Animal rights activists claimed Monday that a SeaWorld dolphin calf’s death was caused by inbreeding.
The 16-year-old mother was born at SeaWorld San Diego and was transferred to SeaWorld Orlando in January 2016. She had four unsuccessful pregnancies before arriving in Orlando.
“Given her age and the previous unsuccessful pregnancies, Ringer had been on contraceptives for several years,” the SeaWorld statement said. “This pregnancy was unexpected and our SeaWorld animal care and veterinary teams monitored her health and well-being very closely throughout her entire pregnancy.
However, PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange challenged SeaWorld’s story and said the “calf’s death is no surprise” and called it “another sad story at SeaWorld.”
“Two of the three male Commerson’s dolphins at this park are related to the deceased calf’s mother, yet SeaWorld allowed her to become pregnant again, despite her history of inbreeding and failed pregnancies.,” Lange said. “While this dolphin died without ever getting to feel the ocean’s currents, SeaWorld can still save the other marine mammals in all of its parks by moving them to seaside sanctuaries.”
Aquatica is home to the four remaining Commerson’s dolphins owned by SeaWorld. It is the only place in the United States where the black and white dolphins can be viewed in captivity.
SeaWorld failed to respond to a reporter’s question about whether Ringer was related to the father of the calf.
“The team responded immediately when the calf began to show signs of distress, a few minutes after birth, but unfortunately were unable to resuscitate the calf,” according to the statement. “Despite the loss of her calf, Ringer appears to be doing well. She successfully passed the placenta after giving birth and has begun to eat again.”
Ringer is under 24-hour observation and is not on display at the park. A necropsy will be performed on the calf to determine the cause of death.