A 16-year-old Commerson’s dolphin is expecting a baby any day, according to SeaWorld. The birth was a surprise because the mother, named Ringer, has been on birth control.
SeaWorld expected the four Commerson’s dolphins at Aquatica to be their last, however the company has not made a commitment to stop breeding them. SeaWorld agreed to stop breeding orcas in March 2016 following pressure from animal rights groups.
Commerson’s dolphins resemble mini-killer whales because of their black and white markings. In 1983, SeaWorld obtained a dozen from the wild. But the lack of genetic diversity made it difficult to breed them long-term. SeaWorld had Ringer on birth control to phase out the dolphins because the population was so small and not genetically diverse.
“Dolphins in the wild don’t need birth control,” said PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange regarding the Aquatica pregnancy. “They can choose their partners, have families when they want to and teach their young to swim and play. Forcing another dolphin to endure a miserable life of swimming circles in a tiny tank is cruel, and it’s why PETA is calling on families to stay away from SeaWorld until the park agrees to move all marine mammals to seaside sanctuaries.”
SeaWorld Orlando did not return phone calls about the pregnancy.