A video shows a tourist carrying a dying dolphin over his shoulder. The man has reportedly placed the animal in his car and drove away.
The incident took place at Hailing Island, a famous tourist destination in China's Guangdong province. According to local reports, the video was recorded during labor holiday on May 1.
China's Public Security Department highlighted dolphins are protected animals in China.
Tourist To Be Punished
The man in the video is seen walking nonchalantly while he had the dolphin over his shoulder. He was being followed by a woman. It was not immediately cleared if they were together.
The authorities received reports from concerned beachgoers about a stranded dolphin on the beach. The said dolphin was apparently already fighting for his life while it lay on the beach sand.
Witnesses told a local fishery authority official that the man in question carried the struggling dolphin to his car and went away.
The authorities assured that punishment will be implemented against the man as soon as he is identified. They added that whether the dolphin was dead or alive, the appropriate thing for the man to do was to call the authorities for help.
Backlash Over Chinese Social Media
Chinese social media users were not pleased about the tourist's behavior. The video has since been widely shared by enraged Chinese netizens. One commenter assumes that the tourists brought the dolphin home to eat it, adding that the act was "simply disgusting."
Another likened the tourist to "savages" and hoped that the man is punished and be asked to pay thousands of yuan.
While the kind of the dolphin in the video could not be immediately determined, a majority of dolphin species are already at the brink of extinction under the Endangered Species Act.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora had already listed the Chinese River dolphin and the Indus River Dolphin as endangered.
Also protected under CITES are the snubfin dolphin, the Amazon River dolphin, the Indo-pacific humpbacked dolphin, and the Atlantic humpbacked dolphins. These species are prohibited from being commercially traded.
All other dolphin species are allowed to be traded for commercial purposes given that such activities will not threaten the species survival.
All dolphin species, meanwhile, are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Dolphins generally endure numerous threats caused by human activities, including climate change. The animals can be trapped in commercial fishing gears. Infrastructure such as dams and waterfront recreational areas also destroy their natural habitat.