A SOCIAL media frenzy has erupted after a rare baby dolphin died when it was taken from the sea by beachgoers wanting to pose with it for selfies.
Huge crowds surged around the young dolphin on a beach in Santa Teresita, Argentina, after a man scooped it from the sea.
Conservationists have condemned the action.
They passed the creature around to pose for pictures.
The dolphin overheated and died while out of the water. Its body was later left discarded on the sand.
The dolphin was a La Plata – or Franciscana - species, found in the waters around Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
With only 30,000 left in the world, it is considered to be a vulnerable species.
The Argentine Wildlife Foundation issued a statement warning against taking creatures from the sea.
It said: “The Franciscana, like other species, cannot remain for much time outside of the water.
“It has thick fatty skin which gives it heat and means that taking it out of the water rapidly causes it to dehydrate and die.
“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.”
Pictures being posted online have sparked a furious reaction.
On Twitter Hakan Rotmwrt said: “Tourists in #SantaTeresita, Argentina, took tiny La Plata dolphin from sea, handled it until it died. Punish them!”
Rob @robpim1982 added: “Well done people of #Argentina. This is everything that is wrong with this world - #MORONS.”
And ShannonDawnCarneyxo said: “Can’t believe a little dolphin in Argentina has died because people were taking selfies with it #shocking.”