Wildlife officials in Florida are investigating the mysterious death of a bottlenose dolphin that was recovered on a beach with an apparent stab wound to the head.
The mammal, which was found on Fort Myers beach in the south-west of the state on 24 March, is believed to have been killed deliberately, probably while it was being fed illegally by humans.
“Based on the shape, size and characteristics of the wound, it is suspected that the dolphin was impaled while in a begging position,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) said in a statement.
“Begging is not a natural behavior for dolphins and is frequently associated with illegal feeding.”
The dolphin was an adult lactating female, and was above water with its mouth open when it was attacked, NBC News reported. Its carcass was recovered by the Florida fish and wildlife commission, whose officers passed details on to Noaa.
Lead Image: Violent incidents towards dolphins are not uncommon in the Gulf of Mexico – at least 27 have washed up shot by guns or arrows or impaled since 2002. Photograph: Chris O’Meara/AP.
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