November 19, 2012
Dolphin Bodies Found In Gulf Were Killed, Mutilated, Say Experts
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Authorities are on the hunt for one or more persons responsible for several deadly attacks on dolphins along the Gulf Coast in recent months. Experts have reported finding several of the dead mammals, some with gunshot wounds, cuts and mutilations.
"We responded to one dolphin from Alabama that had its tail cut off," Dr. Moby Solangi, of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS), told The Sun Herald. "We responded to a dolphin this morning from Ship Island that had its lower jaw cut off. In the last week we had a dolphin with a bullet hole in it."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a “heads up” initiative, putting officials on alert for an increase in human interaction with dolphins in the waters around Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Solangi noted the dolphin found with the bullet hole was from a 9 MM. “It went through the abdomen, into the kidneys and killed it.”
He said recovering the dolphins and having to perform a necropsy to determine their deaths is heartbreaking for his staff. "We think there's someone or some group on a rampage“¦ They not only kill them but also mutilate them."
He told the Sun Herald that the public can help by reporting any suspicious activity and any information they may know about the mutilations. Solangi also asked recreational and commercial fishermen to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity as well.
Solangi said he doesn´t know why anyone would want to kill these gentle creatures. “They already are under a lot of stress from the oil spill, the dead zone,” he said. However, in the past fishermen and charter boat captains have been convicted of harming dolphins they thought were taking bait or fish.
He warned that these people need to realize that “this is not only cruel, but it´s also illegal.” When the perpetrators are caught, they face up to a year in prison and fines up to $100,000.