WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW
A $38,000 reward has been posted after a Florida dolphin was speared to death as he may have been begging for food, officials said.
The spearing resulted in a deep wound above the dolphin’s right eye. Authorities hope the reward money will spur tips that lead to the arrest of the person responsible.
“It takes a truly callous person to stab a gentle dolphin in the head,” said Kate MacFall, Florida state director for the Humane Society of the United States, according to the Fort Myers News-Press on Thursday. “Dolphins are among the most beloved of marine animals and there is absolutely no excuse for this wanton cruelty.”
HUNDREDS OF DOLPHINS STRANDED, WASH UP DEAD ALONG US GULF COAST, OFFICIALS SAY
The bottlenose dolphin washed up on shore on Upper Captiva Island in May.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the dolphin was known to area biologists when he was alive.
“He was last observed swimming around fishing boats and was seen with ‘begging dolphins,’” NOAA said Thursday in a news release. “The puncture wound indicates this dolphin might have been in a begging posture when he was stabbed.”
DOLPHINS FORM FRIENDSHIPS THROUGH SHARED INTERESTS JUST LIKE HUMANS, SCIENTISTS FIND
A necropsy showed the weapon used was a “spear-like object,” according to NOAA, which posted the reward money along with its agency partners.
Dolphins are protected under the federal Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
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Violations are punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to one year in jail.
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