Authorities Offer $20,000 to Find Person Who Fatally Shot Dolphin

The authorities are offering a reward of up to $20,000 in exchange for information that can help them find the person who they believe fatally shot a juvenile dolphin at a beach in Louisiana, officials said on Tuesday.

Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a news release that a bottlenose dolphin found dead last month in Cameron Parish, La., had injuries “consistent with being shot with a firearm.” They added that a necropsy had “revealed multiple bullets lodged in the carcass, including in the brain, spinal cord, and heart of the dolphin.”

The agency noted that the dolphin “appeared to have died from the trauma, which occurred at or near the time of death.” Officials said they were investigating the death and offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information that led to a civil penalty or a criminal conviction in the case.

Officials said they received a report on March 13 of a dead bottlenose dolphin on West Mae’s Beach in Cameron Parish, in Louisiana’s southwestern corner.

Audubon Aquarium Rescue, which partners with NOAA to respond to dolphin strandings in the region, recovered the animal and transported it to the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans for a necropsy.

Dolphins are not listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but they are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which bans harassing, hunting, killing or feeding wild dolphins.

People who violate the rules can face up to $100,000 in fines and up to one year in jail.

Bottlenose dolphins get their name from their short, thick snout. Generally gray in color, they are found in temperate and tropical waters globally.

In the United States, bottlenose dolphins are found along both the West and East Coasts and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. They can also be seen in the Caribbean.

They are vulnerable to human-caused and natural threats and stressors, including disease, pollution and vessel strikes.

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