A juvenile has allegedly confessed to shooting a bottlenose dolphin that was found dead off of coastal Alabama in the northern Gulf of Mexico with a hunting arrow in its back recently, federal authorities said.
The dolphin died more than a week after being shot in Florida waters, according to a statement released Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement.
A necropsy was performed on the dolphin, and preliminary results suggested that it lived for five days with the hunting arrow stuck in its back. It died of a secondary infection that resulted from the wound, according to the Huntsville Times.
The juvenile’s written confession was obtained after a joint investigation by NOAA agents and conservation officers from Alabama and Florida, according to the statement.
Authorities also seized the bow allegedly used in the incident.
The juvenile’s identity was not being released.
Killing, harassing or harming a dolphin is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, according to NOAA. Violators face either criminal or civil prosecution, and can be punished with a fine of up to $100,000 of up to a year in jail per violation.