GULFPORT, Miss. (WALA) - Over the weekend, two more dolphins washed up along the Gulf Coast in mysterious fashion.
A dead dolphin was found in Gulfport, and a dolphin head on the shore of Horn Island.
Marine officials are investigating whether these are part of a string of dolphin deaths that have been reported in the past few weeks.
Dolphins are one of the most intelligent animals on earth, but marine biologists believe someone may be intentionally killing them.
Over the past six weeks, at least six dolphins have been found dead, some of horrific causes: one was shot, another was stabbed with a screwdriver, and a third had its tail cut off.
"It's cruel, it's repugnant," said the director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Dr. Moby Solagi.
"Pure evil. It's really uncalled for," said charter boat captain Tom Becker.
It's too early to tell if the two most recent wash-ups are connected to this recent string of dolphin deaths, but the bodies were brought to the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies to be examined.
Solangi said, "Animals that do strand [wash ashore] you have their entire body or part of the body together. Just to have a single head lying on a beach is unusual."
Becker has sailed near these animals for nearly 30 years, and he's keeping an eye out to try to help the investigation.
Becker said, "That is God's creature, and it's a wonderful creature. It's a beautiful creature and what they do and how they react and everything, why would somebody want to kill 'em, I have no idea."
Cruelty to dolphins is a federal crime and a $5,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest.
Dr. Solangi says since the tipline opened, many calls have been coming in.
If caught, the suspect could face up to a year in jail.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is working with law enforcement officials on this case. If you have any information to help in the investigation, call 1-888-767-3657 or 1-800-853-1964.
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