JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – NOAA is still searching for those responsible for the death of two wild dolphins found shot and stabbed off Florida’s coast in recent months. There’s a $20,000 reward being offered for leads on the case.
Scientists believe people feeding dolphins is leading to these disturbing discoveries.
HORRIBLE - A $20,000 reward is being offered for information on whoever shot and stabbed two dolphins in Florida. https://t.co/OoPkieuRie— News4JAX (@wjxt4) February 12, 2020
Allison Burns, a marine biologist with the FWC, strongly believes human interaction with mammals puts them at risk.
“They get used to coming up to boats, approaching boats, looking for food,” said Burns “Dolphins, in particular, are pretty smart and they’ll actually become what we call beggar dolphins.”
Dolphins aren’t the only mammals impacted by human interaction, manatees are also at risk.
“They’ll put a hose off their dock thinking oh it good for manatees to drink freshwater, and manatees do like drinking fresh water from hoses,” said Burns.
This puts the manatees in close proximity to boats and docks, in harm’s way.
There are multiple forms of human interaction that puts marine mammals at risk, including trash.
This includes the waste we leave in our waters like fishing line and plastic.
“One of the big ones we see a lot is plastic so we have a bunch of plastic bags here that we found in the GI of these mammals that we do necropsies on,” said Burns
It’s also important to remember that Federal Law prohibits feeding or attempting to feed marine mammals.