Witnesses in Ningde City in China’s eastern Fujian Province used a cellphone to video a local villager capture a rare white dolphin, tie it to his boat and later gut it – uploading the disturbing viral video to social media.
According to the Daily Mail, the video has garnered more than 20 million views. The dolphins, (Sousa chinensis) affectionately known as “mermaids” and “the pandas of the sea” are endangered species. It is believed to have been captured in the East China Sea and not identified by fishermen as the rare breed. It is not known if the animal was caught by accident or intentionally, but instead of notifying officials, the villager tied the dying animal to his boat and brought it back to shore where he gutted it.
The villager claimed the animal was dead when he found it and brought it on shore. The man was arrested by the Fujian Ocean and Fisheries Bureau for failing to alert authorities. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the dolphin as “near threatened,” and it remains on the “Red List.” Chinese white dolphins are protected in China; the same status given to giant pandas, Siberian tigers and snow leopards.
An investigation continues.
(Photos of the rare animal via YouTube screenshots)
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