Florida wildlife officials are investigating six smalltooth sawfish and two bonnethead sharks found dead on the side of the road in the Florida Everglades, according to Fox13.
An employee from the Everglades National Park found the deceased sawfish and bonnethead sharks, then promptly reported them to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), two of the sawfish were missing their rostra, the part of the animal visually similar to saws, while another sawfish had been cut up for meat, left as just a carcass.
A biologist will examine the remains of the animals in order to determine the cause of death, according to the report.
Smalltooth sawfish, along with rays, skates, and sharks are members of a group of fish known as, “elasmobranchs,” according to the NOAA. Under the Endangered Species Act, smalltooth sawfish are classified as endangered and are legally protected from harm.
Smalltooth sawfish live mostly in “tropical seas and estuaries,” according to the NOAA. They are only able to reproduce every other year, and when they do, their litters tend to be between 7 and 14. (RELATED: Hungarian Scientists Accidentally Create New Type Of Fish)
“The loss of these six animals is nearly equivalent to one mother’s entire litter,” the NOAA explained, according to Fox 13.
NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is offering $20,000 to anyone with any information on who may be responsible for the death of the smalltooth sawfish and bonnethead sharks.
Need $20,000? Then help @NOAA
investigators figure out who is responsible for killing six critically endangered smalltooth sawfish and two bonnethead sharks in Everglades City. #Rewardhttps://t.co/dMTCGAb10L pic.twitter.com/u67561Ta6B
— CBS4 Miami (@CBSMiami) October 22, 2020