Investigating the Gulf Coast dolphin murders

Along the Gulf Coast, people are killing (and sometime gruesomely mutilating) dolphins in record numbers. At National Geographic, Rena Silverman goes in-depth on the killings, which investigators now believe are the work of multiple people who are not connected to one another. Xeni wrote about it last year, when that was apparently less clear. Is it less or more disturbing that this isn't likely to be an isolated dolphin serial killer?


  1. I’m gonna go with “more disturbing.” I don’t understand abusing any animal, but at least when it’s a dog, as wrenching as it is, you can at least come to terms with it – some people are sick, animals are helpless targets for sick people, dogs are abundant and easily come by, and certain breeds like pit bulls are demonized in our culture to such an extent that it increases their rates and severity of abuse, because people think it’s okay to hurt the “bad” dogs. But dolphins? You have to do a fair amount of planning and work to get into the element where dolphins exist, and to trap them, just to hurt them. And as far as I’m aware there is no thread in our culture teaching that dolphins are evil or worthy of punishment. I can’t even imagine how or why one person would get this idea in their head, much less several unrelated people.

    1. Even though I have wide connections in the Weird Thought world I know of only one, old thread saying that dolphins are evil.  H. P. Lovecraft really had it in for them.  Fishy things in general but sea mammals especially.

    2. Some people are weirded out by them being at times exceptionally sexually aggressive (even towards humans). I could see that perhaps sparking perhaps one fixated criminal trying to get rid of the “sea perverts” but it’s such a stretch that multiple people might get that idea? Neugh.

      The idea of it being a gang initiation baffles me, unless they’re, like, beach gangs or something.

  2. With so many, I suspect that there is something organized being done by someone with a degree of power. Most likely to my imagination is a gang using this as an initiation. 

  3. Who fucking shoots a dolphin?  The only silver lining I can see is that “Killing a dolphin or any other marine mammal is a federal crime punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and a year in jail.”  Go get ’em Feds.

  4. I wish I could afford armed drones. I’d hunt down elephant and rhino poachers, and these guys, too.

  5. When I worked on fish boats some of the fishers had a visceral hostility to anything that ate fish – especially things that ‘stole’ fish off their longlines etc. 

    On top of that, some blame the charismatic megafauna for the rise in enviro regulations meant to protect them.  Many are also well integrated into gun culture even here in Canada, I am sure that is more so in the Gulf of Mexico.

    I have little doubt it is common practice on a few of the more hardcore boats to shoot anything that gets near.

    1. This is the first compelling explanation of why the hell this could be happening that I’ve read. I hope whoever’s in charge of investigating these incidents has also considered it and is investigating accordingly.

    2. If you see the The Cove, the Japanese fisherman display that callousness (or hatred) when they lure, trap, and kill all the dolphins they can.

  6. This maybe considered racist…but many Vietnamese came to the gulf coast in the 70’s to shrimp and fish. They have a different cultural mind set about what is ‘right’ for their business when it comes to animals. 

    1.  Yep, that’s racist.

      I worked on boats that were almost exclusively white, and they did a hell of a lot of damage.

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