Authorities in California are hopeful a $10,000 reward will help them locate the suspect behind a shooting that left a dolphin dead on the shore of a Los Angeles beach earlier this month.
According to USA Today, the animal washed ashore on Nov. 8 and sparked a probe into its cause of death.
Marine Animal Rescue founder Peter Wallerstein said he received a call to respond to the Manhattan Beach location at that time and spotted a hole in the dolphin’s skin.
He said the injury was later determined to be a bullet wound.
Wallerstein described the incident as a “brutal, senseless act of aggression” against the animal.
The shooting likely occurred a significant distance away from the shore, he said, and was unlikely to have been an act of self-defense by the shooter.
Not only do dolphins typically gather off the coast, he said the individual responsible likely acted from distance to ensure “they weren’t being watched.”
Wallerstein opined that the culprit is likely a boater, explaining that the National Marine Fishery Service is also involved in the investigation.
In a recent Facebook post, Marine Animal Rescue announced it had established a $5,000 reward for information.
As of the latest reports available, that reward had been doubled.
The group wrote that the photo is “upsetting” but “important to share.”
Dolphins are among the ocean mammals protected under federal law, meaning a suspect could face a prison sentence and fines if convicted.
“There is NO excuse for such brutality against these beautiful animals,” the organization said.
[Featured image: Facebook]