ARIZONA NEWS

Tests fail to pinpoint cause of death for 3rd deceased Dolphinaris dolphin

Feb 15, 2019, 5:10 PM
(Dolphinaris Arizona Photo)...
(Dolphinaris Arizona Photo)
(Dolphinaris Arizona Photo)

PHOENIX – A necropsy couldn’t determine a cause of death for Khloe, the third of four dolphins to die at the now-shuttered Dolphinaris Arizona park, the company said Friday.

When Khloe came to the controversial Scottsdale facility in 2016, she had a weakened immune system because of a parasite called Sarcocystis.

Dolphinaris announced the 11-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin’s death on Dec. 31, 2018.

“While we wanted the necropsy to tell us more, sometimes tests are not definitive,” the company said in an email to KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“In fact, it is common that tests never pinpoint exactly what caused an animal’s passing, particularly one like Khloe who had lived with a health condition for six years.”

The email said Dolphinaris would continue testing and share results with experts to help treat other dolphins affected by the parasite.

A month after Khloe’s death, a 22-year-old male named Kia became the fourth dolphin to die at the facility, which opened amid protests in October 2016.

Last week, Dolphinaris voluntarily closed the location indefinitely so it could be thoroughly inspected.

Many people hope it stays shut.

When Dolphinaris announced it would open its first U.S. location, 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.

Critics also argued that the facility’s 1 million-gallon tank was too small, and the dolphins would be deprived of social and psychological stimulus.

On Sept. 2017, a 7-year-old male named Bodie died of what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which tracks marine mammals in captivity, recorded as a fungal infection. Dolphinaris initially reported that Bodie died from a rare muscle disease.

Then in May 2018, Alia, a 10-year-old female dolphin, died after suffering from an acute bacterial infection.

Bottlenose dolphins typically live between 30 and 50 years.

Dolphinaris has four other parks in Mexico.

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Tests fail to pinpoint cause of death for 3rd deceased Dolphinaris dolphin