A dead baby dolphin was found after a teen took an Instagram photo with him. The unnamed 19-year old Floridian suspect posted a photo of himself holding the juvenile male dolphin on Instagram. Next to the suspect is his smiling friend, holding a middle finger. The teen first stated that it was a “Once in a lifetime to catch a dolphin as bycatch from the shore.”
Later, the teen backtracked and said that the year-old dolphin was lifeless in the water. He even stated that, ‘We tried to see if it was still alive, or if we could revive it. There was nothing we could do.”
Outrage for Dead Baby Dolphin
Kevin Beaugrand was enraged when he saw the shared photo on social media. He immediately responded to the teen in a series of posts, which have since been deleted. In one post, he stated that this was “a crime against nature.” Another person commented on the post stating that dolphins are protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. Therefore, they should not be touched, harassed , captured or handled, regardless if they are alive or dead.
According to Dr. Quincy Gibson, of the University of North Florida’s Dolphin Research Program, the dead baby dolphin is the same one from the photo. This is determined by the matching dorsal fins. The dead dolphin was also found under the same bridge where the photo was taken. According to Dr. Gibson, it’s hard to tell if the dolphin in the photo was already dead. He goes on to say that, “based off of the reports that I’ve heard and the photo and the way that the people are behaving in the photo, it makes it seem like they did catch it and it was potentially alive at that point.”
Bottlenose dolphins rely on buoyancy in order to breath. If removed from water, breathing becomes difficult. So far, no charges have been filed against the suspected teen. If he is found guilty, he could face up to a year in prison and $34,457 in civil penalties.