Helen the Dolphin Dies at SeaWorld, Ending Her 26-Year Imprisonment in Aquarium and Marine Park Tanks

Published by Elena Waldman.

After the recent death of Helen the dolphin at SeaWorld San Antonio, PETA is renewing our urgent call for SeaWorld to release the whales and dolphins it currently exploits to reputable seaside sanctuaries, where they can live out the rest of their lives in peace.

Leading up to her death at SeaWorld, Helen spent a large portion of her life in miserable captivity. She was captured in 1996 after becoming caught in a fishing net off the coast of Japan—a “rescue” that led to her confinement to aquarium and marine park tanks for nearly 26 years of her life.

Due to her injuries from becoming entangled in discarded fishing gear—which traps, injures, and kills countless dolphins and other “nontarget” species each year—Helen’s pectoral flippers were reportedly partially amputated, and she was deemed non-releasable back into her natural habitat. But instead of going to a legitimate sanctuary, she was shipped from one aquarium to the next. In April 2021, she was sent to SeaWorld San Antonio, where she died less than a year later—meaning that she spent the majority of her life being exploited, even up to her final days.

PETA’s Work to Empty SeaWorld’s Tanks Continues—and You Can Help

Thanks to PETA’s intense, decades-long campaign against SeaWorld, we’ve pushed the company to end its sordid orca-breeding program and to stop allowing trainers to stand on dolphins’ faces and backs in cruel circus-style shows— in addition to a mountain of other victories. But we aren’t done yet—at least not until the “abusement” park agrees to end its use of dolphins and whales and relocate them to real seaside sanctuaries, where they can swim in large areas of the ocean and enjoy more natural lives.

It’s too late to save Helen, but you can still take action for other animals still suffering at SeaWorld.

SeaWorld’s barren tanks are no place for dolphins (or any other animals), including injured ones who are ineligible for release. Take action below to help them:

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind