Captain John Simoneau has a special place in his heart for dolphins. He loves the innocent, loving and harmless mammal. That is how the dolphin tour boat captain, who runs Beach Buddy Tours in Southwest Florida for over a decade, knows our local creatures.
“They’ll follow me and they’ll follow the boat and they’ll look up at you,” Simoneau said.
So when Simoneau found out that dolphins were injured, with a horrific gunshot wound to the face, between the beak and the melon, he was furious.
“I just can’t believe what kind of human being would do this,” Simoneau said. “Very angry, sick, demented, angry person. That’s what I’d have to say.”
Simoneau is not alone. People everywhere that have seen the photos are fuming mad.
“I think shocking and then anger, you know,” said Mark Webber, who is on vacation.
“Anger,” Robert Videkovich, who lives in Cape Coral, said about his reaction. “Horrible, you know, that someone would do that to a dolphin. There’s no reason.”
The captain knows these waters, so he is worried.
“They could have done it in a secluded area where nobody was around,” Simoneau said. “There’s miles of mangroves and islands around here. People want justice to whoever did this I don’t know if they’ll ever find out.”
The photos are graphic. The idea is sickening. Right now, there is a $20,000 reward from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is taxpayer-funded. With media coverage gaining traction, NOAA said it expects a lot of tips soon.
But Simoneau told WINK News, what was just as hard to take in from the traumatic photos is the innocent, smiling creature would never see it coming.
“They like humans,” Simoneau said. “I don’t think they’re capable of thinking that way.”