UPDATE: NOAA offering reward of up to $20K for information on individuals who likely contributed to the death of a sick dolphin in Texas. Riding a wild dolphin is illegal. Now NOAA wants to know who did it.


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Sad news out of Freeport Texas as beachgoers attempt to save a beached dolphin and instead ignorantly contribute to its demise. 

Last Sunday in the Freeport area on Quintana Beach, beachgoers found a dolphin stranded in the sand. Not being professionally trained for marine rescue the beachgoers ignorantly pulled it back into the water.

Marine mammals will often strand themselves if they are injured, orphaned, or sick.

Here was the first mistake.

According to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network website, "Dolphins and whales do not usually wash up on our beaches unless they are sick, injured, or orphaned, so it is important NOT to push them back into the water."

Then things really took a turn for the worse when after getting the dolphin back into the water, the beachgoers decided to ride it.

The situation turned dire when beachgoers decided to ride the dolphin. Of course in an already weakened condition, the dolphin could not swim away. Authorities offer that their ignorance of continuing to stress the animal out likely contributed to its death.

The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network offered additional vital information on the situation on their Facebook post this week to hopefully educate the public in case the situation arises on Texas beaches again this summer.

Sadly, rescue efforts were too late for this dolphin. But, it's never too late to educate yourself, and here are some of the tips we can all learn and share for future reference.

Check out the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Networks Facebook post below to deter these kinds of deadly mistakes in the future.

First and foremost, you should never touch or move a stranded mammal. Instead, immediately report it by either calling 911 or you can call the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network 24 hours a day at 1-800-962-6625 (1-800-9MAMMAL).

Dolphins are a protected species and should not be handled in any way. In fact, these beachgoers could be looking at fines and jail time.

 1-800-9MAMMAL.

Here is one way you can safely interact with another kind of mammal in Texas we all love, giraffes!

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