The dolphin found on May 27, 2024, at a Far Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York. Credit: NOAA

Feds Looking for Person Who ‘Dismembered’ Dolphin

They're offering a $5,000 reward for info leading to the arrest of the person responsible for “dismembering” a dolphin in New York City. 

Federal authorities are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for "dismembering" a bottlenose dolphin in New York City.

According to Tuesday's announcement, officials with the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society responded to a report of a dead dolphin at a beach at Far Rockaway in Queens, New York. When they arrived on May 27, they found the dolphin missing its dorsal fin, a pectoral fin, and tail. They also released an image of the animal (seen above), showing the brutality of the crime.

Additionally, authorities say a social media video may exist showing the dismemberment of the animal. Beyond that, authorities said very little about the incident as the investigation is ongoing.

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In the past, experts blamed bad fishing practices for the removal of dolphin fins. What often happened was fishing vessels using industrial nets would capture dolphins and to preserve the net, fishermen would cut off parts of the dolphin.

dead dolphin

The location in which authorities found the dismembered dolphin on May 27, 2024. Credit: NOAA

What's the penalty for dismembering a dolphin

Under federal law, the Marine Mammal Protection Act protects whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions as well as a few other mammals, such as polar bears. Congress passed the measure in 1972 to reverse damage caused by human activities. Violating the law could result in civil or criminal charges, which are punishable by up to one year in jail per violation and a $100,000 fine.

Exactly how often a marine mammal is attacked is unclear. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration occasionally published press releases asking for information about an incident. Earlier this year, NOAA asked for helping finding the shooter of a gray lion in Delaware and before that, the shooter of a dolphin in Louisiana.

For anyone with information about the dismembered dolphin, authorities are asking that you contact their hotline at (800) 853-1964. They say they need information that leads to identifying a suspect, prosecutes the crime, or results in a conviction.