In Brief

Dolphin 'already dead' when beach-goers took photos

Holidaymaker dismisses claims that Buenos Aires crowd posed for selfies with a live animal and says its body had been washed up

Holidaymakers have denied pulling a live dolphin from the sea in order to pose for selfies with it. The animal reportedly died after being passed around the crowd in Argentina.

Two rare Franciscana dolphins, one of the smallest breeds, were said to have been seized by beach-goers after washing up in the surf at the Santa Teresita resort in Buenos Aires.

Photos show throngs of tourists crowding round a dolphin as it is passed around for them to touch and hold. One video shows a man carrying one of them in his arms.

The lifeless body of a Franciscana dolphin was later found on the sand, apparently abandoned. The fate of the other animal is unclear.

However, one of the tourists who posted photos has told national news channel Telefe Noticias his pictures had been misinterpreted and the animal was dead before the crowd handled it.

"It washed up already dead. They took it back to the water but it wouldn't go back out," said Hernan Coria. He added that several other dead dolphins had washed up on nearby beaches.

Wildlife experts and conservationists have expressed horror and disgust over the incident.

"The Franciscan, like other species, cannot remain out of the water for long," conservation charity Vida Silvestre said. "Hot weather will cause rapid dehydration and death."

The group urged anyone who spots a stranded dolphin to act responsibly. "It is vital that people help to rescue these animals, because every Franciscana counts," it said, telling people to contact marine specialists immediately upon finding a dolphin and then attempt to keep the animal cool until the experts arrive.

The Franciscana dolphin, so called because its brownish skin recalls the habit of a Franciscan monk, is classified as "vulnerable" in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. Only an estimated 30,000 remain in the wild, the BBC reports, and the species is at particular risk of becoming tangled in fishing nets because of its distribution along the busy waters around Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Between 500 and 800 are caught that way every year in the waters around Buenos Aires alone.

Recommended

Was attempted FBI break-in linked to Trump raid?
FBI director Christopher Wray
Speed Reads

Was attempted FBI break-in linked to Trump raid?

How the UK’s droughts compare with the rest of the world
Low water levels at Baitings Reservoir in West Yorkshire
Global lens

How the UK’s droughts compare with the rest of the world

Quiz of The Week
Woman worries over bills
Quizzes and puzzles

Quiz of The Week

Russian visas, Arab fattism and quiet quitting
Landing plane
Podcasts

Russian visas, Arab fattism and quiet quitting

Popular articles

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

Why The Satanic Verses is still controversial
Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses
Getting to grips with . . .

Why The Satanic Verses is still controversial

The Week Footer Banner