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Anger following dolphin death on Argentine beach

Published 20/02/2016

Argentina has seen anger over the death of a baby dolphin on a beach
Argentina has seen anger over the death of a baby dolphin on a beach

The death of a baby dolphin after being passed around on an Argentine beach is creating anger in the South American country.

Photos and video of the incident have begun emerging this week of the incident, which local media say happened on February 5 on the popular Santa Teresita beach, about 214 miles from Buenos Aires.

In one video posted on local websites, a beachgoer is seen lifting a baby Franciscana dolphin out of the surf.

The dolphin is passed around while dozens of onlookers touch it and take pictures and "selfies" of it. It is then seen left on the sand.

Thousands have expressed anger on social media, calling for the enforcement of animal abuse laws.

"Poor animal. What bad luck to fall into the hands of so many ignorant people," tweeted Argentine model Nicole Neumann.

In a statement, the Fundacion Vida Silvestre, an Argentine group that works for the protection of animals, called on beachgoers to leave dolphins in the water.

"It's fundamental that people try to rescue these animals because each Franciscana counts," the group said.

The Franciscanas, an endangered species, are found in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

In one of the videos, the dolphin, which is only a few feet long, appears to be moving when it is taken from the water.

Mariano Sironi, a marine biologist and scientific director of the Whale Conservation Institute in Argentina, said that sometimes dolphins hunt close to shore.

A baby dolphin can also end up close to shore if it is sick or gets separated from its mother, he said.

He said how long a dolphin can live out of water depends on its overall health. Their thin skin means they dehydrate quickly and the "stress ultimately leads to death".

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