A massive crowd of tourists killed an endangered baby dolphin in Argentina last week as they snapped selfies with it.
A massive crowd of tourists has killed an endangered baby dolphin in Argentina, after allegedly pulling it from the ocean and passing it around for photo opportunities. According to a report from the Washington Post, the incident has caused uproar among animal rights activists, including the Argentine Wildlife Foundation.
In a press release, the AWF condemned the event, and encouraged people to preserve the dolphins in the country’s waters.
“Photos taken in Santa Teresita, Buenos Aires, where you see a group of people recently spread holding Franciscan was water twice. At least one of the animals died. Therefore, the occasion serves to inform the public about the urgent need to return to these dolphins to sea before the encounter with one on the shore,” the release read.
“It is vital that people help to rescue these animals, because every Franciscan counts. They are a priority species for Wildlife, which has spent more than 10 years working with different institutions like AquaMarina in protecting these animals.”
The dolphin was a La Plata, or Franciscana dolphin. The species’ range extends only from the waters of Argentina to Brazil, and scientists estimate that there are currently only 30,000 of them in the wild. La Plata dolphins are the only type of river dolphin to enter the sea, and they are categorized as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.
While fishing nets and other human activity at sea remain the biggest threat to these fragile creatures, the recent case of two individuals being yanked from the water to entertain beachgoers is particularly disturbing.
A video of at least 50 people passing around a juvenile La Plata dolphin with phones drawn, snapping selfies, emerged last week and swiftly went viral. Perhaps the most shocking part about the video is that at no point does a beachgoer attempt to stop the crowd and return the poor dolphin to the ocean.