Police have arrested a suspect in relation to a case where a whale shark was reportedly slaughtered after being transported on a lorry in China's south-east Fujian province.
The incident occurred in Fujian's Ningde city on Monday (Sept 4), Chinese media reported.
A video of the large whale shark being carted around on the back of a lorry was posted on China's social media platform Sina Weibo by a user called BlueGood, Sina.com reported on Friday (Sept 8).
Footage of men slaughtering the dead creature in a building was uploaded to Chinese websites.
The Fujian Provincial Department of Ocean and Fisheries said on its official Weibo account that authorities had launched an investigation upon receiving the news.
A suspect was arrested on Wednesday.
A government official told Sina.com that the incident occurred on Monday afternoon.
He said the whale shark had been imported and was meant for sale to a local hotel.
However, as the flesh had started to decompose, the hotel rejected the sale.
The official added that this information was part of preliminary investigations, and further checks were under way to determine the origin of the animal and what it was meant to be used for.
Whale sharks, an endangered species, are protected animals under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals.
China joined CITES in 1981. Whale sharks are listed in Appendix II of CITES. It is illegal to receive, transport or sell whale sharks in China.