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Who put shirt on dolphin? Stop the dolphin selfies

February 3, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Wild dolphins are having a hard time, with some misguided prankster dressing one in a shirt in Western Australia while two other dolphins elsewhere have been forced to take part in tourist selfies, with fatal results.

A week ago, boaters off the Western Australian coast on Australia Day sighted a bottlenose dolphin wearing some kind of shirt. Wildlife officials at the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) suspect it was a deliberate act – a potentially fatal prank for the dolphin, which could have caused the aquatic mammal to suffocate.

The T-shirt clad dolphin was spotted in Koombana Bay, Bunbury. After receiving the photo from a member of the public, DPaW is trying to find more information about it – and to locate the dolphin.


Dolphin wearing shirt. Photo: Department of Parks and Wildlife Western Australia


“It is unlikely that the dolphin swam into the singlet, so this appears to be an intentional act,” DPaW said on its Facebook page. “This could have been catastrophic for the dolphin if it had covered its blow hole and restricted its breathing. Unfortunately the animal has not been seen since.”

Under the Wildlife Conservation Act, the perpetrator could face a fine of AUD 4000.

A week before, in Argentina, a baby dolphin died after being mobbed by tourists seeking the perfect cute selfie.

La Capital, a newspaper in Argentina, said tourists dragged the dolphin from the sea in San Bernardo, about 320 kilometres south of Buenos Aires. After everyone finished touching the animal and posing for photos they just wandered off and left the poor mammal to its fate.

In a similar incident last February, an endangered La Plata dolphin swam ashore on a beach in the Argentine resort town of Santa Teresita. Tourists immediately picked it up and took selfies, until the hapless dolphin died of dehydration.

Wildlife experts are imploring people to leave wild animals alone, particularly young ones, rather than exploiting them for exposure on YouTube and other social media sites.

Written by Peter Needham

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