A baby dolphin died in Santa Teresita, Argentina last week after it was taken out of the water by a swarm of people who wanted to take “selfie” photos with the animal. The horrific situation was documented by multiple phone cameras that were recording. The incident happened quickly, and the dolphin became lifeless after being out of the water for just moments.
The baby dolphin belonged to a rare breed called The Franciscana, or La Plata. This breed of dolphin is only found in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. According to The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), these dolphins are at risk of extinction, with only 30,000 left in the world.
The Franciscana dolphin, which is also called the La Plata River dolphin, is one of the rarest dolphins in South America. Due to this uniqueness, there is little known about it. It grows to be between 4 and 6 feet long, and weighs up to 115 pounds, and its body is a grayish brown color. Even though sightings of the Franciscana dolphin are scarce, it can be found in the Doce River, in Brazil, and the Peninsula Valdes in Argentina. It can also be found in the coastal waters of Uruguay. This is the only species of river dolphins that can be found in salt water.
— Nigel Britto (@NigelBritto) February 18, 2016
Animal rights groups were quick to raise awareness about the situation and have cautioned against taking selfies with wild animals, something that should be common sense.
The Wildlife Foundation in Argentina issued a statement that said, “The Franciscana, like other dolphins, can not remain long above water. It has a very thick and greasy skin that provides warmth, so the weather quickly causes dehydration and death. 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. It is vital that people help to rescue these animals because every Franciscana counts now.”
It is understandable to be impressed and inspired by nature and to want to document and learn more about the earth and its creatures. However, it is important to not interfere with nature while we are observing it or be so interested in the buzz the photo will create on social media that you kill an innocent creature.
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