The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is asking the public for help in finding the person who impaled a dolphin that was found dead on a Florida beach last month.
The bottlenose dolphin was impaled with a spear-like object just above its right eye, which led to its death.
It was an adult, lactating female, NOAA said in a press release this week.
The dolphin was found on Fort Myers Beach.
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“Based on the shape, size and characteristics of the wound, it is suspected that the dolphin was impaled while in a begging position. Begging is not a natural behavior for dolphins and is frequently associated with illegal feeding.” NOAA said. “Dolphins fed by people learn to associate people, boats, and fishing gear with food, which puts dolphins and people in harmful situations.”
The agency said since 2002, at least 27 dolphins have been shot with guns or arrows or impaled by sharp objects.
Harming or killing wild dolphins can be punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and up to a year in jail.