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18 February 2016
A young dolphin died of suspected dehydration after beach-goers paraded it on a beach in Argentina to stroke it and take photos with it.
The rare La Plata dolphin, also known as the Franciscana dolphin, can live for up to 20 years and was paraded on the Santa Teresita beach for selfies even as it wriggled and eventually died.
The crowd continued to take photos even as it lay dead on the sand, reported The Mirror, which added that the dolphin was "picked up out of the sea by a crowd".
The final moments before the dolphin died was photographed by one Hernan Coria on Feb 11 and posted on Facebook.
The Daily Mail reported that the episode caused the Wildlife Foundation in Argentina to issue a public reminder about the vulnerable species, which is only found off the coast of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
"The Franciscana, like other species, cannot remain for much time outside of the water. It has a thick fatty skin which gives it heat and means that taking it out of the water rapidly causes it to dehydrate and die," they said.
"This occasion serves to inform the public about the urgent necessity to return these dolphins to the sea as soon as possible if they find them on the shore.
It is fundamental that people help to rescue these animals, because every Franciscana counts now."the Wildlife Foundation added.
There are only about 30,000 such dolphins thought to be left in the world.