19-year-old Florida man under suspicion for causing the death of a one-year-old male dolphin calf for an Instagram photo

19-year-old Florida man under suspicion for causing the death of a one-year-old male dolphin calf for an Instagram photo

The exploitation of wildlife for social media recognition is an issue that continues to spark debate and anger.

A recent incident involving a teenager in Florida highlights the severity of this problem.

He pulled a baby dolphin out of the water to take a photograph, and the animal is believed to have died as a result.

The case has incited widespread outrage and led to a federal investigation.

The details of this story unfold as follows:

The Incident: A Controversial Photo

A 19-year-old man from Florida is under suspicion for causing the death of a one-year-old male dolphin calf after he took it out of the sea for an Instagram photograph.

Though he claims the animal was already dead when he found it under a bridge by Nassau Sound, he has shared posts beforehand defending his actions, referring to the death as an ‘accident’ and the photo as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity.

Reaction and Investigation: Anger and Scrutiny

Marine biologists have confirmed that the calf found dead was the same one pictured by the young angler.

While the posts have been deleted, they sparked anger and led to a federal investigation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

As of Thursday, no charges have been filed.

Evidence and Opinions: Marine Experts Weigh In

Dr. Quincy Gibson from the University of North Florida’s Dolphin Research Program has confirmed that the dolphin in the photo matched the one found dead.

The shape of the dorsal fins provided proof. Dolphins are susceptible to suffocation if removed from water, and the photograph is believed to have been taken where the dolphin’s body was found.

Public Outrage: Strong Reactions from Locals

A Jacksonville resident and local fisherman who saw the teenager’s post online recalled being ‘immediately enraged’ and called the action ‘a crime against nature.’

The anger was fueled further by the dolphin’s age and the possibility that its death resulted from the man’s actions.

The incident also ignited a storm of backlash online, with many criticizing the teenager’s lack of remorse and entitlement.

Legal Implications: Federal Protections and Penalties

The dolphin’s death has led to a full-fledged federal investigation, and the teen claimed to have received death threats as a result.

He gave a statement that seemed to backtrack on his social media posts, insisting that the animal looked lifeless when found.

Still, his behavior in the photograph indicates otherwise.

Under the Federal Marina Mammal Protection Act, even dead dolphins are protected from human interference.

If prosecuted, the man could face hefty fines and prison time.

Expert Analysis: Potential Consequences for the Dolphin

Experts point out that dolphins like the bottlenose seen in the photos rely on buoyancy to breathe, making breathing difficult when removed from water.

Dr. Gibson finds it highly likely that the dolphin died after being picked up, based on the reports and photo.


The incident involving the baby dolphin serves as a sobering reminder of the delicate balance that exists between human actions and the natural world.

Social media’s influence, coupled with a lack of respect for nature’s boundaries, has resulted in a situation that has led to widespread anger, legal ramifications, and the tragic death of a creature.

It is a stark warning against the dangers of prioritizing social media fame over ethical conduct and the welfare of wildlife.

It also underscores the importance of education and responsible behavior when interacting with marine life.

Whether or not charges are filed, the incident itself serves as an example that may deter others from similar behavior in the future.

TDPel Media

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