QUINTANA BEACH, TX - The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network is warning beach goers about what to do if a wild dolphin becomes stranded on a beach.
In this real life example, beachgoers in Quintana Beach, TX found a dolphin stranded alive on a beach and reportedly attempted to not only push the animal back to sea, but also swim with and ride the sick animal.
According to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, ultimately stranded and was further harassed by a crowd of people on the beach.
The dolphin died before rescuers could arrive on scene.
The Stranding Network warns people that this type of harassment causes undue stress to wild dolphins, is dangerous for the people who interact with them, and is illegal - punishable by fines and jail time if convicted.
News 3 reached out to the Virginia Aquarium for more information on this issue. They gave us the statement below to share on what to do locally:
"Seeing a marine mammal or sea turtle can feel surreal and exciting, and the urge to help an animal in distress can be overwhelming, but we encourage the public to safely and respectfully give the wild animal space if found stranded on shore or injured in the water. If you spot a stranded marine mammal or sea turtle, do not approach the animal or try to render aid without expert guidance or instruction. Please call the Virginia Aquarium’s Stranding Response hotline immediately at 757-385-7575 to report a stranded or injured whale, dolphin, porpoise, manatee, seal, or sea turtle. Additionally, marine mammals are federally protected and attempts to touch, feed, water, or intentionally disturb them are against the law under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and/or Endangered Species Act.
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Stranding Response Program coordinates the responses for all sick, injured, dead or distressed marine mammals and sea turtles along the Virginia coastline and waterways. The program’s trained and federally permitted professionals examine the animals and, if alive, determine the most humane course of action for each unique situation. This nationally recognized team of staff, volunteers, and cooperating agencies works tirelessly, 24/7 and 365 days per year, responding to and providing exceptional medical care for live stranded individuals, and biomedical and forensic examinations of deceased animals. Since the program's inception more than 30 years ago, the team has responded to and investigated thousands of marine mammal and sea turtle strandings."
You can find out more about harassment of wild dolphins here.