Published: Thu, February 13, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

2 dolphins found dead in Florida were shot or stabbed, investigators say

2 dolphins found dead in Florida were shot or stabbed, investigators say

The photo below may be disturbing to some.

The reward is being offered by the law enforcement arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission made a grisly discovery last week in Naples, Florida, when a dead dolphin washed ashore with a massive wound to its face. The second dolphin was found "within the same week" by the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge with a "bullet in its left side" in waters along the Pensacola Beach.

NOAA is investigating all three cases and has promised a $20,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to a civil penalty or criminal conviction. The dolphin was found with a fatal bullet wound blast to its head.

At least 29 dolphins have been stranded in the Southeast since 2002, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, with four incidents just a year ago. At the time, NOAA biologists reported that a necropsy of the bottlenose dolphin revealed that it had died as a result of being "impaled in the head with a spear-like object while alive".

$20,000 reward offered for information after dolphins found stabbed, shot to death off Florida coast

Biologists believe the cases may stem from human feeding wild dolphins.

NOAA officials said they are seeking information from anyone who may have details about these incidents.

Anyone with information that can lead investigators to the people responsible is being asked to call NOAA's Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964. Tips may be left anonymously. Dolphins begin to associate humans and boats with food and then put themselves in risky situations to get it.

"You can prevent harm to wild dolphins by not feeding or attempting to feed them".

Any act of harassing, hunting, killing or feeding wild dolphins, or attempting any of these acts, is banned and punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to a year in jail under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states.

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