No selfie is worth an animal’s life. This should go without saying, yet again and again, beachgoers can’t resist touching stranded sea creatures when they are at their most vulnerable.
This time, a baby dolphin died on a beach in Spain over the weekend, after the stranded calf was spotted struggling in the shallows and a crowd rushed to take photographs and touch it in Mojacar, Almeria.
Spanish authorities alerted Equinac, a non-profit organization that rescues stranded creatures, after the lifeguard became overwhelmed by the crowd that formed and was unable to protect the creature.
"Many people are unable to feel empathy for a living being which is frightened, starving hungry, without its mother and terrified,” wrote Equinac in a translated message on their Facebook page. "In their selfishness, all they want is to photograph it and touch it, even if the animal is suffering from stress."
The baby dolphin was allegedly passed around to hundreds of people, according to the International Business Times. Photographs even show children unintentionally covering its blowhole as they touch it. Unfortunately, the young calf did not survive the ordeal.
This is not the first time that such an incident has happened. In February of last year, another dolphin died on a beach when tourists passed it around for selfies.
While the beachgoers are clearly not responsible for its initial stranding – and it may have died nonetheless – it should go without saying that if you see a stranded marine creature, contact local authorities or a rescue organization. This will provide it with the best chance of survival.