Featured Image Credit: Turkish Marine Research Foundation
Warning: this story contains graphic images.
During spring and summer, dolphins from near and far will flock to the Istanbul Strait to play around, hunt or to casually pass through the Marmara Sea and Black Sea.
But on June 4th, a male bottlenose dolphin was found shot, lifeless and stranded on the Tarabya coast of Istanbul Strait. Marine Mammal Specialists say this dolphin was killed with a shotgun at an extremely close range. Suffering from two gun shots, one to the head, which researchers later discovered was an old wound that had healed over, but the one to the lower jaw being fatal. They also later found more than 100 pellets suck in the dolphin’s head.
Experts of Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TÜDAV) say that this dolphin was extremely healthy, as he had a belly full of fish at the time of his death. The experts also predict that the dolphin was shot either in the Black Sea or in the northern part of the Istanbul Strait and his body was carried by the current of the Marmara Sea.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first lifeless dolphin that has been shot in and throughout the surrounding areas. On May 26th, 2015, there was a female bottlenose dolphin that washed up on the shore of Bebek. This dolphin has been claimed to have been shot by at least a single fire sidewise. Leaving six smooth edged bullet holes covering the body. Her attacker has been yet to be identified.
There are only three dolphin species in the entire Black Sea, and with more deaths on the rise, the dolphin population will slowly diminish. The dolphins are protected by the Turkish Law, however, the dolphin population has also been experiencing other losses via bycatch in fishing gear, prey shortage due to overfishing, pollution, heavy and noisy marine traffic.