Group encourages tipsters to help investigators of dolphin killings in Florida

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
FILE: Dolphin fatally wounded off Naples (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission/FILE)

Pictures of dolphin killed in the state made a lot of people in Southwest Florida upset. It’s caused many community members to make donations to the increasing reward to help find a dolphin killer.

The reward for a suspected dolphin killer in Southwest Florida and statewide is more than $54,000 to find who is responsible Tuesday.

And people all around the state want to find those responsible, so dolphins don’t continue to face this threat.

We spoke to one of the groups that helped enhance the current reward to find a suspect.

“It’s upsetting because they’re such wonderful animals,” said Peter Ratcliffe from the United Kingdom.

The group “Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder” in the Florida Keys hopes money talks.

“We can only offer this reward in hopes that it will inspire or encourage somebody to step forward, to be brave and be honest about what happened,” said Steve McColloch, a stranding coordinator with the group.

“Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder” is partnering with NOAA, the lead investigator of the case. Together with many other groups, they’re offering $54,000 for information surrounding dolphin killings around Florida.

Ratcliffe hopes it helps.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Ratcliffe said. “Let’s hope it produces a result because I think this is criminal if nothing else.”

For more information, visit the NOAA web page about the recent dolphin deaths.

McCulloch gave money out of his own pocket toward the current reward, and he is confident someone will be found responsible for the dolphin killings.

“You always have to be optimistic,” McCulloch said. “We’re constantly facing challenges in the field, in the laboratories. Our work is not always pleasant, but we always work with a great deal of passion and dedication.”

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