Dolphins are among the world’s most lovable creatures but somebody on the Gulf Coast is mutilating and killing the mammals.
The latest specimen was found Friday off Deer Island, Miss., with the lower portion of its jaw missing.
The previous weekend, according to the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Miss., a dolphin carcass was found with a bullet wound caused by a 9-milimeter weapon.
“It went through the abdomen, into the kidneys and killed it,” Moby Solangi, IMMS executive director, told the Associated Press.
Recently off Louisiana, a stranded dolphin was found without a tail.
“Animals don’t eat each others tails off,” Solangi told the Sun Herald. “We think there’s someone or some group on a rampage. They not only kill them but also mutilate them.”
In all, scientists have responded to six recent strandings involving Atlantic bottlenose dolphins that were either shot or maimed.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued a “heads up” directive, alerting officials to be on the lookout for an increase in human interaction with dolphins off Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Commercial and recreational fishermen, likewise, are asked to report suspicious activity.
Solangi said it remains a mystery as to why this is happening and added that dolphins in the northern Gulf Coast are already under significant stress because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
–Images showing dead dolphins, one with bullet wound (top), are courtesy of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies
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