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One dolphin shot, another stabbed: Wildlife officers search for a killer

The animals were found along Florida beaches within the same week – and this has happened before.
Credit: NOAA

NAPLES, Fla — $20,000. That’s the reward NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is offering to catch the person – or people – who killed two dolphins last week.

One of the animals was found dead last week off the coast of Naples, Fla. with a large hole in its head. NOAA said in a news release it appeared the dolphin was stabbed.

Then, Emerald Coast Wildlife Rescue found a dolphin shot dead along Pensacola Beach. The bullet was lodged in its side.

And these are not isolated incidents.

A dolphin was found dead in May 2019 with a puncture wound to its head, and no one has been arrested for that yet. According to NOAA, at least 29 dolphins have been killed by guns, arrows or fishing spears since 2002 – and four of those cases have happened within the last year.

RELATED: Dolphin found impaled in the head in South Florida

It is illegal to feed, harass, hunt or kill wild dolphins. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, anyone caught and prosecuted can face up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine per violation.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating these latest cases, along with NOAA authorities.

Anyone with information that can lead investigators to the people responsible is being asked to call NOAA's Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964. Tips can me given anonymously.

Credit: NOAA

RELATED: 279 dolphins dead on Gulf Coast, triple usual number

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