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Reward for info on dead dolphins recently found with in Southwest Florida increased to over $50,000

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Posted at 4:04 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 16:04:06-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Wildlife officials are seeking information on the death of a dolphin found with stab wounds on Upper Captiva Island back in May, and are offering a reward for information that leads to an arrest.

NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement and marine mammal experts say they received a report of a bottlenose dolphin found dead with wounds to its head. The wound penetrated from above the right eye, extending almost 6 inches toward the top and back of the head.

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The wound ended inside the head at the top of the skull and had evidence of hemorrhaging, indicating wounds consistent with being impaled prior to death. A necropsy revealed the dolphin was impaled in the head with a spear-like object while alive.

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Dead dolphin with stab wound in head found in May 2019.

NOAA says area biologists were familiar with this adult male dolphin, known to approach fishing boats as a "begging" dolphin. They say the puncture wound indicates this dolphin might have been in a begging posture when he was stabbed.

Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission discovered another dead dolphin in Naples recently from possibly a bullet and/or a sharp object. Around the same time, Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge experts recovered another dolphin with a bullet in its left side along Pensacola Beach, Florida.

NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement and their agency partners are offering a combined $54,000 reward for information that leads to the identification, arrest, and conviction of those responsible.

Anonymous tips can be left at the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964.

Harassing, harming, killing or feeding wild dolphins is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

If you come across a dead or injured marine mammal, call trained responders at 1-877-WHALE HELP (877-942-5343).