The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies said someone is injuring and killing dolphins off the Gulf Coast, the Associated Press reports.
Dolphins have been found shot to death, fins hacked off and jaws ripped off.
"It's very sad to think that anyone could do that to any animal," said Erin Fougeres, a marine mammal scientist for NOAA's southeast office in St. Petersburg, according to the Associated Press. "There have been some obviously intentional cases."
Moby Solangi, executive director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, told the AP that the crimes are almost unthinkable.
"We think there's someone or some group on a rampage," he said. "They not only kill them but also mutilate them."
Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told the AP Monday that they are asking everyone to be on the lookout for injured, maimed or dead dolphins and any unusual interaction between dolphins and people.
According to officials most of the dolphins have been found in the northern Gulf Coast, in Mississippi. None of the gruesome discoveries were in Florida.
In September, NOAA released a statement describing the attacks of a bottlenose dolphin found dead on on Elmer's Island in Louisiana.
Necropsy results showed the animal was shot on the right side just behind the blowhole, likely with a small caliber firearm. Later the bullet was discovered lodged in the dolphin’s lung.
According to NOAA, harassing, harming, killing or feeding wild dolphins is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Violations can be prosecuted either civilly or criminally and are punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to one year in jail per violation.