An examination of the dead dolphin revealed a small caliber bullet lodged in the marine mammal's lung, with the entry wound near the blowhole. Courtney Vale of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society says it happened more often than you think.
"We have had recent cases where boat captains have been shooting at dolphins," she said. "One case in 2009, a Panama City charter boat captain was actually convicted of throwing pipe bombs at dolphins."
Commercial fisherman and charter boats compete with dolphin. Vale says they really don't know who shot this dolphin, but they are offering a reward for good tips to authorities.
"The reward is $1,500, and it's something that we hope will entice the public to be forthcoming with the details surrounding these incidents," said Vale.
Tips can be reported to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's hotline at (800) 853-1964.