A sick dolphin stranded on a Texas beach died after beachgoers harassed and tried to ride it.
This was according to an account of a non-profit organization, Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which posted a Facebook post about the incident on Wednesday.
The female dolphin was found stranded on Quintana Beach Sunday night, according to the group, but was still alive. However, the organization said beachgoers pushed the dolphin back out to sea, where some beachgoers attempted to swim with her and ride her.
“She ended up stranded and was further harassed by a crowd of people on the beach, where she later died before rescuers could get to the scene,” the group’s Facebook post reads. “This kind of harassment creates undue stress on wild dolphins, is dangerous to the people who interact with them and is illegal – punishable by fines and jail time if convicted.”
The network begged beachgoers not to push live dolphins or whales back to sea and to immediately call the hotline to find out how to save the animal and keep it stable.
Under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s guidelines on marine life in distress, people who harass dolphins can be fined up to $11,000 and jailed for up to one year.
“It is illegal to feed or harass wild marine mammals, including dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals, sea lions and manatees,” read NOAA’s 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 recommend that you observe them from a distance of at least 50 meters (150 feet) .”
The NOAA also noted in July 2021 that it was growing concerned about what it believes was a growing public interest in dolphins swimming off North Padre Island, Texas. In an article that month, the NOAA’s Bureau of Law Enforcement said its staff, in conjunction with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, would step up patrols and investigate people illegally interacting with dolphins by harassing, feeding or feeding them. to disturb.
This was after an incident where people tried to jump on, swim with and pet a lone dolphin that lived in the channels off North Padre Island.
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