'Selfish' beachgoers blamed after stranded baby dolphin dies
The baby dolphin became stranded on a beach in southern Spain on Friday. (Equinac/Facebook)
Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, August 16, 2017 11:13AM EDT
A baby dolphin died after becoming stranded on a beach in Spain and an animal rescue group is blaming a crowd of spectators for exacerbating the danger by touching and photographing the vulnerable marine mammal.
The young female dolphin became stranded on a beach in Mojácar, in southern Spain, on Friday after it was separated from its mother, according to Equinac, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving marine animals.
In a series of messages posted to Facebook this week, the group alleges that “hundreds” of eager beachgoers surrounded the stranded dolphin to handle and photograph it. Children were reportedly seen touching the mammal and inadvertently covering its blowhole, preventing it from breathing, the rescue group said.
A concerned onlooker called 112 to alert the animal rescue service about what was happening, but the baby dolphin had already died when the group arrived 15 minutes later, Equinac said.
Dolphins are “highly susceptible” to stress and can die very quickly from it, the charity explained. The intense attention the baby dolphin received on the beach could have caused a “strong shock” for it that may have aggravated an already dangerous situation, Equinac said.
The non-profit organization criticized those who swarmed the dolphin in one of their Facebook updates.
“Humans are the most irrational animal there is,” the group said in roughly translated post. “In their selfishness, all they want to do is photograph it and touch it, even if the animal is suffering from stress.”
The beachgoers weren’t responsible for the dolphin being stranded in the first place, Equinac clarified. The group speculated that the baby dolphin might have been beached because it was sick or separated from its mother.
Equinac reminded the public to call an animal rescue service if they come across a stranded marine animal and to avoid touching it.
“Please, let’s be sensible. Let’s be empathetic. Let’s be respectful,” the group said.