POLICE in Spain are investigating after decapitated dolphins were found washed up with “Juan” carved into their bodies.
Authorities say the deep cuts in their bodies were definitely “produced by man” as they spelled out names or initials using a sharp knife.
They also believe an individual with expert knowledge of marine life is responsible because of the way the heads were cut off.
The shocking discovery was made along the coast of Almeria in Andalusia, causing great distress to walkers and sunbathers.
The Civil Guard has launched an investigation and is hopeful arrests will be made.
One of the dead dolphins was found stranded on the beach of Cala Príncipe in San José, Níjar.
When volunteers from the animal welfare group, Equinac tried to move it, they discovered its head had been severed and confirmed the cuts were made by a human and not through an accident with a boat or rocks.
The severed head was found on the shoreline nearby.
Police say there have been numerous other similar incidents.
Another mutilated dolphin had the name “Juan” carved into its side in huge letters.
Equinac is so disgusted by the deliberate acts that it posted a warning message on its social network, saying: “This message goes to you, the person who is cutting dolphins and decapitating them.
“Bear in mind that the Civil Guard of Almeria is conducting an investigation and they are very good.
“Neither the Almería Civil Guard, nor Equinac, are ignorant. We know the cuts are being made by someone who has experience in dismembering these, or other, marine animals.”
It went on to add: “But, in addition, we have in Almería an exceptional Civil Guard, both Seprona, GEAS, Maritime Service, OPC and the Chief Colonel himself who, beyond their functions as guarantors of the laws that protect fauna and the environment take it very, very seriously, and with great determination!”
“The message went on to express Equinac’s gratitude and pride of the “collaborative work that we have been developing for years with the Civil Guard Command of Almeria, and many cases have been brought to court thanks to them” as marine lives have rights, which are protected by laws.
A stern warning was issued out to the culprit at the end of the message.
It read: “If you go on, we will too, until we catch you.”