A tragic event took place at Santa Teresita, an Argentine resort, this week. When a group of vacationers spotted a baby dolphin near the shore, the animal was scooped up and passed around before being set back down on the sand – much too far from the water to be able to swim back to freedom. The beachgoers gathered around the mammal for a chance to pet it and take pictures.
The video below shows the moment when the young animal is taken from the water and becomes an unfortunate plaything for the locals. It is clear from the video and the pictures that accompany it that the dolphin was given no chance at survival, given the circumstances. The animal soon died, presumably from dehydration, the Daily Mail reports.
This particular species is called the La Plata dolphin or the Franciscana dolphin. The Wildlife Foundation of Argentina reportedly said that "the Franciscana, like other species, cannot remain for much time outside of the water," according to the Daily Mail. "It has thick fatty skin which gives it heat and means that taking it out of the water rapidly causes it to dehydrate and die."
"This occasion serves to inform the public about the urgent necessity to return these dolphins to the sea as soon as possible if they find them on the shore. It is fundamental that people help to rescue these animals, because every Franciscana counts now," the Wildlife Foundation added. The Daily Mail reports there are only about 30,000 La Plata dolphins left in existence.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has set the La Plata dolphin's conservation status as "vulnerable," and announces its species has a "projected decline of more than 30%" over the next few decades. This is in part due to many accidental deaths related to fishing and a degradation of its natural habitat.
Please share this story with your friends and loved ones on Facebook to remind them how important it is to help animals in need – not stop for a picture at their expense.