Reward offered for information after 2 dolphins died in Texas and Florida after interactions with humans

NOAA Fisheries, A division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced up to $20,000 for information on anyone who harassed a sick dolphin last month on Quintana Beach, Texas.
The Texas Climbing Mammal Marine Network of Texas said the glass-nosed dolphin was trapped alive on the beach on April 10 and pushed back into the water while beachgoers tried to swim with and ride the animal. Facebook share.

“She was eventually stranded and further harassed by a crowd on the beach where she later died before rescuers could reach the scene,” the network said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said officials obtained video footage of the harassment in Texas that may help identify the people involved.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits harassing, harming, killing, or feeding wild dolphins.

Harassing, harming, killing or feeding wild dolphins is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and up to a year in prison for each violation, the agency said.

Meanwhile, an adult dolphin died in March after hitting its head with a spear-like object on a Fort Myers beach, NOAA officials saidQuoted from a dolphin autopsy. The agency is also offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information about this incident.

The animal appears to have been in a position of begging for food when it was attacked while still alive. She died apparently from shock, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a statement.

“Begging is not a normal behavior of dolphins and is often associated with illegal feeding. People can help prevent future harm to wild dolphins by not feeding them or trying to feed them,” the study said.

The agency – whose job is to oversee ocean resources and habitats – has advised people to avoid interactions with stranded marine animals because they may be sick or injured.

Pushing the animals back into the water, she said, delays them getting the help they need and may lead to strandings in a worse condition.

CNN’s Michelle Watson and Rebecca Reese contributed to this report.