Rare white dolphin gutted in video
The mobile phone footage shows the rare white dolphin tied to the side of a boat YouTube

A villager in China has been arrested after he was seen tying a rare white dolphin to his boat and later gutting it in a sickening viral video.

The mobile phone footage, taken by witnesses in Ningde City in China' s eastern Fujian Province, has been viewed over 20 million times.

It shows the animal tied to the side of the fishing boat. The villager is later filmed cutting open the carcass on the beach.

After seeing the video the animal rights coalition the China Cetacean Alliance confronted the villager who claimed he 'found the animal dead' and brought it to shore.

He was arrested by the Fujian Ocean and Fisheries Bureau for his failure to call the authorities and alert them to the stranded dolphin, which is an endangered species.

Dubbed 'the pandas of the sea' Chinese white dolphins are a Class I state-protected species in China with the same status given to giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), Siberian tigers (Panthera tigris altaica), snow leopards (Panthera uncia) and others, Mail Online reports.

The International Union For Conservation of Nature lists the dolphin as 'near threatened' on its comprehensive 'Red List'.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

WARNING: Graphic video footage