The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is asking the public for help finding the person or persons who impaled a dolphin that was found dead on a beach in Fort Myers, Florida. The victim, an adult, lactating female was impaled with a spear-like object just above its right eye, which led to its death last month.
From NOAA’s press release, “Based on the shape, size and characteristics of the wound, it is suspected that the dolphin was impaled while in a begging position. Begging is not a natural behavior for dolphins and is frequently associated with illegal feeding. People can help prevent future harm to wild dolphins by not feeding or attempting to feed them. Dolphins fed by people learn to associate people, boats, and fishing gear with food, which puts dolphins and people in harmful situations.”
In addition to NOAA’s request for information, Dolphin Project is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to a civil penalty or criminal conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of this dolphin in Florida.
Dolphin Project first reported on this in 2012, when we learned about dolphins being killed along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Since 2002, at least 27 dolphins have been shot with guns or arrows, or impaled by sharp objects. Harming or killing wild dolphins can be punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and up to a year in jail.
To report information about this dolphin’s killing, please call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at (800) 853-1964. Tips may be left anonymously.
Sources used in this blog
Featured image: Impaled dolphin found dead on Fort Myers, Florida beach. Credit: NOAA