A dolphin that was stranded on a Texas beach died after beachgoers tried to swim with it and ride it, according to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
In a Facebook post, the organization posted images of the dolphin and people attempting to touch it on Sunday evening at Quintana Beach, located in Brazoria County.
The post states that the dolphin was stranded alive when it was harrassed by the crowd.
People pushed her back into the water to swim and ride her, but she was stranded again and further harassed, the organization said.
The post added that a beachgoer reported the animal to authorities, but she died before rescuers arrived.
“This type of harassment causes undue stress to wild dolphins, is dangerous for the people who interact with them, and is illegal - punishable by fines and jail time if convicted,” the post reads.
The dolphin in these photos stranded alive on Quintana Beach, TX on Sunday evening and was reportedly pushed back to sea...Posted by Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network on Tuesday, April 12, 2022
The organization urged people to call the organization at 1-800-9MAMMAL (1-800-962-6625) if they see a stranded dolphin or whale.
People shouldn’t interact, touch or crowd the animal, the organization says.
Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, people are prohibited from feeding or harassing marine animals including dolphins and porpoises in the wild.
Violators could face fines of up to $11,000 or up to one year in prison if convicted, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.