GRAPHIC: Feds look for tips after dolphins found stabbed, shot in Florida

Federal authorities are investigating after two dolphins were found dead in Florida within one week. (Photo credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission/NOAA)

NAPLES, Fla. (Gray News) - Federal authorities are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the punishment of those responsible for the deaths of two dolphins in Florida.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement is investigating the case after biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission discovered a dead dolphin near Naples last week.

The dolphin appeared to suffer a bullet wound and/or sharp force trauma.

The same week, another wildlife group found a dolphin with a bullet in its left side along Pensacola Beach.

This comes less than a year after a dolphin was found with a puncture wound to its head off Captiva Island in May.

Biologists believe these cases stem from humans feeding wild dolphins. This is not advised, as it leads to dolphins being placed in harmful situations because they will associate boats with food.

Harassing, feeding or killing wild dolphins is against the law under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Violators face one year in jail and up to $100,000 in fines.

NOAA is asking for anyone with information on the attacks to call its enforcement hotline at (800) 853-1964.

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