Gulf dolphins were killed, their bodies found mutilated after multiple stab and gunshot wounds to all parts of the animals. The gruesome scene in the Gulf of Mexico, and others like it, could be the result of some violent persons on a "rampage," authorities speculated Thursday.
The Gulf dolphins found were killed by a variety of methods, including a 9mm bullet wound, lacerations and stab wounds, and one was found with part of its jaw missing.
"We think there's someone or some group on a rampage," Moby Solangi, executive director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, told CBS News. "They not only kill them but also mutilate them."
The discoveries are ones of horror and sadness for his staff, who must perform necropsies on the corpses to determine the cause of death. Someone "not in their right mind," he says, has killed dolphins in at least two separate incidences. Of course, killing the playful mammals is a criminal act, but it hasn't seemed to deter the perpetrators at all.
Even harming dolphins- as some fishermen have in the past for fear they'd eat their bait- is a crime. The killing of the Gulf dolphins doesn't seem to have a motive, especially in the cases where they were found gutted with a screwdriver or missing a tail.
"Animals don't eat each other's tails off," said the executive director.
"[The dolphins] already are under a lot of stress from the oil spill, the dead zone," Solangi continued. Scientists from the institute have found dolphins stranded in recent months in four cases so far.
In response to the senseless violence, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued a directive, telling authorities to watch out for any human interaction with dolphins. The "heads up" is targeted for residents in waters around Lousiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Anyone with any information is encouraged to call DMR's Marine Patrol dispatch at 523-4134. You can also call the IMMS dolphin line at 1(800) 767-3657 or the NOAAat 1(800) 853-1964.