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Baby Dolphin Dies After Beachgoers Pull It From Water For Selfies

Animals
Baby Dolphin Dies After Beachgoers Pull It From Water For Selfies
Equinac

Not again! A baby dolphin died last Friday in southern Spain after beachgoers took the mammal out of the water and passed it around for photos, according to media reports.

The incident was detailed in several Facebook posts from Equinac, a Spanish marine wildlife conservation group.


The organization said the dolphin was stranded on the beach when a mob of "curious" people quickly gathered to touch it and to take photos of it rather than seek help for it.

A concerned beachgoer eventually called for emergency services, but the dolphin died before rescuers got to the scene.

"Once again we note that the human being is the most irrational species that exists," Equinac wrote on Facebook.

"There are many [who are] incapable of empathy for a living being that is alone, scared, starved, without his mother and terrified ... All you want to do is to photograph and poke, even if the animal suffers from stress."

The dolphin might have been sick before it was spotted by humans. However, Equinac said that just the act of handling and photographing it might have caused "a very high stress state" and for it to go into shock.

Two similar incidents happened in Argentina last year. Last year, beachgoers pulled out a young Franciscana dolphin for photos. It happened again to another baby dolphin in January.

"While traveling, tourists must remember that their once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity with a wild animal can mean horrific suffering—and in this case, a tragic death for this poor animal," Neil D'Cruze, World Animal Protection's senior wildlife advisor, told EcoWatch in a statement about the latest dolphin death.

"Using wild animals for entertainment, including catching them to take selfies, is wrong, often illegal, and causes great distress to animals. Wild animals are not photo props. They should be left to live free in the wild where they belong."

World Animal Protection has issued a travel guide on how to best interact with animals in their natural habitat.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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