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Saturday, 09.22.12

The Associated Press

SARASOTA, Fla. — Marine officials believe that a popular dolphin’s death in Sarasota stemmed from his close contact with humans.

For two decades, Beggar the bottlenose dolphin was known to beg for food from people at the Albee Road Bridge. His body was found Friday in the Intracoastal Waterway.

The Sarasota Herald Tribune reports ( that a necropsy didn’t identify an official cause of death. The report notes that fishing gear and human food were found in Beggar’s stomach. He also had multiple broken bones and external injuries from boat encounters.

Mote Marine Laboratory officials believe that by feeding Beggar, humans changed his behavior and put him at greater risk of boat strikes.

The newspaper reports that petting and feeding dolphins is illegal, punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and jail time.

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