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Trouble at Sea(World): Problems Mount as Dolphin Bites Girl

Written by Michelle Kretzer | February 26, 2014

Victor Hugo said, “An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.” And SeaWorld is finding out exactly what that means.

Problems keep mounting for the marine-mammal abusement park. Barely more than a year after a PETA complaint prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to cite SeaWorld Orlando for violations of the Animal Welfare Act—including allowing dolphin and orca tanks to fall into dangerous disrepair—the park has racked up more, repeat violations for many of the same issues.

Nakai was injured on a sharp metal edge in his tank while reportedly fleeing from an aggressive altercation with two other orcas.© Ingrid N. Visser, Ph.D.

Nakai was injured on a sharp metal edge in his tank while reportedly fleeing from an aggressive altercation with two other orcas.

SeaWorld was just cited for failing to maintain the flooring at its Sea Lion and Otter Stadium. The rubber flooring on which the animals walk during shows was dangerously dislodged and littered with paint chips. The park had been issued a repeat citation in 2007 for the same problem. During the most recent inspection, SeaWorld was also cited for continuing to keep dozens of expired surgical sutures—which can become unsterile, result in premature suture failure, and lead to life-threatening infections in the animals—in its surgery room despite a previous USDA directive to develop a protocol for disposing of expired sutures.

When it comes to violating animal welfare laws and endangering animals, the park’s attitude seems to be “meh.”

Maybe that’s why yet another no doubt frustrated captive dolphin has bitten a child. A dolphin at SeaWorld San Antonio’s Dolphin Cove latched onto the hand and wrist of a 9-year-old girl so tightly that the child’s mother was unable to free her and a SeaWorld employee had to intervene. PETA has filed a formal complaint with the USDA asking the agency to investigate and hold SeaWorld accountable for endangering both the dolphin and the public in violation of federal law.

Dolphin Biting Girl at SeaWorld

Many children have been bitten by stressed animals at SeaWorld’s parks, most recently in December 2012, when an 8-year-old girl sustained puncture wounds while hand-feeding a dolphin at SeaWorld Orlando.

This most recent incident happened just a few days after another dolphin was born into a lifetime of captivity at SeaWorld Orlando’s Discovery Cove. Let’s hope the park doesn’t choose to separate the baby from her mother, Rose, and ship her off to a different park.

And if SeaWorld is ignoring all the other signs that it’s time to free the animals, there was one that it certainly couldn’t ignore. PETA employee Alka Chandna took a bold stand during the company’s presentation at the Washington, D.C., Travel and Adventure Show last Saturday. Here’s the video:

At about the same time, more than 100 protesters were lining the entrance to SeaWorld Orlando, flanking both sides of the road with signs decrying SeaWorld’s cruelty. The information was enough to make several drivers turn around and leave. And those who still entered the park certainly had some food for thought as they stared at majestic ocean animals living in tiny tanks.

SeaWorld Orlando Demo 2-22-14

To try to save face, SeaWorld is waging an expensive media war complete with misleading information, discounted tickets, and Facebook contests. But the park can’t run from the truth.

Help show SeaWorld that you’re not buying it—either its propaganda or its tickets. For the latest news and shareable posts, “like” PETA, Blackfish, and The Cove on Facebook. And be sure to e-mail SeaWorld and tell it that the animals there have suffered enough and deserve to spend the rest of their lives in ocean sanctuaries.

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  • Ash says:

    I am 100% against seaworld. DO NOT GIVE MONEY

  • carole green says:

    what has happened to that dolphin,is it being punished because people have driven it nuts,all this needs to end now

  • Lauren says:

    So sad and just shows how money hungry sea world is to treat these animals like this.
    It amazes me that people get surprised when these bored, frustrated and abused animals bite,injure humans.
    Sea world needs to be closed for good and all the other parks/attractions affiliated with it.

  • Cynthia Stone says:

    How many more deaths is it going to take SeaWorld, til you get it through your ignorant thick skulls, these animals do NOT belong in captivity, yet you still are fighting to get your trainers back in the water with the whales…REALLY??? Well, why not start catching yourself some great white sharks and try training them. Don’t you get it??? This is not their natural environment, they are NOT yours to abuse and mistreat. They belong in the open ocean, with their natural pods….I will never support SeaWorld, more so after watching that spokesperson after Dawn Blancheau was killed, insinuating it was her fault, amazing how he caught himself, how absolutely ignorant. It was not her fault, nor should any blame be put on her or any trainer. You are putting peoples lives in danger, get a grip!!! Its all about $$$$$ with SeaWorld plain and simple.

  • What is happening to Seaworld? When will their animal sites be shut down? Does anyone know?

  • funkyrooster says:

    i hate sea world and circuses! they torture animals!

  • Ruth says:

    SeaWorld, How many more people are going to get hurt before you realize that those animals DON’T BELONG IN A CAGE!!!

  • Thank you Alka for your bold move … keep up your passion – so many of us old folks have almost given up!

  • I TOO was bit by a dolphin at seaworld Orlando’s park. I think it was in 2008. My daughters and I were doing dolphin feeding when one took my hand and wouldn’t let go. When I finally got free we ran over to a trainer. There were huge bite marks and swelling….. And their very first words were “do you have the attack on film or video?”.

  • Tori says:

    Hi this is tori from Las Vegas I have a daughter she is 2 I wouldn’t take my daughter to see the sea world ! She can see it out in the sea . There’s a lot of cruelty in this world :(

  • robin ensminger says:

    If your making money of these animals the money should be spent on there care im for one and my famley will not be a part of your park

  • Carlie says:

    Tanks but no tanks! No Sea World for me or my family. I’d rather see them in the wild :)

  • SANDY SCHWEIGHARDT says:

    So release them all! A puchure wound! She’s lucky the dolphins didn’t pull her into the pool. Enough is enough. Let them all go free!

  • Isn’t this the 3rd time a dolphin has bitten someone at this exact Discovery Cove in Seaworld Orlando….within a span of just 3 years?

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