CHOCTAWHATCHEE BAY, Florida – A dolphin just days away from giving birth was found dead by wildlife investigators and now a reward is being offered to find the killer.
NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement said the female bottlenose dolphin was found with a bullet lodged in her lung. Officers said she was likely shot in the upper right side.
The dolphin’s body was discovered on Miramar Beach in Choctawhatchee Bay Florida.
It has been a federal crime to harass or harm a wild dolphin since 1972. If the killer is caught that person could be sentences to jail for up to 1 year and fined more than $100,000.
NOAA officials said dolphins have become increasing comfortable around humans because many humans are feeding them for fun.
In turn the animals become brave enough to begin removing bait from fishing gear and even teaching their young the behavior. That has led to a recent spike in fisherman, frustrated by dolphins taking their bait and catch, reacting in violent ways against the mammals.
Dolphin conservation groups are so concerned over this killing a $2,500 reward is being offered to help try and solve the case.
Anyone with information about the killing is being urged to call 1-800-853-1964.