Investigations are underway after netizens reported the butchering of an aquatic animal alleged to be a baby Chinese white dolphin in Zhuhai, said the Guangdong Ocean and Fishery Administration last Friday (March 31).
The incident reportedly took place at around 6.30pm on Thursday, near Nanshui in Zhuhai's Jinwan District.
Photos posted on Chinese social media show a gray-coloured dolphin cut into pieces, with its head and body parts preserved in boxes filled with ice.
After receiving a tip-off, law enforcement officers immediately headed to the spot.
They recovered and sealed the remains of the aquatic animal, which will be checked and verified by technical authorities, it was added.
A preliminary investigation by the local fishing bureau said a fisherman surnamed Zhong found a big fish floating in the sea near Gaolan Port. He saw the fish was dead and dragged it to the wharf and let three other men butcher it.
The three suspects are currently cooperating with police investigations, the administration said.
The Chinese white dolphin, nicknamed "mermaid" and "giant panda of the sea", is mainly found in the western Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. In China, it often appears in the East China Sea, and is guarded under first-class state protection.