the local aquarium to inform them about the injured squid but sadly, they were on a holiday.

“It was unfortunately a holiday and they did not have any staff on call to drive through, so we dissected it and took a bunch of videos and photos that we later sent to them so that they could at least have a look at what we found. They sent these on to a professor who has been studying giant squid in South Africa for the last 15 years and he was very excited about the find. He told me the next day that he has only seen five wash up on South African shores since he started his studies,” Taylor said on Facebook.

Here’s the giant squid encounter:

Meanwhile, the animal was identified by local researchers as a true giant squid (genus Architeuthis). One expert believed that the peeling of skin and other injuries happened during intercourse – a violent mating session.

The encounter happened back in March but it was only after he posted the video on Instagram that he received international attention for his wild paddleboard ride.

However, despite his good intention, netizens were not impressed by what he did. Many believed that Taylor should have tried to maintain distance from the squid and left it alone. Anyway, who are we to decide if an animal gets to die?

Via: Azula