An investigation is under way in the Gulf of Mexico where over the past couple of weeks, several dolphins have been shot, stabbed, and ones tail torn off.

According to the head of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi Moby Solangi, who is cited by the Associated Press, there have been at least four recent cases in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and a total of six this year.

“Once we got a rash of them, we realized it may be a trend. We started seeing there’s more to it than just mortality, It’s just an odd time when you don’t usually see animals dying at this time of year,” Solangi told the AP.

While the marine mammal official doesn’t believe the dolphins are being killed for profit, he did say, “It’s cruel. It’s senseless. It’s repugnant, and it’s illegal.”

“Whoever it is, they're deranged. It's not civilized not only to kill animals senselessly, but to mutilate them,” Solangi added.

According to the AP, the dead dolphins were brought to the institute for Marine Mammal Studies Studies for examination and have since been handed over to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

If caught, the criminal(s) could face up to a year in jail and be fined $100,000 for killing the protected species.

Anyone with information on the person or persons responsible for these crimes is encouraged to call the IMMS dolphin line at 1-888-767-3657, NOAA at 1-800-853-1964 or Marine Patrol dispatch at 228-523-4134.