A dolphin that washed ashore at an Auckland beach later had its head cut off in an act the Department of Conservation has labelled “completely unacceptable”, Stuff reports. “Dolphins are a taonga [treasure] species and it is our duty to respect them in life and in death,” DOC principal compliance officer Dylan Swain said. It is illegal to separate any part of a marine animal’s carcass under the Marine Mammals Protection Act. Those caught doing so could face up to two years in prison or a maximum fine of $250,000. ​