After being plucked out of the shore waters of Santa Teresita beach, Buenos Aires, one La Plata dolphin died following reckless handling for selfies.
La Plata dolphins (Pontoporia blainvillei) or Franciscana dolphins as they are also known, are a rare species specific to the ocean waters of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Typically shy and somewhat mysterious, La Plata dolphins aren’t met too close to shores. Except when baby dolphins swim further away from their safe haven.
One such instance has brought about the death of one La Plata baby dolphin just last week. Beachgoers happening to visit the Santa Teresita beach in north-eastern Buenos Aires quickly gathered around two La Plata baby dolphins that had just been plucked out of the water for fun. Both Franciscana dolphins were passed around aggressively for selfies and petting. However, one La Plata dolphin died following reckless handling for selfies.
People proudly posted their selfies and video footage with the baby dolphins online. Some video footage also shows how one of the La Plata baby dolphins is finally released back in the water, while the other is left to die in the sandy mud.
La Plata dolphins are a small species the habitat of which stretches along the coast of South America. Big-net fishing and other perils threaten their small population numbers each year. Just along the coast of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, approximately 1,000 of the marine mammals die each year.
Yet big-net fishing and other threats seem to be greatly helped by beachgoers who take such occasions to recklessly handle the tiny dolphins without any consideration for their well-being. News and releases from animal rights activists have gone out of their way to condemn the actions of the Santa Teresita beachgoers. The Argentina Wildlife Foundation (AFP) has been very vocal about the fact that one La Plata dolphin died following reckless handling for selfies.
While the agency considered the occasion fit for both raising awareness about Franciscana dolphins as a species and condemning public actions in relation to the death of the baby dolphin, other agencies around the world had a different tone. Australia’s World Animal Protection released a notification stating:
“Wild animals are not toys or photo props. They should be appreciated – and left alone- in the wild where they belong. This terribly unfortunate event is an example of the casual cruelty people can inflict”.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added the La Plata dolphins on the Vulnerable species list. The lifespan of a La Plata dolphin is of approximately 20 years. Currently, it is estimated that only 30,000 individuals remain in the wild.
In light of the fact that one La Plata dolphin died following reckless handling for selfies, the Argentina Wildlife Foundation asks other beachgoers to channel their efforts into returning La Plata dolphins to the water instead of contributing to their death.
Photo Credits: Youtube