News / World

Fears for dolphin's safety after somebody put a shirt on it

Australian officials say the animal, which hasn't been seen since last week, could be suffocated by the shirt.

Residents of Australia's west coast have been asked to keep an eye out for a dolphin that has been wrapped in a shirt. Officials say the

Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife

Residents of Australia's west coast have been asked to keep an eye out for a dolphin that has been wrapped in a shirt. Officials say the "catastrophic" stunt could suffocate the animal.

You can always count on humans to come up with novel ways to torment our fellow creatures.

The latest addition to our shameful behaviour is a dolphin that was spotted swimming off the coast of Australia with a shirt clinging closely to its body, something the country’s government warns could suffocate the animal.

The dolphin hasn’t been seen since.

Australia’s Department of Parks and Wildlife said the dolphin was photographed by a group of boaters in Koombana Bay on Jan. 26 and they are extremely concerned for its safety.

“This could have been catastrophic for the dolphin if it had covered its blowhole and restricted its breathing,” the agency wrote on their Facebook page.

The post was also quick to suggest the shirt was intentionally wrapped around the dolphin, since it is “unlikely that the dolphin swam into” it.

Officials say they are unable to tell if the dolphin is tagged, which would make it much easier to find, since the shirt is covering its dorsal fin where such tags are typically implanted.

A disturbing pattern

Sadly, this isn’t the only depressing and infuriating news from the dolphin world this month.

Last week, a young dolphin died on an Argentina beach after it was plucked from the water and used as a selfie prop.

If that sounds depressingly familiar to you, it’s because a very similar event happened on another Argentine beach in February when an endangered La Plata dolphin died from dehydration after being passed around by beachgoers.

“Social media has changed the landscape, making exotic animals seem adorable and acceptable,” science writer Mary Bates said in National Geographic after the La Plata dolphin’s death. “But what you don’t see is the suffering that lies behind the images.”

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