A dead bottlenose dolphin with a bullet or spear wound to its head was reportedly found off the Florida coast last week — leading to a $20,000 reward for information that results in civil penalties or an arrest.
The dolphin was recovered in the Gulf of Mexico off Naples by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, according to The Palm Beach Post.
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The mammal had a large hole on the right side of its head, below the right eye.
It’s the second member of its species found dead in the area since last May, when one of the mammals was discovered shot off Captiva, the report said.
The latest dolphin death prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to offer the cash reward to bring whoever is responsible to justice.
Bottlenose dolphins are the most common species found swimming along Florida’s Southwest coast, the report said.
Stacey Horstman, a bottlenose dolphin expert with NOAA, told the paper that the two dolphins were likely in close contact with humans, looking for food, when they were killed.
“The dolphin off of Naples and the one from Captiva last year were likely in what we called begging posture,” said Horstman.