Update: Dolphinaris Arizona announces temporary closure to evaluate facility

Kai, 22, died at Dolphinaris Arizona on Jan. 31. (Photo by Dolphinaris Arizona)

Dolphinaris Arizona near Scottsdale will be temporarily closing beginning Friday, Feb. 8 while an outside panel of experts reevaluates the facility, environmental factors, and all aspects of animal welfare at the facility, officials say.

The closing is a voluntary and proactive measure by Dolphinaris while the team works with an outside panel of experts to investigate potential factors that may have contributed to the death of dolphins at the facility since its opening in October 2016.

The investigative panel includes veterinarians, pathologists, water quality experts and animal behavior specialists who will assess all aspects of the facility and operations and report their findings and any recommendations, according to a press release.

Dolphinaris is committed to applying the highest zoological standards and most recent animal welfare science when attempting to provide environments that meet the animals’ behavioral and physiological needs, the press release stated, adding that it is committed to ensuring the wellbeing of the remaining dolphins.

Two of the four remaining dolphins which were on loan to Dolphinaris from Dolphin Quest, will be transferred back to Dolphin Quest. The other two remaining dolphins will be transferred to another licensed U.S. facility while Dolphinaris Arizona is evaluated.

“We are heartbroken by the loss of our dolphin friends and are grateful to the efforts of our staff and partners during these difficult times — especially our trainers, who have given so much love, time and energy to caring for our dolphins and educating our guests,” Dolphinaris General Manager Christian Schaeffer de Leon, said in a prepared statement. “We hope to find a long term solution for the welfare of our dolphins.”

Dolphinaris Arizona is located in the OdySea In The Desert Complex on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community at Via de Ventura and the 101 in Scottsdale. Dolphinaris Arizona is a licensed facility, has met and exceeded all U.S. government standards, and passed all inspections by the USDA with no violations, the press release stated.

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