WAVELAND, Miss. — NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement is investigating after a pregnant dolphin died of a gunshot wound, which also killed its unborn calf.
The bottlenose dolphin was found on a beach in Waveland, Mississippi.
The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies discovered a small caliber bullet lodged in the dolphin's lung.
Six organizations, including the Human Society of the United States, are offering a combined reward of $11,500 for information leading to the successful identification and/or prosecution of the person(s) responsible.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or the Slidell, LA, Enforcement Field Office at 985-643-6232. Tips may be left anonymously.
According to NOAA, the number of violent incidents toward dolphins in the Northern Gulf has increased in recent years, with at least 24 dolphins stranded with evidence of being shot by guns or arrows, or impaled with objects since 2002.
Harassing, harming, killing or feeding wild dolphins is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Violations may be prosecuted either civilly or criminally and are punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail per violation.