Dolphinaris Arizona sees 4th dolphin death in less than 2 years
PHOENIX — A 22-year-old dolphin died Thursday at Dolphinaris Arizona, the facility’s fourth dolphin death in less than two years.
The marine habitat said in a press release that it euthanized 22-year-old Kai after he had difficulty swimming, eating and breathing for two weeks.
“Immediately after Kai started showing signs of health decline two weeks ago our team made every effort to save his life, including bloodwork testing, ultrasounds, x-rays, and engaging external specialists and submitting diagnostic samples to outside university veterinary laboratories,” Christian Schaeffer, the general manager, said in the release.
He said Kai seemed to be responding to treatment but his health rapidly deteriorated Wednesday night.
“After the veterinary team administrated hours of critical care, including providing him oxygen, medicine and x-ray testing, Kai’s condition continued to decline. We made the extremely difficult decision to humanely euthanize Kai ensuring he would pass peacefully,” he said.
“We recognize losing four dolphins over the last year and a half is abnormal,” Schaeffer said.
Kai’s death was preceded by 11-year-old Khloe’s death in December from a chronic illness due to a parasite called Sarcocystis that she had for six years.
In May 2018, a 10-year-old dolphin at Dolphinaris died from a bacterial infection, and in September 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.