The quest for a perfect selfie with a cute animal has ended tragically after a group of beachgoers took a tiny dolphin from the sea in order to take photos and selfies with it. An Argentine environmental organization has confirmed that the incident happened last week near Buenos Aires, and that the dolphin died after it was mishandled by a large group of tourists.
After the incident, the Argentine Wildlife Foundation issued a reminder to the public, explaining the mammal’s vulnerability, in hopes of preventing similar events in the future. “The Franciscana, like other species, cannot remain for much time outside of the water, it has thick fatty skin which gives it heat and means that taking it out of the water rapidly causes it to dehydrate and die,” they explain in the statement. “This occasion serves to inform the public about the urgent necessity to return these dolphins to the sea as soon as possible if they find them on the shore. It is fundamental that people help to rescue these animals, because every Franciscana counts now.”
If the camera-wielding tourists were familiar with this, perhaps they wouldn’t yank the poor dolphin out of the ocean or keep it out of water for that long. The picture, taken by one of the onlookers (seen below), shows an eager crowd trying to touch and take photos with the helpless animal. After the poor dolphin died, it was left on the sand.
The dolphin was from the Franciscana (also known as the La Plata) variety, one of the smallest species of dolphins in the world, which is typically found off the coasts of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. This species is considered vulnerable to extinction, as there are only 30,000 Franciscana dolphins left in the world.