Featured Image Credit: Ocean Park Conservation Foundation
By Sarah Sharkey
Pictures showing a shocking scene have recently come to light: Chinese fishermen butchering a baby dolphin and selling it on the street. This is absolutely horrifying.
The pictures in this article are graphic, this is a fair warning.
The animal was identified as a Chinese White Dolphin calf. This species is endangered and is protected in China under first class protection as ‘the panda of the sea.” This species is listed also as Near Threatened by the ICUN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, which means that these dolphins face the threat of extinction in the near future but currently do not qualify for a threatened status. So harming any of these dolphins is that much more terrible.
Local authorizes questioned three suspects who claimed that they found the animal dead at sea. The event happened in Zhuhai, southern China’s Guangdong Province. The pictures surfaced through Zhuhai City Community’s Weibo account. (Weibo is China’s Twitter equivalent). The post urged eyewitnesses to contact the Zhuhai Fishery Administration. The overseeing Bureau released an official statement that informed the public of the identification of the three suspects.
One of the suspects, Zhong, said that while fishing on March 29 he saw a “big fish” that was already dead. He brought the fish back to the village and gutted it with two others. Then after throwing away the rotten parts, they tried to sell the other parts. The Zhuhai Fishery Administration Bureau confiscated the remaining parts for examination. The initial investigation showed the animal was indeed a dolphin, but more tests are being run to determine if it was a Chinese White Dolphin. After the results are in, the next steps will be taken. It is illegal to sell, purchase or hunt endangered animals protected by China’s Wild Animal Protection Law.