A relatively rare La Plata baby dolphin off the coast of Santa Teresita, Argentina has reportedly passed away after being scooped up from the water by beachgoers and then passed around in the air for selfies and photographs.
The mishandling from the beachgoers is reportedly the main reason that the animal isn’t breathing and swimming today. The dolphin, which was only around 4 feet long, is believed to have overheated from its inability to cool down in the water because it was kept in the air for too long.
The video, which can be seen below, can be audibly heard as some of the beachgoers say the dolphin is dead, and others say it should be returned to the sea.
Near the end of the video, the dolphin is laid down on the sand of the beach, rather than in the water where it had belonged. It was then surrounded by beachgoers, who each wanted to touch and pat the dolphin – it may have already been dead or close to death at this point.
The Argentine Wildlife Organization urges anyone who sees a dolphin out of the water not to waste any time in returning it to the water where it belongs.
"It is vital that people help to rescue these animals, because every Franciscan counts," the Argentine Wildlife Organization noted in a public statement.
This particular species of dolphin is considered to be a threatened species, which is why they’re not particularly common in the area. Unfortunately, human ignorance is one of the main causes of lowered animal numbers.
Should you ever see an animal in its natural habitat, the best thing to do is simply leave it alone. The environment is very fragile and human intervention without an understanding how how the environment works, can cause a lot more harm than good, as this example shows.