Images of a butchered Chinese white dolphin (which is endangered) have stunned internet users around the world.
WARNING: This article contains graphic content.
Three days ago, Chinese internet users were horrified when images of a slaughtered baby dolphin were shared on Weibo – one of the country’s popular social media platforms. The graphic images show the head of a Chinese white dolphin sitting in a container next to the rest of its blood-soaked body which had been cut up.
In addition to igniting an uproar, the disturbing images spurred a police investigation in Zhuhai. According to the Shanghaiist, police have collected the young dolphin’s body and issued a summons for three potential suspects (fishermen) connected to the incident.
Dismembering a Chinese white dolphin is not only barbaric, it is illegal in China as the sea mammal is an endangered species that is under first-class state protection. Located primarily in the Pearl River Delta, populations of the Chinese white dolphin have decreased substantially in recent years due to pollution and poaching.
The day after the dolphin was found, a notification was released stating that the three fishermen who were apprehended claim the dolphin had already died when it was caught at sea. Reportedly, they drawled the body back and cut off the rotten parts before attempting to sell the rest of the carcass, relays an English translation. The fishermen claim to have eaten the meat that wasn’t sold once they returned home. The investigation resumes.
The three graphic images of the ordeal follow:
Dolphins and humans are not as dissimilar as many might think, which is why this news is so horrifying. Research suggests that both humans and dolphins have a strong sense of self-awareness and that intelligence of the mammals may even rival humans’. Emory University psychologist Dr/ Lori Marino affirmed this in an interview with BBC when she stated:
“We went from seeing the dolphin/whale brain as being a giant amorphous blob that doesn’t carry a lot of intelligence and complexity to not only being an enormous brain but an enormous brain with an enormous amount of complexity, and a complexity that rivals our own.”
Incredibly, dolphins and humans also share a nearly identical genome sequence. When veterinarian David Busbee from Texas A&M University compared the genome of both species, he concluded that there were few to no differences.
“We started looking at these and it became very obvious to us that every human chromosome had a corollary chromosome in the dolphin. We’ve found that the dolphin genome and the human genome basically are the same. It’s just that there’s a few chromosomal rearrangements that have changed the way the genetic material is put together,” said Busbee.
A number of animal rights activists will agree that all creatures deserve respect and the right to thrive freely in the wild. Whether an endangered dolphin is killed in the ocean or a rhino is poached in South Africa for its horn, all events in which animals are harmed are tragic. What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!