UPDATE: 2/5/19 8:50PM EST:
Dolphinaris Arizona has announced the facility will be temporarily closing.
According to the statement, an outside panel of experts will be reevaluating “the facility, environmental factors, and all aspects of animal welfare at the facility.” The investigative panel reportedly includes veterinarians, pathologists, water quality experts and animal behavior specialists.
Four dead dolphins in the Arizona desert. Who is to blame? In my humble opinion it’s Dr. Jay Sweeney. Dolphin dealer, Jay Sweeney and his business partner Dr. Ray Stone are most responsible for this mess. Both are very experienced marine mammal veterinarians. Both live in Arizona. Both know better than anyone else that dolphins do not belong in the desert. Their insatiable appetite for more money is what caused the four unnecessary deaths. These two “doctors” need to be called out publicly. These animals are nothing more than a “rental unit” to Dolphin Quest. Sweeney and Stone need to be exposed. -Richard O’Barry
What happens when four dolphins die in captivity over the span of 16 months? You protest Dolphinaris Arizona! And that’s exactly what happened when over 250 people showed up in Scottsdale today, speaking up on behalf of dolphins! Organized by DolphinFree AZ, a local group of grassroots campaigners, people of all ages took to the streets, holding up signs which helped educate on the issue of dolphin captivity, and called out Dolphinaris Arizona on the deaths of their dolphins.
In addition to the protest, Dolphin Project lent our support by procuring a plane to fly a banner all weekend over various high-profile locations in the Scottsdale area, including Arizona State University, The Phoenix Open and Dolphinaris Arizona. The plane’s banner – Dolphinaris: Why Are 4 Dolphins Dead? – draws attention to the facility’s disturbing track record of 50% of their captive dolphin population perishing in only 16 months.
And our voices were heard, loud and strong!
As the demo was wrapping up, Dolphin Quest, the company responsible for loaning dolphins to Dolphinaris, formally terminated its animal loan agreement with Dolphinaris per an email sent to the press Saturday afternoon.*
*Source: ABC 15 Arizona, 2/2/19
— matt sorum (@mattsorum) February 2, 2019
According to the statement provided to the media by Dolphin Quest, the company is “evaluating next steps for the remaining two Dolphin Quest animals.” Kai’nalu, a 22-year-old bottlenose dolphin euthanized on January 31 after falling ill approximately two weeks ago was one of the three dolphins on loan from Dolphin Quest. The other two are Noelani, an 11-year-old female bottlenose dolphin and Liko, a 19-year-old male bottlenose dolphin. Prior to the park’s opening in October 2016, the three mammals were shipped from Hawaii via FedEx to the Arizona facility.
While it is unclear what Dolphin Quest plans to do with the remaining two dolphins, what IS clear is that protesting works! Let’s keep the pressure on Dolphinaris Arizona and encourage others to NOT buy a ticket to any dolphin show!
“Dolphins are free-ranging, self aware, creatures of the sea. We have been keeping them in captivity since 1938. We should have learned by now that dolphins and other whales don’t belong in captivity and they definitely don’t belong in the desert. The death of yet another dolphin in the desert serves to expose a vile, greedy industry which is totally out-of-control.” ~ Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director of Dolphin Project
Fourth Dolphin Dies at Dolphinaris Arizona
Third Dolphin Dies at Dolphinaris Arizona
Another Dead Dolphin at Dolphinaris Arizona
Little Transparency Over Disappearing Dolphins
History of Dolphinaris Arizona captive dolphins – PDF document