A baby dolphin has died after it was pulled from the sea into the hot sun so tourists could take selfies with it.
Last week, a young Franciscana dolphin was killed on a beach in Argentina as a consequence of severe dehydration and ‘rough handling’ by a crowd of eager tourists, reports The Dodo.
The animal was reportedly taken from the water along with another dolphin, so people could take photos with it, and images from the scene – which were posted to Facebook – show one of the dolphins surrounded by a crowd of beachgoers.
An environmentalist from the Vida Silvestre Foundation wrote online in response to the incident:
[Dolphins] can not remain long above water. They have very thick and greasy skin that provides warmth, so the weather will quickly cause dehydration and death.
The foundation confirmed that at least one of the dolphins had died, but it is unclear whether the second animal survived the ordeal.
As if the loss of life simply to satisfy some tourists’ need for photographs wasn’t bad enough, Franciscana dolphins – found only in the waters of southeastern South America – are classified as a ‘vulnerable’ species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Argentinian Wildlife Foundation has now issued a public reminder about the vulnerable dolphins – of which there are only 30,000 left in the world.
The species’ conservation is of particular concern because they tend to swim close to the shoreline, where they often become tangled in fishing equipment.