Someone is on a killing spree in the middle of a crucial dolphin birthing area off the U.S. Gulf Coast. Between Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, you’d think wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico were overdue for a break, but instead the chaos continues. A person or persons is murdering these highly-intelligent sea creatures in a shocking manner, and authorities need your help to bring them to justice.
“Since the summer, six dead dolphins have washed ashore with bullet wounds, severed fins and jaws, and stab wounds,” reports the New York Times. “The latest was a dolphin found off the coast of Mississippi with its lower jaw missing.”
Necropsies of all the slaughtered dolphins reveal not only that this person is intent on killing them, but also mutilating their carcasses. “It looks like somebody is deranged. It’s really senseless. It’s repugnant. It’s illegal. I don’t understand what sort of person would do such a cruel act,” Moby Solangi, lead biologist of The Institute of Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi told CNN during an aerial tour of the sites where many of the dolphin carcasses were found.
Fox reports that the first dolphin was found January 8 with a bullet wound on Deer Island, near Biloxi, Mississippi. In June, a bottlenose dolphin was found in Perdido Bay, Florida, near the Florida-Alabama state line, with a screwdriver stuck in its head. In September, one was found on Elmers Island, Louisiana, with a gunshot wound. On October 10, a dolphin was found on the beach in Dauphin Island, Alabama with its fluke cut off. More than 700 dolphins have been found dead of various causes in the gulf since February 2010. Many were attributed to the BP oil spill, but none showed signs of murder the way the recently found carcasses do.
“This is gruesome really,” Solangi said. “It’s not only killing them, it’s also mutilating them. And the parts that are taken are disposed of; not next to the animal, they are taken. And they are not worth anything.”
It’s not yet clear if the killings are the act of a single person or multiple people, but Federal officers are asking the public for help. If you live in the Gulf coast area, and have reason to believe that someone is involved in illegal actions toward dolphins, please report them to local authorities. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has also called on fishermen and beachgoers to report any dead or injured dolphins. Forensic experts at the agency are testing the slugs removed from the animals to see if they come from the same gun.
Under the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act, killing a dolphin is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and a year in jail.
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