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December 9, 2014

$5,000 Reward Offered in Alabama Dolphin Killing

*Update: On Dec. 19, NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement positively identified a juvenile who admitted to shooting a bottlenose dolphin with a hunting arrow. A $24,000 reward fund, offered by 9 organizations and one private resident, will be paid out for the critical information leading to the person responsible.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is investigating the death of a bottlenose dolphin, who was found shot with an arrow over the weekend on Orange Beach in Alabama. The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.

It appears the dolphin was shot by a steel-tipped arrow five to seven days before dying of an infection. This is the second dolphin intentionally killed in the Gulf of Mexico in just two weeks and at least the 13th dolphin shot since 2010.

Mindy Gilbert, Alabama state director for The HSUS, said, “This intelligent, social creature experienced tremendous suffering from this senseless act. We are grateful for NOAA’s work to investigate this heinous crime and are hoping someone with information will come forward.”

People should remember not to feed wild dolphins. It is illegal and it can encourage them to approach boats, putting them into conflict situations with fishermen, resulting in harm to the dolphins.

Dolphins are a protected species and harming a dolphin is a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and is punishable by criminal penalties up to $100,000 and one year incarceration.  Civil penalties up to $11,000 per count may also be assessed.

Anyone with information concerning the shootings is asked to call NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement in Niceville, Florida, at 850-729-8628 or the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964. Callers may remain anonymous.


  • Wildlife officials estimate that nationwide, tens of millions of animals are poached annually.
  • It is estimated that only 1 percent to 5 percent of poached animals come to the attention of law enforcement.
  • Poachers injure or kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways. Wildlife officials report that poachers often commit other crimes as well.
  • The HSUS and HSWLT work with state and federal wildlife agencies to offer rewards of $5,000 for information leading to arrest and conviction of suspected poachers.

The HSUS and HSWLT work to curb poaching across the country. Visit humanesociety.org/poaching for more information. 

Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 240-672-8397; ksanderson@humanesociety.org


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