Two dolphins found dead in Florida were stabbed or shot


News Channel 8 reports that NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is offering a reward for help in identifying the person or persons responsible for the recent deaths of two dolphins.

Wildlife officials say the corpse of a dolphin washed up on a beach in Naples last week. The animal looked to have been fatally wounded by a bullet or a sharp object.

Another dolphin was found dead off Pensacola Beach with a fatal puncture wound to its head according to officials.

Biologists believe the cases stem from humans feeding wild dolphins. Dolphins learn to associate people with boats and food, which could put them in dangerous situations.

Dolphins are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. A fine of up to $100,000 may be issued to persons who harass, hunt, kill or feed wild dolphins. They could also face up to one year in jail per violation. A Kansas man was recently fined $1,250 for feeding a dolphin while on vacation in Florida.

Wildlife officials are offering a reward of $20,000 for information that leads to a civil penalty or conviction.