Who shot a pregnant dolphin? The reward for information has just been increased to $11,500

Harming wild dolphins is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and violators can be subject to fines of $100,000 and one year in prison


                            Who shot a pregnant dolphin? The reward for information has just been increased to $11,500

A reward of up to $11,500 is being offered for information leading to the capture of the person who shot and killed a pregnant dolphin on the US Gulf Coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

The dolphin was found dead on a beach in Waveland, Mississippi, on April 30. A beachgoer saw the dolphin between Buccaneer State Park and Clermont Harbor.

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) then and placed the animal in their freezer until a thorough necropsy could be conducted. It was during necropsy that the gunshot wound was discovered. A small caliber bullet was found lodged in the dolphin's lung and proved to be the cause of death, NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement said.

The dolphin was found dead on a beach in Waveland, Mississippi, on April 30 (NOAA)
The dolphin was found dead on a beach in Waveland, Mississippi, on April 30 (NOAA)

It said The Humane Society and other groups had put together the reward seeking information leading to the dolphin's killer. According to NOAA, violence against dolphins has increased in the Gulf of Mexico in recent years.

Since 2002, at least 24 dolphins have turned up on beaches after having been shot by guns or arrows, or impaled with objects, NOAA said. This reflects an increase in violent incidents toward dolphins in the Northern Gulf region that may be hastening, as 68 percent of those events have occurred in the past eight years, according to NOAA.

Marine mammal workers in Gulfport pulled this dead, pregnant bottlenose dolphin ashore April 20 after someone found it on the beach in Waveland. The rope on its tail was used to pull it ashore (Institute for Marine Mammal Studies)
Marine mammal workers in Gulfport pulled this dead, pregnant bottlenose dolphin ashore April 20 after someone found it on the beach in Waveland. The rope on its tail was used to pull it ashore (Institute for Marine Mammal Studies)

To help prevent further such acts, NOAA said people who encounter dolphins should never try to feed them, as this can condition the animals to “approach people, boats, and fishing gear looking for food,” putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations.

Harming wild dolphins is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and violators can be subject to fines of $100,000 and one year in prison.

Anyone who may have details about this incident, please call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or the Slidell, LA, Enforcement Field Office at 985-643-6232. Tips may be left anonymously.

With inputs from AFP