TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The owners of two Taiwanese boats are facing charges of violating the Wildlife Conservation Act after they were caught chasing dolphins off the east coast.
According to ETtoday, prosecutors over the weekend received complaints of high-speed boats chasing dolphins in waters off Yilan County's Turtle Island. Some individuals recorded the suspected cases of animal cruelty and shared their videos on social media, condemning the behavior.
In a video recorded Friday (Aug. 7) and shared by a dolphin-watching tour company, one boat can be seen charging toward a pod of the aquatic mammals, causing them to frantically jump out of the water. Despite the company's warning via megaphone, the boat continued to approach the dolphins aggressively.
On Saturday (Aug. 8), a different boat was caught on camera similarly harassing dolphins. Both incidents have enraged Taiwanese netizens, with many calling for a government investigation.
In response, the Coast Guard Administration said Sunday (Aug. 9) that it has questioned the owners of the two boats, who claimed they were only trying to get closer to observe the dolphins. Despite the boat owners' protests, their cases have reportedly been sent to prosecutors, and they face a maximum one-year prison sentence and NT$60,000 (US$2,041) to NT$300,000 in fines, reported CTWANT.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard urged the public to cherish Taiwan's rich maritime resources. Of the 90 known species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises in the world, more than 30 have been found off the country's coasts, it said.
High-speed boat chasing dolphins. (Coast Guard Administration photo)