Baby Dolphin Dies: Animal Passed Around By Spanish Beachgoers Taking Selfies With Him Dies From Experience

Aaron Homer - Author
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Aug. 16 2017, Updated 11:07 a.m. ET

A baby dolphin has died after the suckling animal, separated from its mother, was passed around by tourists taking selfies with the distressed marine mammal, the Independent is reporting.

Beachgoers in the Spanish resort town of Mojácar, on Spain’s southeastern coast, were treated to the distressing sight of a dolphin calf, who had apparently gotten separated from its mother, washing up on a beach. What the beachgoers should have done, says conversation group Equinac, was call authorities. They may have been able to get the animal into a zoo or animal rescue clinic and saved its life.

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What happened instead was that the tourists passed the “frightened and weak” animal amongst each other, posing with it for selfies. Equinac says “hundreds” of people posed for pictures with the visibly distressed animal.

In one picture, a small child can be seen covering the animal’s blowhole — the dolphin equivalent of its nose — effectively suffocating the poor beast. Other beachgoers stroked the animal or held it by its head and tail.

Only after a concerned beachgoer called 112 — Spain’s equivalent of 911 — did authorities arrive and try to save the dolphin. By then it was too late; he or she had already died.

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As of this writing, the dolphin’s official cause of death has not been made known, pending the results of an autopsy scheduled for later this week. However, Equinac believes the dolphin died of stress from fear; essentially, he was scared literally to death.

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“Cetaceans [dolphins and whales] are animals very susceptible to stress and… crowding them to take pictures and touch them causes them a very strong shock that greatly accelerates a cardiorespiratory failure, which is what finally happened.”

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Meanwhile, the animal rescue group has harsh words for the people who passed around the animal and took selfies with it.

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“Many are unable to feel empathy for a living being alone, scared, starving, without his mother and terrified because many of you, in your selfishness, only want to photograph and touch it, even if the animal suffers from stress.”

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This is not the first time tourists have been responsible for the death of a dolphin. In fact, it seems to happen with regularity around British beaches. According to a 2015 Daily Mail report, there at least 10 instances in one week of tourists harassing dolphins. Those interactions can be fatal to the animals.

If you are at a beach and you encounter a distressed animal — for example, a whale or dolphin who has become beached or separated from its peers — do not disturb the animal. Instead, call authorities, who can send people trained to handle such situations to try to properly help the animal.

[Featured Image by Jman78/Thinkstock]

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