PROGRESSO VILLAGE, Corozal District, Mon. July 26, 2021– Late last week, the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation, in conjunction with the Belize Fisheries Department, issued a joint release condemning the killing of a bottlenose dolphin in the Corozal Bay along the Progresso-Little Belize Lagoon.
The body of the bottlenose dolphin, which was found by a Progresso resident, has been recovered. Reports from the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD) confirmed that the death of the dolphin occurred on or around July 17. While a portion of the dolohin’s snout was missing from the carcass when it was found — ostensibly from crocodiles feeding on it, an on-site necropsy established that the dolphin’s death was caused by a gunshot wound some 20cm below the dorsal fin.
The results of the necropsy, which included the removal of six pellets from the dolphin’s carcass, indicated that the firearm which caused the dolphin’s wound was likely a 12-gauge 00 buckshot shotgun. The wound that probably resulted in the dolphin’s death, and which was one of nine holes in the dolohin’s carcass, was located near the dolphin’s blowhole. It is thus likely that the animal suffocated as a result of the wound.
Under Act No. 7 of 2020 Fisheries Resources Act, bottlenose dolphins are a protected species due to the important role they play in Belize’s biodiversity. A joint release from the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation and the Belize Fisheries Department states, “Bottlenose dolphins are highly intelligent and social marine mammals. We denounce the senseless killing of the animal and lament the loss of this valuable animal as its species is a contributor to Belize’s biodiversity and has high ecological importance.”
The authorities remind the public that it is unlawful to harm, kill or have a marine mammal in one’s possession. Such an action is punishable with a fine of up to five thousand dollars and/or imprisonment. The Fisheries Department urges anyone with information on this or any other incident involving the injury/death of a marine mammal to report it to the department via telephone at 224-4552 or by email at fisheries_depart [email protected].