Baby dolphin dies after being passed around for selfies with tourists

Marine rescue group condemns 'selfish' holiday-makers who poked and took photos of 'terrified' calf after it washed up at beach

Chris Baynes
Wednesday 16 August 2017 15:31 BST
One of the photos shows a child appearing to accidentally cover the dolphin's blowhole
One of the photos shows a child appearing to accidentally cover the dolphin's blowhole

A baby dolphin died after being passed around and photographed by tourists who found it stranded at a busy Spanish beach.

Curious holidaymakers flocked to examine the calf - some of them taking selfies with the creature - after it washed up in Mojácar, Almeira.

They were criticised by a marine wildlife rescue group, which said the dolphin would have been "terrified" and may have been saved if beach-goers been quicker to alert authorities.

Pictures emerged of bathers stroking the tiny mammal, young enough to still need breast-feeding, as it floated "frightened and weak" in the shallows after being separated from its mother.

"Once again we find that the human beings are the most irrational species that exists," wrote conversation group Equinac in an impassioned statement.

"Many are unable to feel empathy for a living being alone, scared, starving, without his mother and terrified because many of you, in your selfishness, only want to photograph and touch it, even if the animal suffers from stress."

The non-profit group said "hundreds" of people had mobbed the dolphin and were "obsessed" with touching and photographing the calf.

One picture appeared to show a child inadvertently covering the young animal's blowhole as they stroked it.

An Equinac rescuer with the dolphin's body (Equinac )

Equinac rescuers rushed to help the dolphin after a concerned beach-goer called Spain's 112 emergency number. But it was already dead by the time they arrived 15 minutes later.

"Cetaceans are animals very susceptible to stress and... crowding them to take pictures and touch them causes them a very strong shock that greatly accelerates a cardiorespiratory failure, which is what finally happened," said the marine rescue organisation.

Rescuers retrieved the dolphin's corpse and are to conduct an autopsy.

Equinac also warned disturbing a protected species of dolphin could be a criminal offence.

Four species of dolphin are found off the coast of Almeira, along with porpoirses and six species of whale.

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