WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Earlier in August, a baby dolphin was reported to have died while playing tricks in front of tourists in a Bulgarian water park.
- While the dolphinarium denied that the incident ever happened, a zoo biologist also told BTV Novinite that a calf performing in live shows 9 days after birth has never occurred in the park.
- So far, six animals have already died at the park for the past five years, according to the animal rights group Four Paws.
BBC reports, citing BTV Novinite, a 9-day-old dolphin suddenly died while performing at a Bulgarian water park earlier last month.
One spectator, Bisser Lyubenov, recalled that the incident happened at a dolphinarium in Varna City where the dolphin abruptly stopped playing and performing tricks.
The show reportedly ended early and visitors were asked by park staff to leave. Even then, tourists got a glimpse of the baby dolphin’s body in the park’s café, according to another spectator.
While the dolphinarium denied that the incident took place, zoo biologist Tsvetan Stanev also told BTV Novinite that both the baby and its mother had been separated from other dolphins after the calf’s birth.
“You can’t have a mother leaving its child in order to take part in the show. This can happen about six months after birth. A baby dolphin taking part in performances nine days after it was born — this has never happened in this dolphinarium!” he said.
Yavor Gechev of the animal rights organization called Four Paws said this isn’t the first time the water park has been involved in controversy. Over the past five years, at least six animals including five dolphins and a seal have reportedly died at the park.
Gechev also said that this number which is purportedly higher than those of other parks, means that conditions for keeping such animals don’t even comply with the minimal standards. “The animals are struggling there, they are not surviving,” he said.
Bulgarian legislation had also seen a recent change that now allows two sea lions at the dolphinarium taking part in live performances, noted Four Paws.
Gechev said that these shows will be ‘hell for the animals’ should shows using sea lions will be permitted. “Lawmakers need to change the way they think, and consider banning or limiting the existing performances with dolphins instead,” he added.
Several people took to social media pushing for the water park to be shut down following the baby dolphin’s death.
One user wrote, “I saw the show once and I’m still horrified about the way the dolphins get treated!”
The dolphin’s death comes after images of a shriveled elephant in Sri Lanka emerged two weeks after, triggering outrage from animal rights activists.