Warning: This article contains a graphic image.
Two dolphins with gunshot and stab wounds washed up on two Florida beaches last week, officials said. Federal authorities are offering a $20,000 award for help figuring out what happened.
NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement said biologists discovered a dead dolphin in Naples last week. They said the dolphin suffered a fatal wound from a bullet or sharp object. Wildlife experts from the Emerald Coast discovered a dolphin with a bullet in its left side along Pensacola Beach.
In May 2019, a dead dolphin was found along Captiva Island near Fort Myers with a fatal puncture wound in its head. That investigation is ongoing. There have been at least 29 dolphins evidently impaled or shot by guns or arrows since 2002.
Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, it is illegal to interact with wild dolphins in any capacity outside of scientific research. According to NOAA's website, "this includes attempting to swim with, pet, touch, or elicit a reaction from the animals."
Those with any information are urged to submit the information to the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964. Any information can be left anonymously.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission