Local police in Zhuhai, Guangdong province have issued summons to three suspects after pictures emerged online showing them killing what is believed to be a baby dolphin.
As of press time, the remains of the animal, which was recognized by some experts as the endangered white Chinese dolphin, have been collected for further examination, while local police have promised to carry out an investigation, CCTV reported.
According to pictures posted on Sina Weibo on March 30, a gray-colored dolphin was cut into pieces by two fishermen on the street, with its head and body parts preserved in three blood-covered boxes.
"Based on the pictures, I would say the dolphin is a white Chinese dolphin, as it possesses a uniquely long snout. It is still a baby, as Chinese white dolphins only turn white when they become adults," a zoologist told Thepaper.cn.
"We contacted the internet user who posted the picture online. A team was also sent for further investigation, but more time is needed to get the final results," an officer surnamed Chen from the local fishery administration told Thepaper.cn.
The pictures have upset many internet users, with some condemning the government's lax approach to animal protection. The white Chinese dolphin, which is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, has been reduced in numbers by both pollution and poaching.