A video showing a young dolphin being taken out of the water to allow beachgoers take photos with it, has led to uproar across social media.
Crowds gathered around the small animal on the beach resort at Santa Teresita in Argentina after a man picked it up.
But it appears the poor creature quickly overheated and died while out of the water.
Left dead on the sand, people still gathered around to take pictures of the endangered La Plata or Franciscana dolphin, which usually has a lifespan of up to 20 years.
The species is considered vulnerable because there are only about 30,000 left in the world.
The incident has led to an outpouring of disgust across social media, while the Wildlife Foundation in Argentina has urged people to return beached dolphins to the sea as soon as possible
The Guardian reports:
One of the smallest dolphins in the world, the Franciscana or Plata dolphin measures between 1.30 and 1.70 m long. It gets its name from its brown skin tones, reminiscent of the habit of the Franciscan monks.
It is found only in Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina – mainly off the coast of Buenos Aires province. The Franciscana is thought to number fewer than 30,000. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), it is vulnerable to extinction; for years about 500-800 dolphins were caught annually in fishermen’s nets in Buenos Aires province.
The Franciscana, like other dolphins, cannot long remain out of water, the foundation said. Its very thick and greasy skin provides warmth, but out of water, warm weather will quickly cause dehydration and death.