Organizations Seek Details of Dolphin's Death at Arizona's Dolphinaris

Photo from Flickr by P Markham

Animal Defense League of Arizona, the Animal Welfare Institute, and Plea for the Sea have learned of the death of Bodie, a young dolphin at Dolphinaris Arizona. The seven-year-old bottlenose dolphin reportedly died in September at Dolphinaris, a commercial swim-with-the-dolphins facility near Scottsdale, Arizona.

The organizations are actively investigating Bodie’s death, including specific details about the nature of his illness and length of treatment and to determine whether other dolphins have become ill or have died since Dolphinaris opened in 2016.

The groups have repeatedly expressed concerns about the welfare of captive dolphins being housed in Arizona’s desert climate. The environment is a potential source of valley fever, a fungal disease that can lead to deadly respiratory infections in dolphins whose immune systems are weakened by the stress associated with captivity. Captive dolphins are highly susceptible to respiratory ailments, and the groups forewarned officials, the media, and the public that this was a probable outcome of housing dolphins in a dusty desert environment.

“Having participated in grassroots demonstrations opposing Dolphinaris, we realize the public wants and needs to have a clear understanding of the welfare of the remaining dolphins,” said Danielle Riley, chairman of Plea for the Sea. “As people become informed of the detriment that these highly intelligent marine mammals suffer in captivity, they are becoming less interested in supporting this inhumane industry.”

The organizations will continue to update the public on their investigation into Bodie’s illness and death, and the welfare of the remaining captive dolphins at Dolphinaris.

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Photo: Wild Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins in Pine Island Sound, by Pete Markham.

Media Contact

Amey Owen, (202) 446-2128, amey@awionline.org