People with information regarding these recent deaths are urged to call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964.
Trigger Warning: This story may contain graphic details of mammal deaths.
A heartbreaking incident unfolded along Florida’s Gulf Coast when two dead dolphins with gruesome injuries washed up on the shore in the recent weeks. In an attempt to find the culprit behind this heinous act, the federal authorities in the U.S. have offered a reward of up to $20,000, reports The Guardian. The body of one of these dolphins was discovered last week on a beach in Naples in south-west Florida, revealed the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The poor creature appeared to have been fatally wounded by a bullet and/or a sharp object, explained officials.
During the same week, another dolphin was found dead off Pensacola Beach in the Florida Panhandle. When the Emerald Coast wildlife refuge spotted the mammal, they noticed a puncture wound on the left side of its head. Explaining what could have caused their brutal deaths, experts said that it might have been a result of humans feeding them. Once dolphins learn to associate people and boats with food that's when the problem begins; they tend to expose themselves to dangerous situations. Experts believe that such deaths of dolphins are usually unintentional as they are likely to be caused by boat strikes and fishing gears. In an attempt to curb this, officials have urged people to refrain from feeding wild dolphins.
Since 2002, officials have found at least 29 cases that indicated that the dolphins had either been shot by guns or impaled with objects similar to fishing spears. Back in May 2019, a bottlenose dolphin was found dead off Captiva Island which is still being investigated by NOAA, according to Fox4. Following a necropsy, it was determined that helpless mammal had been impaled using a spear-like object while it was still alive. Biologists in the area happened to know this particular dolphin and revealed that it was last seen around fishing boats.
Just disgusting. Doubtful authorities will find out who did this, but if they do he deserves to the same to happen to him. Bottlenose dolphin found impaled in head along Captiva Island, $38,000 reward offered in case https://t.co/tsqoxZ82RW— Terri (@MyBeachChair) July 12, 2019
NOAA had said that the adult male was seen with other "begging dolphins" and might have been in the same position when it was brutally stabbed. Even then, officials had offered a reward of up to $38,000 to anyone who had information regarding the incident. The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 requires dolphins to be protected. In this particular case, authorities are offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information that would lead to a criminal conviction or a civil penalty of the ones responsible for the gruesome deaths. If anyone otherwise is found guilty of harassing, hunting, killing, or feeding wild dolphins, they might have to pay a fine up to $100,000.
People with information regarding these recent deaths are urged to call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964. You can also leave an anonymous tip.