Male dolphin found dead, impaled in the head near North Captiva Island
A male dolphin was found dead, impaled in the head with a spear-like instrument, along North Captiva Island.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement seeks information about the male bottlenose dolphin’s death. The animal was recovered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at the end of May, according to the NOAA press release.
A necropsy, or non-human autopsy, revealed the dolphin was impaled in the head with a spear-like object while alive, the press release states. There was a wound penetrating from above and in front of the right eye, extending almost 6 inches toward the top and back of the head.
The animal was an adult male previously known to area biologists. He was last observed swimming around fishing boats and was seen with “begging dolphins,” per the release. The puncture wound indicates this dolphin might have been in a begging posture when he was stabbed.
NOAA officials seek information from anyone who may have details of this incident. Please call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline as soon as possible at 1-800-853-1964. Tips may be left anonymously. There is a reward up to $38,000 for information leading to the successful identification; and/or successful prosecution for the person(s) responsible; and/or, an arrest, conviction or civil penalty assessment.
Violent incidents toward dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico continue. Since 2002, at least 26 dolphins (including this one), have stranded with evidence of being shot by guns or arrows, or impaled with objects.
People can help prevent future harm to wild dolphins by not feeding or attempting to feed them, the press release states. Not only is it illegal, dolphins fed by people learn to associate people, boats, and fishing gear with food, which puts dolphins and people in harmful situations.
Harassing, harming, killing or feeding wild dolphins is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Violations can be prosecuted either civilly or criminally and are punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to one year in jail per violation.
If you come across a dead or injured marine mammal please do not intervene, call trained responders at 1-877-WHALE HELP (877-942-5343)