Sick Dolphin Dies After Being Harassed and Ridden on by Texas Beachgoers: Animal Experts

"This type of harassment causes undue stress to wild dolphins, is dangerous for the people who interact with them," the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network said in a statement

dolphin harassed
Photo: Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network

A sick dolphin's death serves as a reminder for beachgoers not to "interact" with the stranded mammal.

On Tuesday, the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network shared photos on Facebook of a dolphin stranded on Quintana Beach, on the Texas Gulf Coast. One picture shows several people surrounding the animal as one person bends down and puts their hand near her mouth. The dolphin lies on the shore of the beach while people stand around her in another photo.

"The dolphin in these photos stranded alive on Quintana Beach, TX on Sunday evening and was reportedly pushed back to the sea where beachgoers attempted to swim with and ride the sick animal," the TMMSN said in a statement alongside the photos, adding, "She ultimately stranded and was further harassed by a crowd of people on the beach where she later died before rescuers could arrive on scene."

The organization said, "This type of harassment causes undue stress to wild dolphins, is dangerous for the people who interact with them," telling beachgoers that it's also "illegal" and "punishable by fines and jail time if convicted."

dolphin harassed
Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network

"If a live dolphin or whale strands in Texas, please DO NOT PUSH the animal back to sea, do not attempt to swim or interact with them, do not crowd them, and immediately call 1-800-9MAMMAL (1-800-962-6625) for guidance on how to help support the animal until the TMMSN rescue response arrives!" it urged.

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It ended by saluting the person that reported the stranded dolphin, and thanking the Quintana Beach County Park for its prompt response.

The Quintana Beach County Park said of the incident on Facebook, "This was a tragedy. Park staff was called to assist in keeping the public away from the dolphin until rescuers could arrive from Galveston. Unfortunately, it was a retrieval, not a rescue. The animal was taken for necropsy to try and determine the cause of the stranding."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on its website that the Marine Mammal Protection Act bans "feeding, attempting to feed, and harassing marine mammals in the wild."

Violating the MMPA can result in an $11,000 fine and up to a year in prison, the NOAA added.

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