Between 1976 and 2013, a small village in the Solomon Islands killed 15,400 dolphins—for their teeth. Prized for use as jewelry, currency and even as bride price, the teeth fetched about $0.70 apiece in 2013, according to a report published in the journal Royal Society Open Science. Researchers from the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium, Solomon Island’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute traveled to Fanalei in 2013 to investigate reports that the practice of driving and killing dolphins for their teeth had resurfaced despite an arrangement whereby Earth Island Institute would give the villagers cash in return for sparing the dolphins’ lives. In 2013 alone, this one village killed 1,600 dolphins, according to the report. The authors warn that the increasing commercial value of teeth, also used as currency, is likely to accelerate dolphin killing in the future.
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