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Environmental activists file complaint over death of dolphin

All Headlines 18:31 February 21, 2017

ULSAN, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- A coalition of environmental activist groups on Tuesday filed a complaint with the prosecution against three officials in the southeastern city of Ulsan over the death of a dolphin imported from Japan.

The complaint by the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement involved Ulsan Mayor Seo Dong-wook; Seo Jin-suk, head of Ulsan Nam Ward city management corporation; and Kim Suk-do, chief of the Whale and Ocean Experience Center.

One of the two female dolphins imported by the Nam Ward office died on Feb. 13, four days after the pair were transported to the whale center, an aquarium, from Taiji, a coastal town in Japan's Wakayama Prefecture.

The coalition accused the three of violating laws on the protection and management of animals and wildlife, alleging that the lack of safety measures in the transportation of the dolphins had given the marine animal much stress leading to her death.

Under the Animal Protection Law, vehicles transporting animals should be designed to keep them from suffering injuries, while the Wildlife Protection Law stipulates that measures should be taken to avoid safety problems in the transportation of domesticated animals.

Helped by a trainer, a dolphin imported from Japan swims at an aquarium in the southeastern city of Ulsan in this file photo dated on Feb. 9, 2017. (Yonhap)

The Nam Ward office, however, said it has mobilized a truck with an anti-sway function and four people -- a Japanese vet, a nurse and two dolphin trainers -- cared for them during the journey from Japan, calling the coalition's allegations "a guess."

The marine animal, which had a length of 262 centimeters and a weight of 184 kilograms, left Taiji at 7:00 a.m. on Feb. 8 and arrived at the destination in the South Korean city the next day, completing a 32-hour journey both by sea and land.

An autopsy on the animal, conducted by a university veterinary hospital on Feb. 14, revealed it had hemothorax, a condition where blood fills the chest cavity. The comprehensive results of the autopsy are expected to come out next week.


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