October 1st, 2016 (Lee-Anne Butler). The hunt is on for the person who shot a female bottle-nose dolphin that washed ashore in Port Elizabeth this week.
Police are investigating the killing after the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) opened a criminal case this week.
Marine biologist Frikkie van der Vyver discovered the dolphin’s carcass on Wednesday at Maitland Beach after receiving a call about a seal in the area.
“After a quick inspection of the dolphin we found what looked like a bullet hole in the left flank.
We transported it to our lab and after dissecting it we found a bullet lodged in the rib bone.
It had pierced both lungs,” he said. Van der Vyver said Isabel Callealta, a PhD student who conducted the necropsy and health assessment, had determined the gunshot wound had caused the dolphin’s death.
“It was definitely alive when it was shot. It was a mature dolphin that was lactating so it had had a calf recently,” he said.
He said a number of dolphin and seal carcasses had been found along the Port Elizabeth coastline, some with bullets still lodged in their bodies.
“We have also heard reports from people in the Seaview or Beachview areas who say they hear gunshots coming from vessels out at sea.”
He said this year they had found two Cape fur seals with bullets still lodged in their bodies.
“In other carcasses it appeared as if bullets had passed through, but it is difficult to prove as some are already rotting when they are found.”
Regarding the latest incident, Van der Vyver cited two possibilities.