AN endangered dolphin was killed after beach-goers reportedly pulled it from the water in order to take photos with it.
The Franciscan dolphin died last week at the Santa Teresita resort in Buenos Aires, Argentina, after a scrum of people were photographed grabbing two or the marine animals out of the surf and passing them around.
Hernan Coria posted images on Facebook showing two dolphins being held aloft like trophies while grinning tourists were seemingly unaware or unbothered about the animals' discomfort.
Another photo showed at least one of the animals had been left on the sand to die.
After the images from Santa Teresita emerged, the Argentine Wildlife Foundation issued a warning to the public about the dolphins' vulnerability in the hope that it will prevent similar incidents.
"The Franciscan, like other species, cannot remain for much time out of the water. It has thick fatty skin which provides warmth, so the hot weather will cause rapid dehydration and death," a spokesperson wrote on the charity's website.
"At least one of the animals [from the photos taken in Santa Teresita] died. The incident prompts us to inform the public about the urgent need to return these dolphins to the sea if one is found on the shore. It is vital to help rescue these animals, because every Franciscan counts."
The Argentine Wildlife Foundation reports that the Franciscan dolphin is one of the smallest and rarest dolphins in the world. It is "vulnerable to extinction" with just 30,000 believed to be left in the wild.
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