On Sunday, survivalist Gary Golding appeared in an episode of Discovery Channel reality series Naked and Afraid called "Alone: Gary of the Jungle." During the show, Golding had to navigate a jungle in Belize by himself, although he did befriend a turtle that he named "Timmy." Becoming besties with a large reptile isn't even in the Top 500 most fucked up things that you can do when you're alone in a Central American jungle, so all good there.
That same day, TMZ released a watermarked video of Golding on Aliso Beach in southern California, where he found, grilled, and ate a dead baby dolphin. Chutes and ladders, Gary. Chutes and ladders.
In the almost three minute-long video, Golding says that he "can relate" to a group of seagulls that are scavenging the small corpse. He approaches the dolphin, pulls out a knife, and slices the thing's body lengthwise. "I wanna know if there's plastics in the stomach, or balloons," he says, although he seems to lose interest before he answers that question.
He continues to cut into the dolphin, taking its heart and carving thick strips of flesh from its back. "I'm the scavenger on Naked and Afraid, right? So I'm going to live up to my… to what I do," he says.
"I'm going to eat dolphin heart. I guess I'll eat what you call dolphin backstrap. Now the thing is, because I don't want to let this thing go to waste, something you've seen me do before on television, now you get to see me do right here on the coast of California." (OK, settle down, Gary. You're a 10-minute walk from a Gelson's Market, a pizza joint, and a five-star hotel.)
Golding then carries the meat, the heart and the dolphin's dorsal fins to a portable grill in what appears to be a public parking lot, because that's clearly the best possible place to prepare it. "On the beach of Southern California, literally eating baby dolphin," he says, biting into the heart. "I've never done that before. I've never seen that done before."
Well, Gary, that's because it's illegal. According to the Orange County Register, the Laguna Beach Lifeguards and the law enforcement branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are investigating whether his poorly advised, partially decomposed lunch was in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
"One of the reasons that we ask people to report strandings of marine mammals is so that we have a chance to examine and learn from them, understand why they died, and what that may mean to the population,” NOAA spokesperson Michael Milstein, told the outlet. “We lose that chance if they are butchered on the beach.”
The Marine Mammal Protection Act, which went into effect in 1972, established that it is illegal to take any marine mammal—including cetaceans like whales, dolphins, and porpoises—within the United States. Any violations of the act could result in fines of up to $28,520 per incident of taking a stranded animal or up to a year in prison.
Although Millstein is too professional use the words 'fucking gross,' he did add that eating a dead dolphin probably isn't the safest thing to do. "People have gotten ill and died from botulism after eating marine mammals,” he said. “It can be difficult to tell how long an animal may have been dead and lying on the beach. Marine mammals can also hold contaminants such as toxins from harmful algal blooms.”
On an unverified Twitter account, Golding posted two tweets claiming that he just had no idea that he couldn't grill and eat a dead dolphin. "I would never touch or harm a Living Dolphin in or out of a protected area and I would never condone anyone harm any Marine Animal EVER. That is absolutely not acceptable behavior," he wrote.
"Educational opportunity: I never knew you couldn’t pick up dead animals off the beach. DO NOT EVER IT. I would NEVER harm a Marine Mammal and I NEVER have."
Here's another Educational Opportunity, my dude: next time, maybe just hit up that Gelson's instead.