Reports have emerged that the mother of a rare albino dolphin calf has committed suicide after being torn apart from her baby in the latest slaughter off the coast of Taiji, Japan.
Sea Shepherd volunteers witnessed her diving under water then failing to resurface with the rest of the pod.
"There is widespread speculation that the mother of the albino calf committed suicide after her baby was violently taken from her," the eco-warriors said.
"Our volunteer Cove Guardians documented and witnessed the grieving mother repeatedly spy-hopping, looking for her calf, before lowering herself into the water, never to resurface."
More than 250 bottlenose dolphins, who were herded into the now infamous “killing cove”, were slaughtered one by one by Japanese fishermen.
The group said it was the largest pod to be driven into the cove in several years, and pictures uploaded to Facebook show the distressed creatures swimming in circles in shallow waters.
Dolphins committing suicide in captivity has been well documented, with some slamming their heads against the sides of pools or not coming up for air.
With tragic irony, the Taiji Whale Museum issued a statement from Assistant Director Tetsuo Kirihata: “Albinos stand
out and tend to be targeted by predators.
"She must have been protected by her mother and her mates. We will take good care of her.”