Desert Dolphinarium Shuttered for Now

Dolphinaris, a swim-with facility in the Arizona desert near Scottsdale, opened with eight dolphins in October 2016. AWI and other groups alerted the proprietors and the public that housing dolphins in the desert was a bad idea—aside from the relentless sun, desert air is very different to ocean or coastal air and carries pathogens unfamiliar to dolphins. We were right to be concerned: Bodie, a 7-year-old male, died before the facility’s first anniversary. Alia (10) died 8 months later. Khloe (11) died in December. One month later, Kai’nalu, a 22-year-old male, was euthanized. In late February, the four remaining dolphins at Dolphinaris were moved to a sea pen (in a polluted bay) at Coral World Ocean Park in the US Virgin Islands. AWI has called for an independent investigation, but in the meantime Dolphinaris has closed temporarily to conduct its own investigation. AWI will work to make sure no more dolphins end up at the facility.

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