An injured white dolphin was put down just hours after caretakers said it had been showing progress.
The animal, named Hope, was euthanized Tuesday after his condition unexpectedly worsened, according to Apple Daily.
Hope sustained severe injuries in a boat propeller accident off Hong Kong’s Lantau island in January.
He was taken to Ocean Park where veterinarians tried to nurse him back to health.
On Monday, his caretakers said he had regained his appetite and had begun to gain weight.
Dr. Paolo Martelli, Ocean Park director for veterinary services, said Hope’s conditioned had worsened irreversibly.
“As veterinarians, we understand the importance of ending an animal’s suffering,” he said in a statement.
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) gave approval to the procedure which was handled “humanely”, the report said.
Hope was given an anesthetic drug at 9:22 a.m. Tuesday and died shortly after.
An autopsy is under way to determine the extent of Hope’s injuries and damage to his internal organs.
Martelli defended Ocean Park and AFCD against accusations they had been too slow to bring Hope out of the water.
He said a rescue team moved as soon as it was sure the dolphin could be successfully captured.
Only 62 white dolphins are left in Hong Kong waters, down from 158 in 2003, according to the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society.
Society chairman Samuel Hung warned that the planned third airport runway poses a grave risk to the endangered species and urged the government to suspend construction.
In 1997, the Chinese white dolphin was chosen by the former British colonial administration as its official mascot for Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese sovereignty.
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