Idiot cell phone junkies killed a baby dolphin on a beach -- passing it around for hours of selfies.
© Copyright 2015-2020, John Hessburg & The DICTION AERIE.™ All rights reserved.
If only we could show it. The photo is so sad, so terrible it rips at your soul like a claw hammer. I’m feeling ragged now... raw, amigos del mar. The pic is more than I can bear to post.
CNN and World Animal News reported this weekend that a milling mob of beachgoers in La Plata Argentina, about 50 km SE of Buenos Aires, snatched a rare dolphin from the ocean and passed it around for so long on the beach – while scores of people pushed and shoved to take “selfies” with the baby dolphin -- that it died right there in front of grown men, women and yes -- even children. Nobody did a thing to help the newborn critter.
La Vida Silvestre, a wildlife foundation in Argentina, confirmed this shameful report. What’s more, Sky News revealed another video of so-called humans removing a dolphin from the water in Santa Teresita, a coastal town about 350 km SE of Buenos Aires. Those folks took photos of a dolphin that appears to have been left to die in the sand; then they simply went on their ways, according to CNN. This proves that outbreaks of microcephaly in Latin America are not confined to mosquito-plagued sectors of Brazil, nor only to infants.
The Argentine wildlife organization urged people to return all dolphins to the sea, immediately, if they ever find one washed ashore. "It is vital that people help to rescue these animals, because every (one) counts," they wrote. The LaPlata breed is a sea mammal that normally shies away from humans. It thrives in the chilly waters of the Rio de La Plata, near Buenos Aires; and the Atlantic coasts between Argentina and Uruguay. It also sometimes cruises shorelines of SE Brazil. Now, back to basics...
What happened to that baby dolphin is murder by negligence. Pure and simple. These people are knuckle-draggers and deserve to be prosecuted. Class C felony charges for all the adults, all of them. A week in juvie for the youngsters. Their parents deserve this fitting penalty: picking up highway litter in the cold and driving rain all day, while wearing sandwich boards that read, “I'm an utter idiot. I killed a baby dolphin – for a selfie.”
Steaming shame on the parents for not teaching their children better compassion and concern for vulnerable life forms. These aquatic mammals, among the most intelligent and communicative on our planet, are fragile for the first several months of their lives and need to be in sea water all day long. Period.
As a matter of principle, never compromised in 25 years of service to thousands of tropical vacation clients, the agents of U.S. Dive Travel Network – a company I founded and still manage – never, I repeat never knowingly gave business to any resorts, anywhere, any time that offer “swim with dolphins” or “pet the dolphin” programs. Many of these so-called “cetacean research centers” are pure bull-feathers and geared only for profit, under the slippery veneer of "eco-tourism". Shameless commercial hype.
Dolphin-petting operations are abusers, exploitative hucksters. They disgust me for one key reason – in a mob, often people do things they'd never do alone, things that defy their innermost moral codes. Group-think can make normally thoughtful people act like witless wonders who cause serious harm to trusting creatures. And the worst of it is: the hapless dolphins never know what hit them. No, even worse: people profit from this thinly-lacquered "gray slavery."
I have free dived and scuba dived with countless wild and unconfined dolphins at islands across the Pacific since the early 1990s. Every time they swam up to me, out of the blue literally, and began cavorting like caffeinated kids -- of their own volition. One morning just a mile offshore from 'Eua iki, a small sister isle to Tongatapu, main island of Tonga, I was scuba diving with a young fisherman named Nonga Vea, maybe 65-70 feet down in clear current-free water, just tooling happily along the crater rim of a long-dead volcano, cruising huge beds of soft corals and colorful sponges, when suddenly we sensed odd movement and looked up. Now get this: ocean waves when viewed from below sometimes look like sculpted glass, impossibly smooth convex surfaces -- almost like cosmic blue jello scooped out by some enormous spoon. And there amid the royal-aqua jello bulges were five gray dolphins, showing off like stoned teenagers on a summer boardwalk, regaling us with an act right out of Cirque du Soleil. They danced around our bubble streams, darting in and out of the jello bumps, cleaving those astonishing blue scoops with their own bubbling "vapor trails" -- easily in bursts of 20 knots. We were so thrilled, we must have been breathing like race horses, because we drained 3,000 p.s.i. air tanks in half the normal time.
And here's the point, amigos del mar. We never bribed them with food or lures. They just showed up because they were curious; and they felt like it. Maybe we looked like fun to them. And never once did we try to grab or bump them. That's because never, as we counsel all clients whose trips we guide, have I reached and touched a dolphin, ray or shark with even a passing fingertip, unless that critter brushed past my shoulder when I turned the other way. That's darn near scripture in our sport, folks. We preach it with steel-eyed stares. Look but never touch. No exceptions any time.
Here’s the rub, literally. Dolphins have a delicate jelly-like oil on their skin, that when scraped or cut in waters rife with bacteria, can cause painful sores, or worse –- debilitating infections. Many sharks, rays, reef fish, squid and octopi are the same... They are at risk of getting infections that sometimes cripple or kill them over time.
So what kind of people would take such risks with a sentient, soul-bearing being -- and a baby yet -- just for the sake of a social media selfie? It beggars the imagination. This is the moral equivalent of ripping a newborn human from its mother's breast on day 3 of life, then passing that terrified hungry baby around, naked and crying, lashed by chilly winter winds in some parking lot outside. So why suddenly is this negligence acceptable when another specie, just as helpless, is involved? Have we as humans, prodded by the hollow vanity of cell-phones, devolved to such a point of emotional insentience that we're becoming spiritual cripples? Really?
I cannot comprehend how something this obvious, distress heaped on a small living creature did not pique at least some compassion in one human?! Not even one person? They let the infant dolphin die with no more regard than that afforded an insect crushed underfoot on a gum-flecked inner city sidewalk.
I know there will be e-mails, calls, letters. So what? Bring it, baby. I feel some selfie-addicts -- like these dolphin abusers -- are so self-centered they cannot see beyond the vanity of their own noses. Face it, folks; that dolphin pod from which the mouth-breathers stole that baby is far more human than those vapid biped perps. Now what?
Time to yammer, clamor, howl 'n shout, amigos del mar. OK, now smile, if you feel like slapping a few of these dimwits into the middle of next week. Then go ahead and do it; on this side of the law, however. Make it matter. Be uncommonly clever and relentless. Even cruel if need be. Make sure they remember you like that first tart smack on the cheek in the back seat at the junior prom.
Let’s e-nundate those two seaside communities in Argentina. Write respectful but molten letters to managers of that beach's lifeguard team, or to resort directors, whomever is in charge. Give 'em hell and don't let up. Make 'em think...
Right now my pulse is racing, the BP's soaring and I need to chill... It’s not often that anything related to the oceans I love so deeply, which have been my passion and my livelihood for more than a quarter century, can spur me to feel like actually socking someone squarely in the mouth. Forgive me Lord, because this planet is sicker than my own capacity to forgive -- at least for this evening. But tomorrow is another day….
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