Update: Another day, another sad story at SeaWorld. A newborn Commerson’s dolphin died Saturday night at Aquatica—SeaWorld’s water park in Orlando, Florida—mere minutes after being born. News broke earlier this month that the newborn’s mother, Ringer, was pregnant, even though the park claimed that the four Commerson’s dolphins currently being held there would be its last and that she was receiving contraceptives.
Two of the three male Commerson’s dolphins at this park are related to Ringer, yet SeaWorld allowed her to become pregnant again, despite her history of inbreeding and failed pregnancies. Her calf’s death is no surprise. While this dolphin died without ever getting to feel the ocean’s currents, SeaWorld can still save the other marine mammals in all its parks by moving them to seaside sanctuaries.
Click here for more information about the dolphin deaths associated with SeaWorld’s breeding program.
Originally posted on May 11, 2017:
A Commerson’s dolphin named Ringer at SeaWorld’s Aquatica water park in Orlando, Florida, is pregnant and due to deliver at any time. It’s surprising news, considering that the company said that the four Commerson’s dolphins it currently has would be its last and that Ringer was receiving contraceptives.
SeaWorld obtained 12 of these dolphins (the black-and-white ones who resemble small orcas) who were captured and taken from the ocean in 1983. Half of the group was dead within a year. Breeding them was difficult because the small pod wasn’t genetically diverse enough. Ringer has been pregnant at least twice at SeaWorld, and both of her babies died. One of the pregnancies was by her own father, and there’s a good chance that this baby is inbred as well. SeaWorld has not announced who the father is, and of the three male dolphins Ringer lives with, one is her father and one is her half brother.
The company had grouped all the Commerson’s it holds captive together at Aquatica last year, and one, named Betsy, died soon after the move. Since three of the four remaining dolphins were closely related, the company said that they would be its last. If Ringer’s baby survives, he or she will endure a lifetime in captivity and may spend years alone after 16-year-old Ringer and the older Commerson’s have passed away.
SeaWorld is taking an “accidents happen” attitude toward Ringer’s pregnancy—one spokesperson said, “nothing’s 100 percent”—and admitting that an unplanned orca pregnancy is a possibility.
There will be no definitive end to the suffering of animals in SeaWorld’s abusement parks until they’re all retired to ocean sanctuaries.
Dolphins in nature don’t need to take birth control. They have families when they’re ready to, and they choose their own partners. They raise their babies and teach them to dive, jump, and play. Forcing another dolphin to endure a miserable life of swimming circles in a tiny tank is cruel—and it’s why PETA is calling on families to stay away from SeaWorld until the park agrees to move all marine mammals to seaside sanctuaries.
What You Can Do
Tell SeaWorld to stop making excuses and start making plans to retire the captive animals.