Florida Officials Investigate Fatal Stabbing of Female Dolphin

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say the impaled mammal washed ashore on Fort Myers beach last month. No charges have been filed.

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Wildlife officials have launched an investigation into the fatal stabbing of a bottlenose dolphin.

According to WSVN, the female mammal was found washed ashore last month on Fort Myers Beach in Florida. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration conducted a necropsy shortly after, and found the dolphin had been impaled in with a spear-like object right above its right eye. Experts also determined the animal was still alive when it was stabbed.

“Based on the shape, size and characteristics of the wound, it is suspected that the dolphin was impaled while in a begging position,” the NOAA said in a statement. “Begging is not a natural behavior for dolphins and is frequently associated with illegal feeding. People can help prevent future harm to wild dolphins by not feeding or attempting to feed them.”

NOAA’s Laura Engelby told FOX 4 that violent attacks on dolphins occur more frequently than some people might think. She said that since 2002, they’ve reported at least 27 cases of intentional harm done to the animals.

“Whether it be a dolphin being impaled, or shot … We’ve had all kinds of things that people have used to harm dolphins out of frustration,” she said. 

Authorities have not filed any criminal charges in connection to the dolphin’s death, but are asking the public to provide any information on the incident. According to the NOAA, “harassing, harming, killing or feeding wild dolphins” can result in fines up to $100,000, as well as one-year jail sentence.

News of the stabbing comes about a week after a group of Texas beachgoers were seen harassing a sick, stranded dolphin on Quintana Beach. Officials say the animal died after the group of people tried to push it back into the water, and attempted to ride it. 

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