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Dolphin Riddled With Bullets Washes Ashore

Dolphin underwater
Dolphin underwater | Image by Gerard Soury/Getty Images

Enforcement officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are looking for the person or person responsible for killing a juvenile bottlenose dolphin.

The dolphin was found dead on West Mae’s Beach in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, riddled with bullet wounds, on March 13.

NOAA confirmed the discovery last week, revealing that the young dolphin had suffered fatal injuries inflicted by a human. Bullets were found lodged in the dolphin’s brain, spinal cord, and heart, leading to its death.

The Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline was initially alerted when a passerby discovered the marine animal stranded on the beach. NOAA Fisheries responded and swiftly launched an investigation of the incident.

Collaborating with the Audubon Aquarium Rescue, NOAA facilitated the transportation of the dolphin’s body to the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans for a necropsy.

According to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, it is against the law to harass, harm, kill, or feed wild dolphins. Any violations of this act may result in civil or criminal prosecution, with penalties of fines up to $100,000 and potential imprisonment for up to 1 year per violation.

Authorities are calling on the public to come forward with any information about the incident. NOAA announced that a reward of $20,000 is being offered for information that leads to the identification and apprehension of the individual(s) responsible.

Tipsters can contact the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 800-853-1964. Tips can be provided anonymously, but in order to be considered for the reward, callers must provide their name and contact information.

Persons encountering a stranded or injured marine animal are urged to contact the Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline at 877-WHALE-HELP (877-942-5243).

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