A rising tide of outrage is forming after pictures emerged of a 20-year-old diver who dragged a giant Pacific octopus from its watery home and then killed and ate it for his friends art project.
Angry fellow divers from the shore of Seattle took photographs of Dylan Mayer proudly standing with the large octopus and then watched in disbelief as he and his friend tossed the still live 30 pound female onto the bed of his truck before driving off.
Their shock turned to horror as a grinning Mayer posted images of himself measuring the now dead octopus onto his Facebook account and now is in the position of having to justify to the diving community why he hunted the gentle and intelligent animal.
Local activists photographed Mr Mayer's catch and posted the photos on their website and urged outraged residents to sign a petition banning the harvesting of giant Pacific octopuses.
Admired by marine experts for their agile intelligence and ability to change color to match their surroundings, the giant Pacific octopus is not protected but is not usually hunted for food.
However, Mayer defended his decision to catch the cephalopod, claiming that his friend needed his help.
The uproar caused by Mayer has led to the 20-year-old receiving dozens of threatening phone calls and abusive emails.
The wannabe rescue diver has said that he has been demonized by the local scuba community and has had to deny claims that the octopus was sitting on eggs when he captured her.
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