A record-breaking stingray capture, by the numbers:
* 1 rod and line
* 90 minutes for one British biologist (with help) to reel in the freshwater fish
* 13 men to drag said fish onto a boat
* 125 pounds—that's the difference between the stingray's weight at 771 pounds and the previous record rod-&-reel capture of a catfish
The Thailand capture of the massive female stingray was part of a program to tag such Maeklong River residents. The captive, part of a "vulnerable species" listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, measured a hefty 7 feet by 7 feet. That doesn't include the 10-foot-long poisonous tail.
Such creatures are dangerous, of course: Famed Australian TV personality Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin died from a stingray barb at the Great Barrier Reef in 2006.
The numbers currently put one Ian Welch on the world record books. (Pictures of Welch posing with his female companion can be found here.) The stingray's resistance nearly dunked Welch into the river, and he was literally saved by the seat of his pants when a crewmate grabbed his trousers.
Another reason that this marine fish is so huge: She's pregnant. (Cue soap-opera gasp.) After she had been towed to the bank (too big to be onboard the boat), she was duly marked, had DNA samples removed, and returned to the river whence she unwillingly came. Welch gave her a farewell smooch, then spent the rest of the day with a cold beer and memories of her.
By the way, one number isn't known: the exact stingray population count, which has shrunk 20 percent in the past decade. With this lady's help, at least one more will be added to this number...and with a tale to tell.