The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) office of Law Enforcement in the US is investigating another case involving the illegal shooting of a dolphin.
The body of the dolphin was discovered off Okaloosa Island in Florida by the Marine Mammal Stranding Team of the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge.
A NOAA press release announced that during a necropsy (non-human autopsy) carried on the large male dolphin to determine the cause of death a bullet was discovered in his shoulder.
The number of violent incidents towards dolphins in the Northern Gulf appear to be increasing. Since 2002, at least 18 dolphins have stranded with gunshot wounds, with 12 of those occurring since 2010.
Harassing, harming, killing or feeding wild dolphins is prohibited under the US Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Violations can be prosecuted either civilly or criminally and are punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to one year in jail per violation. NOAA officials are seeking information from anyone who may have details of this incident and can be contacted on their hotline: 1-800-853-1964. Tips may be left anonymously.