La Plata dolphins are a rare species that swim rather close to the shores of Argentina, which led to the death of one baby dolphin. A tourist grabbed the baby dolphin out of the water and out onto the beach where a crowd of beach-goers passed the baby around taking selfies with it. A video can be seen here of the crowd passing the baby around and posing with it for pictures. Considering there are only 30,000 La Plata dolphins left, and are considered a threatened species this is a sad loss.
This shows how little people are educated regarding wildlife. Regardless of the fact that the species is threatened, people should realize the implications of separating a baby dolphin from its mother and then taking it out onto the beach passing it from person to person.
My island biology class talked a lot about being a responsible tourist especially considering we were visiting an extremely isolated island that is very sensitive to invasive species, urbanization, etc. The Galapagos Island’s is very expensive to visit and many precautions are taken to ensure it’s natural beauty stays intact. Our class considered an option of requiring an initial test or debriefing of some sort to make sure people are at least educated about the conservation and rules of the Galapagos before entering. We did have a small debriefing, but we were on a boat specifically looking at conservation. I’m not sure if all boats require a debriefing. Unfortunately though, I’m not sure if anything like that would be possible for an open beach like this one. With thousands of visitors, it’s not really realistic to enforce something like that.
Although it seems a bit intuitive to me that if you pull a dolphin from the ocean that it’s going to die. What a shame.