A dolphin died because beachgoers pulled the rare Franciscana baby dolphin from the ocean and passed it around for selfies. The heartbreaking video, which captured the moment when a man grabbed the dolphin from the ocean, ends with the baby dolphin lying dead in the mud and people continuing to take pictures. Even though the rare animal was clearly in distress while being handed around like a trophy and needed to be back in the water, taking a selfie with a baby dolphin was more important.
The Franciscana baby dolphin died because of the selfishness of beachgoers in the Argentinian beach resort town of Santa Teresita, reports the Argentine Wildlife Foundation (AWF) on February 16. “The occasion serves to inform the public about the urgent need to return these dolphins to sea before the encounter with one on the shore.”
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, there are fewer than 30,000 Franciscana dolphins left. The species is only found along the east coast of South America, including Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. The endangered dolphin prefers shallow coastal waters, and seeing a Franciscana dolphin near the coast does not mean the dolphin is beaching itself or that it is in distress – that is until someone grabs the animal and takes it from the ocean.
“The Franciscana, like other species, cannot remain for much time outside of the water, it has thick fatty skin which gives it heat and means that taking it out of the water rapidly causes it to dehydrate and die.”
The YouTube video that captured last week’s fatal incident shows how a man scoops up the baby dolphin from the shallow coastal water, puts it back in, but then takes it completely out and to the beach where a curious mob quickly gathers. The baby dolphin is being petted and handed like a trophy from person to person so everyone can take a selfie with the rare mammal.
While some people can be heard in the video saying that the animal needed to go back into the water – “we have to take it to the water, take it to the water” — no one actually had the courage to end the selfie frenzy. The excitement over being able to pet and take a selfie with a baby dolphin was more important than the baby’s life itself.
“Absolutely raging and appalled at all those people who killed that baby dolphin. All for a bloody selfie,” writes one commentator. The video and photos of the rare baby dolphin — which died while being passed around like a trophy for selfies — is sparking worldwide outrage.