Just when we thought we had seen enough mindless cases of people bringing undue harm to animals for the sake of selfies – we have another to report.
Marine wildlife protection group Equinac recently shared the story of a group of tourists who pulled a baby dolphin out of the sea to pass it around for selfies – which ended up in the animal’s death.
The incident took place on a beach at Mojacar, a popular seaside resort in Almeria, Spain. The dolphin, a small female of breast-feeding age, became stranded in shallow waters off the coast of southern Spain after she had lost her mother. Confused and looking for a way back to the deep waters, she was pulled out and passed around by the tourists to stroke and use as a selfie prop.
Marine conservationists from the organization rushed to the scene, but upon their arrival around 15 minutes later, the dolphin was already dead. The animal died of a cardiorespiratory failure augmented by the enormous stress and sense of shock at what had been happening to her.
Since they are very sensitive to stress, dolphins’ reactions to situations of this kind are intense and often dramatic in results. The stress coming from being torn out of the water, touched, and surrounded by people can – and did – kill the animal.
“Humans are the most irrational animal there is,” the Equinac team said in relation to the disturbing event, reports Express.co.uk. “Many people are unable to feel empathy for a living being which is frightened, starving hungry, without its mother and terrified. In their selfishness, all they want is to photograph it and touch it, even if the animal is suffering from stress.”
The incident is a distressing example of what happens when an animal is unfortunate enough to encounter a group of people desensitized to suffering and drastically lacking in respect for other species. The Equinac team emphasizes that the bathers should have definitely called emergency services upon noticing the stranded animal. “Maybe we would not have been able to save it,” they said, “but we would have tried.”
If you ever see an animal in a similar situation of distress, stand up and say something! Here is a list of marine animal rescue hotlines that might help.
All image source: Equinac/Facebook