QUINTANA BEACH, Texas — A dolphin stranded on a beach died before rescuers could help after people reportedly dragged it back into the water and attempted to ride it.
“This was a tragedy,” the Quintana Beach State Park said in a statement. “Park staff was called to assist in keeping the public away from the dolphin until rescuers could arrive from Galveston. “Unfortunately it was a retrieval, not a rescue.”
The dolphin was found beached Sunday evening, according to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network. A crowd gathered and pushed the dolphin, which was believed to be sick, back into the water, with some attempting to swim with it and ride it.
It again became stranded on the sand and beachgoers continued to “harass” it, the agency says. By the time rescuers arrived, the dolphin had died.
“This type of harassment causes undue stress to wild dolphins, is dangerous for the people who interact with them, and is illegal,” the agency says in a statement. Violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act are punishable by fines of up to $11,000 and a year in prison.
There are no reports of charges from Sunday’s incident.
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