- According to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, a sick dolphin died after being harassed by swimmers.
- The non-profit organization said the dolphin was beached and then stressed by swimmers who tried to mount it.
- The organization added that the dolphin was dead before rescuers arrived on the scene.
A sick dolphin washed up on a Texas beach has died after swimmers harassed him and tried to ride him.
That was according to an account by a nonprofit group, Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which posted a Facebook post about the incident on Wednesday.
According to the group, the female dolphin was found stranded on Quintana beach on Sunday evening but was still alive. However, the organization said swimmers pushed the dolphin back out to sea, where some swimmers tried to swim with it and mount it.
“She eventually washed ashore and was harassed by a crowd of people on the beach where she later died before rescuers could arrive on the scene,” reads the group’s Facebook post. “This type of harassment causes undue stress to wild dolphins, is dangerous to people who interact with them and is illegal – subject to fines and jail time if convicted.”
The network implored swimmers not to push back any dolphins or whales alive at sea and immediately called its hotline for advice on how to rescue the animal and keep it stable.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s marine life in distress guidelines, people who harass dolphins could be fined up to $11,000 and jailed for up to a year. .
“It is illegal to feed or harass wild marine mammals, including dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals, sea lions and manatees,” read the NOAA guidelines. “For the health and welfare of these animals and for your safety, please do not feed, swim with or harass these marine animals. We encourage you to observe them from a distance of at least 50 meters (150 feet). ”
NOAA also noted in July 2021 that it was growing increasingly concerned about what it said was a growing public interest in dolphins swimming off North Padre Island, Texas. In an article published that month, NOAA’s law enforcement office said its staff, in conjunction with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, would step up patrols and investigate people who interact. illegally with dolphins by harassing, feeding or disturbing them.
This was after an incident when people tried to jump, swim with and pet a lone dolphin that inhabited the channels near North Padre Island.