Investigation launched after bottlenose dolphin 'IMPALED WHILE BEGGING' on Florida beach
Wildlife officials have launched an investigation into the fatal stabbing of a bottlenose dolphin after the lifeless creature that had been impaled with a spear, washed up on a Florida beach. Officials say beachgoers discovered the carcass of the female dolphin with a gruesome cut over its right eye along the shoreline in Fort Meyers, Florida last month.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which conducted a necropsy on the mammal determined that it had been impaled with a spear-like object. The agency said the dolphin was probably illegally fed in a semi-upright position before being stabbed. "Based on the shape, size, and characteristics of the wound, it is suspected that the dolphin was impaled while in a begging position," the NOAA said. "Begging is not a natural behavior for dolphins and is frequently associated with illegal feeding."
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Officials captured a disturbing image of the lifeless creature, which revealed a massive incision on the right side of its cranium. The NOAA said the mammal appeared to have died from trauma, which happened at or around its time of death.
According to NOAA, "harassing, harming, killing or feeding wild dolphins" is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Anyone violating the law faces up to $100,000 in fines as well as a one-year jail sentence.
NOAA's Laura Engelby told FOX 4, that violent attacks on dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico continue to be a source of concern. Laura said at least 27 cases of intentional harm done to the mammals have been reported since 2002. "Whether it be a dolphin being impaled, or shot...We've had all kinds of things that people have used to harm dolphins out of frustration," she said.
Earlier this month, a dolpin stranded on a Texas beach died, after a group of people "harassed" the animal and tried to ride it, the rescue officials said. According to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the female dolphin washed up on Quintana Beach, died after people tried to push it back into the water and attempted to "swim with and ride the sick animal."