Baby dolphin dies after being passed around for selfies

Photo credit: ABC News via Twitter
Photo credit: ABC News via Twitter

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A young dolphin has died after a mob of beachgoers in Argentina reportedly pulled it from the ocean to pet and take pictures with it, only to leave the marine mammal on the sand when they were done.

Pictures allegedly taken at the beach resort of Santa Teresita show a group of people gathering around as a tiny dolphin is held up to take selfies and be stroked.  The dolphin was later found dead from suspected dehydration on the sand where it was discarded after the group was done taking photos.

Snopes points out that at least one video posted of the incident claims that the beachgoers were trying to help the dolphin, but that it was already dead when it washed up on the beach. This account has not been verified.

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The death has prompted the Wildlife Foundation in Argentina to remind the public about the dangers of interacting with wildlife.

"The Franciscana, like other species, cannot remain for much time outside of the water, it has thick fatty skin which gives it heat and means that taking it out of the water rapidly causes it to dehydrate and die," the foundation said in a statement.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) Red List of Threatened Species, the Franciscana dolphin is listed as 'Vulnerable' with only about 30,000 remaining in the world.