Killing (And Maiming) Dophins

PHOTO COURTESY INSTITUTE FOR MARINE MAMMAL STUDIESA dolphin was found dead by IMMS on the shores of Ship Island with a mutilated jaw.
All photos via Sun Herald. 

Sometimes you just have to wonder at how sick and twisted the human psyche can get.

Case in point: Dead and mutilated dolphins are turning up on the Gulf coast, some shot and some with parts cut off.

Here’s a report from the Sun-Herald:

Somebody is maiming and killing dolphins.

On Friday, a team from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport found a dolphin on Ship Island with its lower jaw missing.

Last weekend, IMMS responded to a dead dolphin found along the Ocean Springs/Gautier coastline with a 9mm bullet wound. “It went through the abdomen, into the kidneys and killed it,” said Moby Solangi, IMMS executive director.

In Louisiana, a dolphin was found with its tail cut off.

“Animals don’t eat each other’s tails off,” Solangi said.

“We think there’s someone or some group on a rampage,” he said. “They not only kill them but also mutilate them.”

IMMS investigated the first dolphin shooting earlier this year and incidents have increased in the past few months. In Alabama, someone stabbed and killed a dolphin with a screwdriver, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration press release. In September, a dolphin was found on Elmer’s Island, La., with a bullet in its lung. Others have been mutilated with knife-like lesions.

Turns out that this has been going on for a while now, this year. I can’t pretend to understand what motivates anyone to do such things, any more than I can pretend to understand so much of the violence humans inflict on each other and the rest of the world.

COURTESY INSTITUTE FOR MARINE MAMMAL STUDIESA dolphin found off the shore of Belle Fontaine Beach in Jackson County on Nov. 9 died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

But I hope they catch someone and prosecute to the full extent, which could include a fine of up to $100,000 and a year in jail. One important point made by NOAA about this dolphin killing spree is that feeding wild dolphins–which happens all too often–encourages dolphins to approach boats, which either makes them more vulnerable to maniacs with guns, or can led to conflict with fishermen if the dolphins go after their catch.

More pictures, if you can stand it, in this Sun Herald gallery.


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