Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Wildlife experts are begging Texans to avoid interacting with an extremely friendly dolphin out of concern over its safety.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) fisheries division, the dolphin first started interacting with people about a year ago when it made the canals near a North Padre Island neighborhood it’s home.
Over the past year, residents shared videos on social media of themselves petting, jumping on, swimming, and riding the dolphin, which in turn spurred visitors to seek out and interact with the wild animal, NOAA said.
This dangerous action could prove fatal for the dolphin.
The tamer and docile the dolphin gets from interacting with people, the more likely it will approach humans, which could lead to it being stuck in fishing equipment or getting hit by boats.
The NOAA’s concerned prediction might have already come true when the sea mammal was spotted recently with a wound on its left side that appears to be from a ship’s propeller.
Law enforcement officers of the NOAA will begin ticketing people caught feeding, petting, or riding the dolphin, with fines ranging from $100.00 to $250.00.
To report violations, call the enforcement hotline at (800) 853-1964.