A bottlenose dolphin has been photographed wrapped up in a T-shirt off the coast of Australia. Wildlife rangers are now searching for the marine mammal, fearing it could be in serious danger from their unusual fashion faux pas.
The Department of Parks and Wildlife in Western Australia was alerted to the situation after the Dolphin Discovery Centre received a report from a member of the public. The only sighting of the bottlenose dolphin was on January 26, the national holiday of Australia Day, around Koombana Bay in the city of Bunbury.
Worryingly, the dolphin hasn’t been seen since. Although it’s unclear what exactly happened, the rangers have suggested it could be the work of reckless pranksters.
“It is unlikely that the dolphin swam into the singlet [T-shirt], so this appears to be an intentional act. This could have been catastrophic for the dolphin if it had covered its blow hole and restricted its breathing,” the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Western Australia posted on Facebook.
Speaking to Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the department’s Pia Courtis said: “Dolphins are quite playful but it’s unusual for them to be able to swim through something like that and get it sort of stuck. Thankfully for it, it’s on the other side of its blowhole and its pectoral fins are out so it can still swim.”
If this was done intentionally by people, she added, those guilty could face a fine of up to AUS $4,000 (US $3,027).
Check out their Facebook post (below) for more information.