After bloody images of a baby dolphin being butchered on the street in Zhuhai last month horrified the Chinese internet, officials have said that three men will face criminal charges for the slaughter.
The Administration of Ocean and Fisheries of Guangdong province later confirmed that the dolphin, which had been cut into pieces by fisherman with its head and body parts preserved in blood-soaked boxes on the road, was a Chinese white dolphin, an endangered species that is under first-class state protection in China. Native to the Pear River Delta region, the animal’s population is believed to number just 2,500.
The images stirred up widespread anger online and led to an investigation by local officials. The three suspects claimed that they had found the dolphin floating dead in the water while they were out fishing.
But even that were true, they could still face prosecution. Under Chinese law, it’s a crime to hunt, kill, eat, sell or buy parts of endangered animals. Though, thanks to loose enforcement and high profits, China’s black market trade in endangered animal products continues to thrive.
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