NOAA Fisheries offers reward for information on dead dolphin

On Wednesday, Mar. 13, NOAA Fisheries received a report of a dead bottlenose dolphin on West Mae’s Beach in Cameron Parish. The dolphin, a juvenile, had injuries consistent with being shot with a firearm.

NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is investigating the death and we are asking the public for any information about who may have been involved. We are offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to a criminal conviction or the assessment of a civil penalty.

A member of the public reported the stranding to the Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline. NOAA’s stranding network partner, Audubon Aquarium Rescue, recovered the animal and transported it to the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans for a necropsy.

The necropsy (animal autopsy) revealed multiple bullets lodged in the carcass, including in the brain, spinal cord, and heart of the dolphin. The animal appeared to have died from the trauma, which occurred at or near the time of death.

Anyone with information about this incident should call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 800-853-1964. You can leave tips anonymously, but to be eligible for the reward you must include your name and contact information.

We are looking for information leading to one or all of the following:

Successful identification and/or Successful prosecution for the person(s) responsible Arrest, conviction, or civil penalty assessment Harassing, harming, killing, or feeding wild dolphins is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Violations can be prosecuted civilly or criminally and are punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail per violation. Report any stranded or injured marine animals to the Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline at (877) WHALE-HELP 877-942-5243.