Scott: Multiple deaths illustrate Dolphinaris inadequacies

Three dead dolphins are three too many.

The fact that their lives ended at just 7, 10 and 11 years old serves as the exclamation point at the end of the statement: Shut down Dolphinaris Arizona!

Don Scott

When bottlenose dolphin Khloe died Dec. 30, 2018, she became the third dolphin inmate to die within the dolphin prison Dolphinaris Arizona, built secretly on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in 2016. The dolphin prison was constructed on sovereign tribal land, free from public input, and sits alongside the Loop 101, where it ingests a sickly mix of highway exhaust and desert dust particles.

Dolphinaris Arizona is in the business of selling tickets. Do what it takes to inspire the public to drop hundreds of dollars to spin the turnstiles and shuffle through the doors.

Once inside, additional revenue drivers are encouraged. If you didn’t purchase the Beach Club pass in advance you can still indulge with overpriced drinks at the bar or a $15 burger served on the “beach” adjacent to the Beach Club. And nothing says relaxation like a spa, so be sure to indulge in one of those, too.

Dolphinaris Arizona knows that families will want to memorialize all this human fun in one place, so expect to pay an astronomical price if you want photos since your camera isn’t allowed. Oh, and the dolphins!

Yes, how could we not mention the dolphins — the main attractions — who were shipped to the desert via FedEx crates as captives to spend their short lives confined to concrete pools that not only serve as an abysmal home but, for three dolphins and counting, location of death.
Three dolphins have died at Dolphinaris Arizona: Bodie, age 7, died Sept. 23, 2017; Alia, age 10, died May 22, 2018; and Khloe, age 11, died Dec. 30, 2018. Dolphins in the wild can live to be 40; our deceased dolphins lived a combined 28 years.

Dolphinaris Arizona is about the almighty dollar, nothing more. They can’t be trusted, nor should they. Each death has culminated in the same press statement takeaway: we did all that we could do. In other words, sh** happens and the show will go on tomorrow.

To the Arizona public, I and so many fellow animal-welfare advocates appeal to you to please show your love and appreciation for these highly intelligent, majestic creatures by seeing them in the wild and donating to organizations and causes that truly protect dolphins and their habitats. The love for dolphins you take into Dolphinaris Arizona is this corporation’s cash cow.

To our Arizona media, please be investigative journalists instead of naïve, gushing fans who participate in swim-with-dolphins features, playing right into the promotional trick bag. When a local anchor started her report on Khloe’s death by saying “We are saddened to report,…” NO! We’re done being sad. We’re angry. We’re fed up.

Animal exploitation, confining animals and forcing them to perform for human entertainment only to watch them suffer and die does not induce sadness, nor would Bodie, Alia or Khloe have wanted you to feel sorry for them. But they would have wanted you to be angry while working to free them from prison for crimes never committed.

Editor’s Note: Don Scott, Fountain Hills, is a volunteer State Council representative for the Humane Society of the United States – Arizona.

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