(ABC NEWS)- Six organizations, including the Human Society of the United States, are offering a reward for $11,500 for information on who shot and killed a pregnant dolphin in Mississippi.
The bottlenose dolphin was found dead on a beach in Waveland, Mississippi, on April 30, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
A small caliber bullet was found lodged in the dolphin’s lung, said NOAA.
“A necropsy, or animal autopsy, revealed the mother dolphin died of a gunshot wound, with the unborn calf dying as a result of the mother’s death,” NOAA said in a statement.
NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is investigating the case.
Moby Solangi, executive director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS), said the necropsy determined that the animal was “carrying a full-term calf.”
“These are the people that going after different kind of wildlife,” Solangi said. “We are trying to tell people that this is against the law. It is not a proper thing for human being to do to indiscriminately kill animal.”
Donations helped increase the award amount from $6,500 to $11,500, according to Stacey Horstman, a bottlenose dolphin conservation coordinator at NOAA.
At least 24 dolphins have been stranded, shot by guns or arrows or impaled with objects since 2002, according to NOAA, which warns the public to stay away from the animals in the wild.
“Dolphins that are fed by people learn to associate people with food and put themselves in dangerous situations when they approach people, boats, and fishing gear looking for food,” NOAA said in a statement. “They can learn to approach fishing gear and to teach this behavior to their young. Such behavior has, in some cases, resulted in violence toward dolphins by fishermen frustrated by the loss of their catch. You should never feed or attempt to feed dolphins from vessels or from shore.”
Someone who is found guilty of abusing dolphins may be prosecuted either civilly or criminally and could face up to $100,000 in fines and one year in jail per violation, according to NOAA.