NORTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas – Animal safety experts sent out a warning to Texans visiting North Padre Island this weekend after biologists reported a dolphin in the area appeared to have shown “increasingly aggressive behavior.”
According to NOAA Fisheries, the dolphin became accustomed to humans after reportedly separating children from their parents in the water, and isolating swimming pets from their owners.
Experts believe constant human interaction with the dolphin is to blame for the increased aggression.
Biologists and law enforcement have warned residents and tourists to not seek out the dolphin for over a year, but many have sought it out anyway, according to NOAA Fisheries.
If the dolphin is seen, animal safety experts urged visitors to avoid it “at all costs,” even if it shows signs of friendliness. NOAA Fisheries recommends visitors maintain a minimum of 50 yards away from it.
Those who are caught interacting with or harassing the dolphin could face up to $100,000 of fines and imprisonment for up to one year, according to NOAA Fisheries.