Over the last 10 months, several dolphins have been found dead in Florida, and now authorities are increasing the reward for any information leading to a civil penalty or criminal conviction.
Back in February, the reward
was $20,000. Now, that number has been increased to $54,000 — with $20,000 coming from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and $34,000 from its partners.
Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission discovered a dead dolphin off the coast of Naples
. According to NOAA, the dolphin was “fatally wounded from what appeared to be a bullet and/or sharp object.”
In the same week, Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge experts found a dolphin with a bullet in its left side in Pensacola Beach, according to NOAA.
Last May, a bottlenose dolphin was found dead in Captiva Island with a fatal stab wound to its head. That investigation is still ongoing and offers a separate reward
According to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, passed in 1972, anyone found guilty of harassing, hunting, killing, or feeding wild dolphins can face up to $100,000 in fines and up to one year in jail.
If you have any information that may lead to an arrest, call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 800-853-1964. (Don’t worry, tips can be left anonymously.)
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