The local police on Friday arrested three men for killing a rare Gangetic dolphin with sticks and axes in a canal in Uttar Pradesh's Pratapgarh.
In a tweet, the Pratapgarh police said that the incident took place on December 31 at the Sharda Sahayak canal in Pratapgarh.
Killing a rare species is a crime
The three men, who were seen hacking the rare animal in the video in the waters till it bled to death, were booked by the police on the last day of the 2020 calendar year itself.
The three men in the video can be seen beating the dolphin with axes until the Ganga waters turned red with its blood.
According to media reports, the locals had mistaken the mammal for a 'deadly fish'.
"In the morning of the New Year, local people saw the dolphin moving in the water. Some said it was a 'deadly and poisonous fish' while others said it could kill people who went near it. A huge crowd collected at the spot and people decided that it would be dangerous to let it go. The crowds started beating the din and some even hit with an axe," the source informed IANS news agency.
The matter was however brushed under the mattress until a video of the incident went viral this week.
Oldest creature on Earth
An official from the Forest Department, who responded to a complaint about the dolphin being beaten, stated that the mammal was found lying dead next to the canal, according to NDTV.
According to the FIR, a closer inspection of the dolphin's body revealed that the animal had suffered multiple injuries.
According to wildlife facts, dolphins are one of the oldest creatures in the world along with some species such as turtles, crocodiles and sharks. Gangetic river dolphins once lived in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. But the species is extinct from most of its early distribution ranges.
They can only be found in the freshwaters of the river system and are essentially blind. They are usually hunted by emitting ultrasonic sounds, which bounces off of fish and other prey, enabling them to see an image in their mind.