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Teen receives death threats after baby dolphin he lifted out sea for Instagram photo dies

Teen receives death threats after baby dolphin he lifted out sea for Instagram photo dies

A picture was posted online of him holding the dolphin

A teenager from Florida has claimed he has been receiving death threats after the dolphin he held and posed with for an Instagram snap later died.

The 19-year-old teenager from Florida posted a photo in which he could be seen holding the marine mammal under a bridge across the Nassau Sound.

A dolphin was later found dead in the same area and it is sadly believed to be the same one.

The image prompted a furious reaction online before the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee [FWC] and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched an investigation.

Dr. Quincy Gibson, an associate professor of coastal and marine biology at the University of North Florida, has reviewed the report on the incident by the FWC and has said that investigators believe the dead dolphin which was found is the one shown in the photo.

The teen posted a photo on Instagram holding the dolphin.

She said: “I think it’s highly likely that it died after [the photo was taken], but there is a very small chance that it was deceased recently, when they picked it up in the water..

“But based off of the reports that I’ve heard, and the photo and the way that the people are behaving in the photo, it makes it seem like they did catch it… and it was potentially alive at that point.”

The teenager seen holding the dolphin has since defended himself against the anger online, claiming that he only caught the dolphin by accident and insisting that it was a 'once in a lifetime to catch a dolphin as bycatch from the shore'.

In now-deleted Instagram posts obtained by News4Jax, the teenager wrote: "It was a[sic] accident" and "Why are u throwing so much shade."

He has also claimed he's been receiving death threats since the snap went viral on social media.

Surfer Kevin Beaugrand recounted seeing the post, telling News4JAX: “I was immediately enraged. It’s a crime against nature."

The dolphin sadly died after the encounter.

He added: “We tried to see if it was still alive, or if we could revive it. There was nothing we could do.”

Dolphins are protected in the United States under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. This makes it illegal to handle or interfere with them.

The biology of dolphins and other marine mammals makes them susceptible to suffocation if they are taken out of the water. This is because there body weight is usually supported by the water around them,

If they are out of water on a solid surface then their own body weight makes it difficult to for them breathe. This is also one reasons why strandings can be fatal to cetaceans, including dolphins.

At present, no charges have been brought against the man in the photo.

Featured Image Credit: WJXT

Topics: US News, Animals, Animal Cruelty