When Chinese fisherman Cai Tu made a lucky catch recently, he decided to forego a small fortune in favor of turning that luck around -- or paying it forward, as it were. Tu reeled in his fishing nets one day to discover that he had accidentally caught a 200-pound sea turtle, whose shell suggested he was more than 100 years old. Awed by the elderly turtle, Tu decided to release the animal, nicknamed The Hulk, back into the sea -- instead of selling him to restaurants that would've paid handsomely to turn the turtle into a meal.
"Sometimes you have to do the right thing," Tu said, according to the Daily Mirror. "I looked into that turtle's eye and saw something that was alive before my grandfather was born, and I didn't want to be the end of that journey ... I wanted to give him another chance."
Had Tu decided to sell The Hulk, he could have secured upwards of two months' wages from competing restaurateurs, who typically use turtles in soup or use their bones for medicine. China doesn't have the best track record with protecting sea turtles: recently, the country protested charges against a group of Chinese fishermen who were found smuggling more than 350 of the endangered animals. Tu's actions, however, reflect some of the changing attitudes toward animal welfare that the Chinese public has experienced in recent years: the man respected the turtle too much to send the "old man of the sea" to a speedy and painful death.