Officials offer $20,000 reward in case of young dolphin found shot to death on Louisiana beach

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information about a juvenile bottlenose dolphin that was found shot multiple times on a Louisiana beach last month.

The animal was discovered March 13 on West Mae’s Beach in Cameron Parish – about four hours west of New Orleans – and had “injuries consistent with being shot with a firearm,” NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement said in a news release Tuesday.

A necropsy conducted by the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans found multiple bullets lodged in the dolphin’s carcass, “including in the brain, spinal cord, and heart of the dolphin,” NOAA said. “The animal appeared to have died from the trauma, which occurred at or near the time of death.”

Officials say they are seeking information that can lead to identification of a suspect, an arrest, or prosecution.

Harassing, harming, killing, or feeding wild dolphins is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, according to NOAA. Violators can be prosecuted civilly or criminally and can face up to $100,000 in fines and up to one year in jail per violation.

Correction: This story was originally published with a photo provided by NOAA that misidentified the dolphin. That image has been replaced.

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