Animals are paying a price for tasting freedom during the COVID-19 lockdown. Just last month, videos went viral in India, showing South Asian River Dolphins (also known as Ganges Dolphins) finally returning to the valleys of West Bengal. But, another video went viral this week, showing an infant dolphin being tortured, after it was caught by a group of men.
According to a report on indiatimes.com: "Last month, Biswajit Roy Chowdhury, a senior environmental activist stated he spotted a couple of dolphins at Babughat in Kolkata. Unfortunately, the appearance of this rare animal has already led to cases of poaching and cruelty. Recently, a young gangetic dolphin was tortured to death by a group of young men in Kolkata."
Apparently, the incident came to light after a person named Rafiku Saihk uploaded a video that showed a group of men holding the dolphin by its snout and tailing and torturing it.
The report soon went viral, sparking fury especially among animal activists and lovers.
Twitter users, shared the video and asked authorities including animal rights organisations to take immediate action, to punish the perpetrators of this crime.
Tweep @Akri200 posted: "It seems lockdown hasn’t been able to root out the ‘viruses’ responsible for the disappearance of the dolphins from river in first place. Young #gangetic #Dolphin was literally tortured to death by bunch of young men."
Reportedly, the exact location of the incident is not confirmed yet.
A later video showed the dolphin being released in the river in a bloodied state.
According to the Times of India, environmentalist, Biswajit Roychowdhury's organization has complained about it to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and the matter is under investigation. He added that the dolphin in the video is an infant, probably a few weeks old.
“We are assuming that the place is in between Kolkata and Burdwan and hoping that the culprits will be brought to book soon,” Biswajit said, according to the report.
"The mammals have very sensitive skin and the way it has been handled, as shown in the videos, it is likely to be dead despite being released in water,” he added.
The global population of Gangetic dolphins is barely between 1,200 to 1,800.
Indiatimes.com reported that, "In 2017, a team experts from the Worldwide Fund for Nature-India mapped the abundance of and threats to Gangetic dolphins in the Hooghly. One of the most 'striking features' of the study was that the endangered mammals were sighted in highly polluted pockets of the river. The study found that apart from pollution, one of the biggest threats to the existence of dolphins in the Hoogly river was human activity and transport."
The Ganges river dolphin is typically found in the river systems of Nepal, Bangladesh and India. It can weigh up to 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and grow to up to 2.6 metres (eight feet) long. They are known for their long beaks which have 28 sharp teeth on both sides of their jaws.
The lockdown, reduced human activity on the Hoogly river and decrease in pollution saw the endangered dolphins finally returning to the valley after 30 years.
Environmentalists have said that the days after lockdown might pose a serious threat to their existence. Environmentalist Joydeep Kundu warns that in a few months after the lockdown is lifted, human-wildlife conflict is bound to increase and lack of awareness can become a huge issue.