Indian police arrested three people in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Friday for beating an endangered dolphin to death with an axe.
In a video shared widely in the Indian press and on social media, a group of men are shown beating the Gangetic dolphin with sticks and rods before one of them drives an axe into its body.
“The incident happened on December 31 and we have arrested three people in connection with the assault,” local policeman Dinesh Prasad told AFP over the phone.
Prasad said the motive for killing the marine mammal, which is also known as the Ganges River dolphin, remained unclear. The lifeless dolphin was found next to a canal by officials from the local forest department, according to Indian media reports.
“An FIR (First information report) has been registered against unknown persons at Nawabganj police station under Sections 9 and 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 in this regard,” Meet Ashar from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India said in a Facebook post.
“Three persons have been arrested and sent to jail after they were denied bail by the local magistrate court. The search for other accused is on, they are absconding at the moment but the police is hopeful of nabbing them soon,” Ashar said.
In the video, one of the men in the group can be heard telling the attackers that they “killed the dolphin for no reason.”
The dolphin is only found in Nepal, Bangladesh and India. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are only between 1,200 and 1,800 of the endangered species left in the world.