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A baby dolphin died as selfie-avid crowd passed it around on the Santa Teresita beach of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The videos and images on the internet stand testimony to the recklessness and cruelty of people in the face of wildlife.
The baby dolphin was a La Plata dolphin or Franciscana dolphin. These long-beaked dolphins are one of the world’s most beautiful dolphin species. La Plata dolphins are also a threatened species, being classified as Vulnerable under the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List (IUCN Red List).
The Franciscana baby dolphin was unlucky enough to venture close to the crowded Santa Teresita beach with one of its siblings. Both La Plata dolphins were recklessly pulled out of the water and passed around as the growing crowd wanted to take selfies with them.
La Plata dolphins are a peculiar dolphin species. According to marine biologists, these marine mammals have an extraordinarily oily skin and need the water to preserve it so. Plucked out of their environment will cause immediate damage. Long exposure to the weather conditions outside the water will lead to the drying of their skin and other complications which result in death.
This is what happened to one of the two Franciscana dolphins. While one baby dolphin was eventually released, a baby dolphin died as selfie-avid crowd passed it around. To complete the cruel image, the La Plata baby dolphin was used as a selfie prop even after it was left to die in the sand.
Usually, La Plata dolphins don’t venture close to the shore. They’re evasive and shy and not too responsive to human presence. Bound to the coastal waters of only three nations – Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay – Franciscana dolphins are a vulnerable species.
Their well being and safety is threatened by big-net fishing which has depleted population numbers in recent years. It is reported that about 1,000 La Plata dolphins die each year just close to Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
Another item that should be included on the list of threat that La Plata dolphins are facing are humans. A baby dolphin died as selfie-avid crowd passed it around. The fact that the La Plata baby dolphin was used to take selfies with angered animals rights activists worldwide and appealed to the common sense of people.
The Argentina Wildlife Foundation condemned the use of the La Plata baby dolphin as a selfie prop. However, the organization also took the opportunity to inform the public about the dangers that the Franciscana dolphins are facing and raise awareness on the species.
Photo Credits: bt.com