Wounded and Scarred Dolphins at the Miami Seaquarium

Published by Jennifer O'Connor.

Many people know that an endangered orca named Lolita has spent the last four decades at the Miami Seaquarium jammed in the smallest tank in North America. But Lolita isn’t the only animal living in misery at the facility. Marine biologist Dr. Ingrid Visser and another observer recently visited the Seaquarium and documented numerous serious issues related to the dolphins who are forced to perform at the theme park.

© Heather Murphy

Three dolphins used in the “Flipper Dolphin Show” appear to be suffering from open wounds on their lower jaws, and all four have extensive scarring, indicating past injuries. Other dolphins were seen with wounds and scarring on their dorsal fins.

Despite their injuries, the dolphins were still made to perform, even though the tricks may have contributed to their injuries or, at the very least, may be hindering them from healing. Among other demeaning tricks, trainers plant their feet on the animals’ faces so that they can be pushed around the tank and they stand on dolphins to “water-ski” and use them as diving boards.

Several other dolphins were seen repeatedly banging their heads into a grate at the bottom of a different tank.

© Heather Murphy

© Heather Murphy

What You Can Do

PETA has lodged a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture about the dolphins, but in the meantime, ask the Miami Seaquarium to release Lolita to a rehabilitation center.

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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