A reward of up to $20,000 for information has been offered leading to the people responsible for harassing a dolphin that died on a Texas beach. The female bottlenose dolphin was found alive and stranded on Quintana Beach on April 10.
According to NOAA Fisheries, beachgoers had pushed the dolphin back out to sea and tried to swim with her and ride her. Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network stated the dolphin was “further harassed by a crowd of people” before dying on the beach.
We would also like to reiterate that while there were individuals harassing the dolphin, there were also well-meaning beachgoers present that attempted to stop the behavior, showing great care and concern for the dolphin. The harassment is inexcusable in every sense of the word, but we also hope the national attention this incident is receiving serves as a critical reminder that you should NEVER PUSH BACK a stranded marine mammal, no matter how well-meaning – they strand due to illness or injury and need to receive attention from trained professionals as quickly as possible. Please help us spread this message and if you find a stranded dolphin or whale, immediately call your local marine mammal stranding network responders. In Texas, call 1-800-9MAMMAL (1-800-962-6625).TMMSN
Sadly, help arrived too late, however footage from the incident may help authorities identify the people involved. Eyewitnesses reported crowds of people around the stressed animal and even placing their children on top of it to pretend they were riding it.
Often when stranded, dolphins usually are injured and could be having difficulty breathing. It is not advisable to push them back into the sea. Instead authorities should be contacted. In Texas, call 1-800-9MAMMAL (1-800-962-6625)
The autopsy of the dolphin showed she died from drowning.
Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, harassing, harming, killing or feeding wild dolphins is against the law and punishable by up to $100,000 fine and up to one year in jail per violation.
Photo Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network
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