FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — A dead dolphin that was discovered on a Florida beach was impaled in the head with a spear-like object, federal authorities said Wednesday.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Law Enforcement is asking the public for any information about the March 24 discovery of the dead bottlenose dolphin in Fort Myers Beach.
A necropsy determined that the wound above the right eye was inflicted before the dolphin died.
The dolphin appeared to have died from the wound, which occurred at or near the time of death.
NOAA officials suspect the dolphin was impaled while in a begging position commonly associated with illegal feeding.
Federal law prohibits harassing, harming, killing or feeding wild dolphins. Violators are subject to a $100,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
NOAA officials report at least 27 instances of dolphins having been shot or impaled with sharp objects since 2002.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NOAA enforcement hotline at 800-853-1964. Tips may be left anonymously.