As per Fox13, biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found a dead dolphin off the coast of Naples on January 30. The animal had been struck by a bullet or sharp object, according to NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement.
Then, that same week, experts with Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge found another dolphin with a bullet in its left side on Pensacola Beach.
Tracy Dunn, assistant director of NOAA’s South East Division Office of Law Enforcement said:
“These cases are right up there with some of the worst we have seen.”
Dunn continued: “We can’t solve these without somebody coming forward and helping us out.”
NOAA also said that back in May 19, a dolphin was found with a fatal puncture wound to its head off Captiva Island. The case is still ongoing.
In a statement, NOAA said:
“Biologists believe these cases may stem from humans feeding wild dolphins. Dolphins fed by people learn to associate people and boats with food, which can put them in harmful situations from boat strikes, entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear, and acts of intentional harm like these.”
Wild dolphins are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and so harassing, hunting, killing or feeding them (or attempting to) is punishable by fines of up to $100,000 and as long as one year in jail.
What sick person hurts an innocent dolphin? We need to help the authorities get all the information they need.
Share this article if you hope the police can catch the person/persons responsible.