Chinese police forces are seeking a man who saw a dying dolphin stranded on a beach, and then picked it up and simply walked off with it.
A video has emerged that shows a man wearing only his swimming shorts walking off the beach, followed by his wife, with the large sea creature over his shoulder.
The footage was taken in the popular tourist resort of Hailing Island during the Chinese three day long holiday around 1 May – which is International Worker’s Day.
A local marine patrol volunteer on the beach, which is in Guangdong Province, said that there were several witnesses who said they saw the man walk over, pick up the ailing dolphin, and carry it off into the distance.
The tourist was also spotted smiling as he carried off the stranded sea mammal.
A local official said: “We received reports saying there was a dolphin stranded on the beach and it looked like it was about to die.
“The man, thought to be a tourist on the island, was then seen to have carried the dolphin away to his car … he will be punished when he is identified.
“Dolphins are protected animals (in China). Whether it was dead or alive, he should have called the authorities for help.”
It is thought that the man thought that the dolphin was going to die anyway and took if away without realising that it is illegal to do so.
Whether or not he planned to then eat the dolphin is not known, but you’d have to suspect that there wouldn’t be many other reasons for him to take the animal from the beach.
The marine patrol volunteer added: “Dolphins are a state-protected species. Even if it had died, he’s still not allowed to take it himself.
“Specimens are always supposed to be handed over to wildlife authorities.”
Witnesses said that once he had made his way off the beach with the animal over his right shoulder he got in his car and drove off.
At the time of writing, officials and the local police force are aware of the incident and are searching for the man.
Once they find him he will likely be fined for the theft of state property.
Comments posted on Chinese social media sites show that people have been outraged by the man’s actions.
One user said: “Is he going to boil the dolphin? This is simply disgusting.”
Another said: “These people are like savages. They should be punished and made to pay hundreds of thousands of yuan.”