BEIJING – Chinese authorities are investigating a case where a man reportedly picked up a dolphin at a beach and is filmed walking with it slung over his shoulder.
The incident reportedly occurred on May 1 at Guangdong province’s Yangjiang city, local reports say.
Guangdong’s Southern Metropolis Daily said in a report on Thursday (May 3) that the man is believed to be a tourist.
The head of Guangdong’s ocean and fisheries administration Zheng Changlian confirmed with the daily that such an incident had occurred and said the administration was working with local authorities to find the tourist.
In a statement on Weibo, the ocean and fisheries administration said it was notified at 3.40pm on May 1 that several members of the public had filed police reports over the incident.
After receiving the reports, the administration dispatched enforcement officers to the scene.
Upon arrival, an eyewitness told the enforcement officers that the dolphin appeared to have died.
It reportedly had wounds on its body and was washed up on the beach. Several villagers and tourists gathered to watch, and one tourist dragged what seemed to be the dolphin’s carcass away and took it away in a small car.
Nobody noticed the car plate, the eyewitness said.
An administration official told Dong News that the next step is for police to track down the man and fine him.
“Whether the dolphin was dead or not, it is a protected animal and it was not right for him to take it away,” said the official.
Zheng said the dolphin appeared to be a young false killer whale, a protected animal in China.
China is a signatory of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).
False killer whales or pseudorca crassidens, a type of oceanic dolphin, are listed in Appendix II of Cites. Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but trade of these species must be controlled to ensure their survival. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network