There is an update on the sad story about a dolphin that was stranded and died after being washed ashore last month on Quintana Beach in Texas. People were outraged after seeing the video of a group of beachgoers trying to ride and swim with the sick animal instead of contacting wildlife officials for help.

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The stress of being pushed back into the water along with harmful, repeated contact caused a fatal reaction from the ill bottlenose dolphin. KHOU is reporting that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is offering $20,000 for information about the people responsible for its death.

Violations of Marine Mammal Protection Act

The group of beachgoers broke a federal law when they pushed the dolphin back into the water and then tried to ride and swim with it. The Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed in 1972 to protect all marine wildlife within United States waters.

NOAA states that violations of the law include, but are not limited to feeding, injuring, or killing dolphins, whales, seals, sea lions, or any other marine mammal. You can be fined up to $20,000 and be sentenced to a year in prison for illegal contact with marine animals.

Contacting the NOAA

The NOAA's law enforcement office wants the people who harassed the dolphin to be held responsible. The agency is asking anyone who can identify any of the individuals to come forward.

You can call the NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement Hotline anonymously at (800) 853-1964. The reward of up to $20,000 is for information leading to one or all of the following, according to the NOAA:

  • Successful identification
  • Successful prosecution of the person or persons responsible
  • An arrest, conviction, or civil penalty assessment

To be eligible for the reward, you must leave your name and contact information when calling.

Read More: Sick Dolphin Dies After Crowd Tries to Ride Her at Texas Beach

 

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Most of these laws are just funny now, but at one time, there was a valid (or at least somewhat valid) reason for them to exist.

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