Beijing (CNN) -- A dolphin who died in the southern Chinese city of Sanya Monday has sparked nationwide anger after pictures surfaced of tourists near the shore mistreating and posing with the dying animal were spread on Weibo, China's most popular social network site.
The dolphin died off the shore in Dadonghai, a resort in Hainan Province, due to injuries to its tail, likely from a collision with a fishing boat, according to state news agency Xinhua.
The injured dolphin was found on a beach Sunday. A witness surnamed He said the animal was still alive when tourists start to take pictures with it, according to local portal news hinews.cn.
Photos on China's microblogs showed that tourists -- instead of helping the dolphin -- were lifting and mistreating it before rescuers arrived. One of the pictures showed a man flexing his muscles in front of a group of swimmers holding up the dolphin soon went viral on the social network sites.
Irritated netizens criticized harshly for the tourists' cruelty. A writer posting by the name @Justin_joe called the tourists "a group of animals."
"China is now filled with people lacking moral values, ignorance, and decreasing civility of the citizens," added @Jiangxiangsiyi.
While many showed their anger, others say Chinese netizens have overreacted to the incident.
"I think people have focused on the wrong thing. They don't care when people die, but to care about dolphin," wrote @Woaijialin.