QUINTANA, Texas — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the people responsible for the death of a dolphin.
The dolphin died on a Texas beach in April after it became stranded, and people harassed it.
Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network posted on Facebook that the dolphin was alive when it became stranded on Quintana Beach, south of Houston.
The group said beachgoers pushed the dolphin back to sea and tried to swim with and ride the animal.
The dolphin died before rescuers arrived at the beach.
Necropsy, or non-human autopsy, results show the dolphin died from drowning, NOAA said.
NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is asking anyone with information about the incident to call its hotline at (800) 853-1964.
Tips may be left anonymously. But in order to be eligible for the reward, you must leave your name and contact information.
NOAA says it is illegal to feed or harass wild marine animals, including dolphins.
People found guilty of harassing, harming, killing or even feeding wild dolphins could face up to $100,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail.
Should beachgoers find a stranded marine animal, they should allow it to return to the water on its own and not crowd around it, NOAA says.