Tourists who stumbled onto a gravely injured dolphin while swimming off the coast of Sanya City in the Chinese province of Hainan are being blasted on local social networks for manhandling the distressed animal and posing with it for pictures in lieu of alerting wildlife authorities.
The dolphin later died of "excessive bleeding" at a nearby marine park, according to Shanghai Daily.
Experts believe the dolphin may have collided with a fishing boat, as evidenced by the injury to its tail.
A group of men who found the stranded dolphin proceeded to lift it out of the water and take photos of themselves, which were later posted to the microblogging service Sina Weibo.
Users were outraged, saying the photos, exhibiting a basic disregard for life, shook their faith in China.
One user, who noted that dolphins were highly evolved mammals with "an IQ only a little lower than humans," contrasted that by saying the "people in the pictures are worse than pigs."
The tourists have yet to be identified in the press, but it will unlikely lead to any charges as China does not currently have any laws on the books that protect non-endangered species.
[screengrab via Apple Daily]