Wildlife experts hit out after swimmers lift a stranded dolphin out of the sea for 30 minutes to pose for cruel photo
- The holidaymakers were on the Sanya coast in Hainan province
- Manhandled the helpless mammal around the shallow water
- Swimmers warned they could now face animal cruelty charges
- One of the biggest dangers for stranded dolphins is overheating in the sun
By Jill Reilly
PUBLISHED: 06:48 EST, 17 June 2013 | UPDATED: 06:59 EST, 17 June 2013
Swimmers have been rapped in southern China after they used a stranded dolphin for souvenir snaps instead of calling for help.
The holidaymakers - on the Sanya coast in Hainan province - manhandled the helpless mammal around the shallow water for nearly 30 minutes.
And at one point, they lifted it out of the sea so they could get a better shot.
Reprimanded: Swimmers have been rapped in southern China after they used a stranded dolphin for souvenir snaps instead of calling for help
Cruel: The men passed the distressed animal around as horrified onlookers watched
Unfair: The holidaymakers - on the Sanya coast in Hainan province - manhandled the helpless mammal around the shallow water for nearly 30 minutes
'It was a disgusting spectacle. Luckily there were other people on the beach who'd called the coastguard," said one witness.
Officials and wildlife experts reprimanded the swimmers, who were warned they could now face animal cruelty charges.
'This is a wild animal, not a toy or a pet.They could have killed the dolphin with their thoughtlessness, said one witness.
'We guided the dolphin out of the shallows and back into open sea where it swam off,' said a coastguard service spokesman.
Dolphins can stay out of the water for hours, but only if they are kept wet and cool.
One of the biggest dangers for stranded dolphins is overheating in the sun - they don't have sweat glands and have to keep their bodies in cool water to lose excess heat.
Sick souvenir: And at one point, they lifted it out of the sea so they could get a better shot
Horrifying: 'This is a wild animal, not a toy or a pet. They could have killed the dolphin with their thoughtlessness,' said one witness
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