Dolphin death shows seedier side of selfie craze

Note to readers: After more than two years away from this blog, I am back with a vengeance. While I’d like to attribute it to a new streak of creativity, the truth is more and more stuff seems to be pissing me off. Expect more views to show up in the coming weeks.

Dolphins are fascinating creatures. I’ve never had the chance to see them up close, what with being raised in a desert and currently living in the Midwest, but I would love to see one up close. Despite that ambition, one thing I would make sure I didn’t do would be to take poor Flipper out of the water and parade it around like some maniacal 49er showing off his gold nuggets.

If this sounds a little extreme, I would have agreed with you once upon a time. Unfortunately, the bizarre became reality when I read something online today about a tourist down in Argentina taking a baby dolphin out of the ocean and showing him to other frenzied tourists, who were apparently too engrossed in taking selfies with the sea creature to realize it was dying out of the water.

The dolphin was a Franciscana, one of the smallest dolphins in the world and most common to Brazil and the aforementioned Argentina. There are reports that there might have been two dolphins taken out of the water for the selfie-palooza, but only one confirmation of death, according to an ABC online report.

While I loathe showing this photo, it can clearly show how callous and stupid we have become on a global level.

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Photo credit: ABC

The sad thing is the animal did not die in order to feed starving people. It was a defenseless youngster taken out of its natural habitat so some selfish and clueless people could use it as a prop to show family members what they did on their vacation. Yep, walked the beach, stayed at a lovely hotel, played a supporting role in an innocent mammal’s murder. It’s the kind of vacation everyone dreams of.

Thankfully, I’m not the only one who thinks this, as Twitter comments suggested the Argentinian government seek legal action and press charges against those that played a role in the dolphin’s death. I can’t blame them, as I know that if a mob of idiots grabbed my dog, Toby, and passed him around like a hot potato, I’d want a pound of flesh out of everyone involved.

“This terribly unfortunate event is an example of the casual cruelty people can inflict when they use animals for entertainment purposes, without thinking of the animal’s needs,” a spokeswoman for World Animal Protection told ABC. “At least one of these dolphins suffered a horrific, traumatic and utterly unnecessary death, for the sake of a few photographs. Wild animals are not toys or photo props. They should be appreciated — and left alone — in the wild where they belong.”

I feel lucky to have been raised around animals and know that many of them serve as a food source, and many more serve as loving companions. I wonder how many of those tourists were raised without a pet or exposure to animals and how they should be treated. Did no one in that crowd realize that when you taking a water-loving creature out of said water, it could be hazardous to the creature’s health? What are schools teaching these days?

I wonder how many of those folks would be dumb enough to try and pass around a lion cub found in the wild, running the risk that one of its parents might come out of the grass and slice them up like lunch meat from the deli. Society seems to take great pleasure in making weaker creatures suffer for amusement. With the selfie craze going full tilt, people are making stupid decisions they wouldn’t have made before vanity hit them.

I think one tweeter had the best comment out of all the ones I saw. A woman named Diana said, “You know you’ve lost faith in humanity when a poor Dolphin dies because people want to take a selfie with it. Where’s the sign up to Mars?”

Where, indeed.

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