While they historically had cultural importance for local peoples, the species is now critically endangered and has lost 80 percent of its population in the past two decades. There are likely only a few hundred left.
Now, people have turned that reverence into conservation efforts and rescues of the swamp giants, as populations continue to decline and their food sources become threatened by habitat destruction. It’s currently illegal to intentionally catch them.
"There's a respect for large fish," Zeb Hogan, a big fish biologist, told National Geographic. "It didn't surprise me that this video was in Thailand and the people did this."