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Dolphin Found Dead at Texas Aquarium

Written by Michelle Kretzer | April 25, 2012

PETA is calling for a U.S. Department of Agriculture investigation after D.J., a 15-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, was found dead on the floor of his tank at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi. Trainers said that D.J., short for De Janeiro, was acting unusual and not eating the day before he died. He is the second dolphin to die at the aquarium—Cobie, also just 15, died of pneumonia in 2007.


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In the wild, dolphins swim up to 100 miles per day in family pods or tribes of hundreds. 

Untimely deaths are the rule for marine mammals in captivity. At SeaWorld alone, between 1986 and 2011, 25 orcas died—and not one from old age. The unending and debilitating stress of captivity weakens marine mammals’ immune systems, causing them to die earlier than their wild counterparts, who live for decades. Those who don’t succumb to intestinal gangrene, acute hemorrhagic pneumonia, pulmonary abscesses, chronic kidney disease, chronic cardiovascular failure, septicemia, influenza, or other health problems may take their own lives by hitting their heads against the sides of pools or simply not coming up for air.

Please watch dolphins only at the beach, not in tanks.

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  • Anna says:

    Where can I find more information about this???

  • Michelle says:

    Seriously, if you think that dolphins are rescued, you need to watch “The Cove” movie by Ric O’Barry. You will see first hand the insanity of trainers who get first pick at newly captured dolphins in Japan. Then the ones who are not “lucky” to be placed in captivity til they decided to commit suicide, are killed in the most awful manner; a stab through the head and left to bleed out. The fishermen are told that they are helping the government with “pest control” can you believe that?! So, don’t buy a ticket to a show at an aquarium, and spread the word.

  • Ashley says:

    Anyone who wants to know more about whales and dolphins in captivity should look up a documentary called “A Fall From Freedom”. It is very informative and shows the nasty side of places like seaworld and how those places really feel about the animals they claim to care about, and it explains all of the many reasons that cetaceans do not belong in captivity.

  • Louise says:

    Then those people will have to either save up to fulfill that or just not see them. It is pure selfishness and cruelty to these intelligent, beautiful, free animals out of their natural habitat just to give some humans a few moments of happiness. When I think back at the times I have been to aquariums or zoos, I feel sick and heartbroken for the animals.

  • Jason says:

    Beth- If you take the Boat Ferry to Port Aransas, which is approx 25 min from The Texas State Aquarium, you will see many dolphins swimming happily alongside the boat and you are free to oberve them from the deck.

  • Saundra says:

    @ Beth- Most aquariums housing these captive animals are on the coast ( such as this one) – why visit the aquarium when you can instead visit the beach &/or take a tour and see them happy and free .

  • Katy says:

    Hey Beth…why don’t you sit in a cage and let the dophins come to you?

  • Bethany says:

    I apologize for my ignorance, but I always thought that the marine mammals kept in these Aquariums were there b/c they were too (for lack of a better word) domesticated to survive on their own in the wild. I thought they were either rescued b/c they had been injured or that they were bred in captivity. Is that not the case? Do they really take these creatures out of the ocean just to show them to people and put them in tiny cages? That is really upsetting. I never really had an issue b/c I always viewed them as a sort of animal rescue, but from what I’m reading on here that’s not the case.

  • Ashley says:

    Beth, do you really think that animals should have to suffer and die both during live capture and in captivity just so that people can have the pleasure of seeing them up close? What a sick an out dated way of thinking. What a selfish reason to cause suffering. Seeing them in some crappy tank doing some dumb, corny show is truly sad an disappointing anyway.

  • Ray Budiardja says:

    I believe that the trainers and other staffs at Texas Aquarium already did their best in keeping D.J. Poor dolphins.

  • Beth says:

    What about people who can’t afford to travel all the way to the beach, but really want to see real live dolphins up close?

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