The La Plata Dolphin, also known as the Franciscana Dolphin, is a small, elusive animal that swims in rivers and oceans in South America. The dolphin is considered vulnerable on the ICUN’s Red List of Threatened Species. However, one such dolphin was captured on dozens of tourists’ cameras in Santa Teresita, Argentina, after they pulled it out of the water for a selfie.
The dolphin died. Beach-goer Hernan Coria snapped photos of the distressed animal being held above the crowd.
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Following the incident, the Wildlife Foundation in Argentina published a reminder about the vulnerable species.
“This incident should help the public understand the urgent need to return these dolphins to the sea when they get close to the shore,” the foundation wrote, according to The Telegraph.
"The Franciscana, like other species, cannot remain for much time outside of the water, it has thick skin full of fat which regulates its body temperature, so taking it out of the water rapidly causes it to dehydrate and die,” the group added.
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Coria posted the photos to Facebook on Feb. 10, where they were shared more than 2,750 times in eight days. The story was also popular on Reddit, where it received more than 5,000 upvotes -- the equivalent of Facebook ‘likes' -- 2,000 comments in just seven hours.
“It is pretty much the same as trying to take a selfie with a drowning kitten or puppy,” Reddit user Lari-Fari wrote in a comment.
“While we're all here and disgusted, it's a good time for anyone who doesn't know to learn that pretty much anything you find on the beach should not be taken out of the water for any amount of time,” user TeamRedundancyTeam wrote.
“Not only can a tiny amount of air potentially kill most sea life (actually causing suffocation when the air gets stuck), but stress is one of the biggest killers of fish and invertebrates," the user added.