A baby dolphin that beached itself on the shores of Mojacar in southeastern Spain was quickly surrounded by a mob of curious beachgoers, many out for a good selfie, reports Newsweek. The calf was likely sick or had become separated from its mother, and someone called the local emergency number. But by the time Equinac—a local nonprofit dedicated to helping stranded marine wildlife—arrived 15 minutes later, the dolphin was dead, reports People. Equinac posted an emotional plea on Facebook imploring onlookers to never forcefully touch an already stressed animal, noting that the baby dolphin was touched by many, had its blowhole covered repeatedly, and quickly died of heart failure.
"Once again we note that the human being is the most irrational species that exists," the post reads. "There are many [who are] incapable of empathy for a living being that is alone, scared, starved, without his mother and terrified.... All you want to do is to photograph and poke, even if the animal suffers from stress." Another baby dolphin suffered a similar fate in Argentina last year after being passed around for selfies, reports the Washington Post, triggering a round of public shaming. But "hundreds" of people surrounded the dolphin in Spain, and Equinac warned that people disturbing and harming these highly protected animals may be a criminal offense. (Dolphins appear to chat much like humans.)