Dolphinaris Arizona announces death of 11-year-old dolphin Khloe

Jan 1, 2019, 1:15 PM
(Dolphinaris Arizona Photo)...
(Dolphinaris Arizona Photo)
(Dolphinaris Arizona Photo)

PHOENIX — Dolphinaris Arizona in Scottsdale announced Monday that 11-year-old dolphin Khloe died Sunday.

Khloe, a female Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, joined the marine habitat in 2016 and suffered from a chronic illness due to a parasite called Sarcocystis for the past six years.

“This is an extremely sad day for our team at Dolphinaris Arizona,” general manager Christian Schaeffer said in a statement.

“Her condition has been managed with exceptional veterinary care for nearly six years as we called on dolphin experts globally to determine treatments that extended her life.”

Schaeffer said the parasite usually causes central nervous system and muscle disease and weakens the immune system.

According to Dolphinaris, the illness can also affect dolphins living in the ocean and the mortality rate is very high.

The habitat said it plans to conduct an animal autopsy and share its findings with the hope of better understanding the illness.

In May, a 10-year-old dolphin at Dolphinaris died from a bacterial infection, and in 2017, a 7-year-old dolphin died at the facility from a muscle disease.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, bottlenose dolphins typically live between 30 and 50 years.

When Dolphinaris announced it would open on Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community tribal land near the Loop 101 and Via de Ventura, more than 100,000 protesters signed an online petition opposing it.

One of the facility’s biggest attractions is that guests can swim with its dolphins, but opponents were concerned that the interactions could sicken the animals and people.

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Dolphinaris Arizona announces death of 11-year-old dolphin Khloe