Chinese netizens have expressed outrage at photos which emerged on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo, showing tourists posing with and manhandling a stranded and dying dolphin at a beach in the southern city of Sanya in Hainan Province.
The incident reportedly happened on June 16. Xinhua news agency reports the tourists found the dolphin at about 6 pm on Sunday near the shore in Dadonghai, a top resort in Sanya City. According to the CNN, Chinese Hinews service said the dolphin died around midnight at a local marine park due to excessive bleeding from its tail.
The CNN reports that a witness confirmed the dolphin was still alive when the tourists found it and pulled it out of the water for photographs. But instead of helping it, a crowd gathered taking turns to snap photos with the animal as it bled to death.
The incident shocked Chinese netizens who condemned the behaviour of the tourists, describing them as “having no shame,” “uncivilized” and “disregarding life.” Other netizens described them as “ignorant.” According to the CNN, a commenter, @Justin_joe, called them “a group of animals,” while another, @Jiangxiangsiyi, lamented that “China is now filled with people lacking moral values and civility.”
However, others felt that netizens over-reacted. A blogger, @Woaijialin, wrote: “I think people have focused on the wrong thing. They don’t care when people die, but care only about dolphins.”
The tourists involved in the incident have not been identified. However, it is unlikely they will be prosecuted because while there are laws protecting endangered species, there are no laws protecting non-endangered species in China.