LEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A bottlenose dolphin was found dead along Upper Captiva Island in May and now the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is looking for answers.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recovered the dolphin at the end of May.
A necropsy showed the animal was impaled with a spear-like object while alive.
According to NOAA, the wound extended almost 6 inches above the adult male dolphin’s right eye.
The dolphin was known to biologists in the area and was last seen swimming around fishing boats.
NOAA said he was seen with “begging dolphins” and the puncture wound shows the dolphin may have been in a begging position when it was stabbed.
Officials are looking for information from anyone who may have details about what happened.
If you have any information, call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-1964. Tips can be left anonymously.
A reward of up to $38,000 for the successful identification and arrest of the person or people involved is being offered by NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement and multiple agency partners, including the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Welfare Institute and more.
At least 26 dolphins, including this animal, have stranded with evidence of being shot by guns or arrows or impaled since 2002.
Harassing, harming, killing or feeding wild dolphins is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
If you come across a dead or injured marine mammal, don’t intervene and call 1-877-WHALE-HELP.