animal welfare

Did Spanish beachgoers contribute to death of stranded dolphin calf?

Animal rights group blames bathers at Mojácar for “stressing” animal by handling it and taking photographs

Beachgoers hold the dolphin stranded at Mojácar last week.
Beachgoers hold the dolphin stranded at Mojácar last week.

A dolphin calf stranded on a beach in Mojácar, Almeria, last weekend, died after holidaymakers manhandled it and took photos. The infant mammal was still nursing and was unable to withstand the trauma of being handled by dozens of people, according to Equinac, an NGO for beached sea turtles and cetaceans in the area.

The young female had become stranded on a crowded stretch of sand, attracting a mass of fatal attention. “The lifeguard was unable to cope as he watched hundreds of people descend on the animal,” said Equinac’s post on Facebook. “One guy was eventually able to get through the crowd and reach the creature, but by then it was too late. We might not have been able to save her, but we would have tried.”

It seems some people cannot empathize with a creature that is alone and frightened PACMA spokesman

Equinac criticized the beachgoers, saying they were “obsessed with touching and photographing” an animal that is highly vulnerable to stress. “It seems a lot of people are incapable of empathizing with a creature that has found itself alone and frightened, is dying from hunger and missing hits mother. Selfishly, the only thing they want to do is touch it and take photos, despite the animal’s suffering.”

According to Spain’s Party Against Animal Abuse (PACMA), cetaceans are particularly susceptible to stress and will soon die if exposed to it, adding that when they become beached it is due to a problem that has prevented them from swimming and they are, in effect, asking not to be returned to the water. “By taking photos and touching them, these animals can enter a state of shock,” says a PACMA spokesman.

English version by Heather Galloway.


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