WDC has increased its reward to $10,000 for information relating to a spate of attacks on protected bottlenose dolphins in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama over the past several months.
In June (2012), a dolphin was found dead just west of Dupont Point, Alabama in the US with a screwdriver lodged in its head and, in September, another was shot and killed near Elmer’s Island, Louisiana. Most recently in November, a dolphin was found dead in Mississippi, also a victim of a gunshot wound.
The increase in the reward will also contribute to the establishment of a permanent enforcement fund to help with potential future cases that violate US Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) laws.
Wild dolphins are protected under the MMPA and it is illegal to harass, harm, kill or feed these animals. Between 2002 and 2012 there have been a total of 12 documented cases of dead dolphins with evidence of gunshot wounds, revealing a continuing need for long-term vigilance and for the public to come forward with information to support law enforcement efforts. It’s unknown for some of these cases whether the gunshots happened before or after the dolphin’s death.
“We need the public’s help to help catch those responsible for these crimes. We are pleased that, through broader collaboration, we can substantially raise our initial reward to support ongoing official investigation of these crimes.,” stated Courtney Vail, campaigns manager for WDC. “These dolphins continue to face impacts from the Gulf oil spill, fishing gear entanglements and habitat loss. It is horrifying that they are also subjected to these brutal attacks.”
WDC encourages anyone who may have details relating to these incidents, including any photos or video, to call the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) enforcement hotline at 1-800-853-1964. Calls will be treated in strict confidence.
More information at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov