Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Marineland loses another dolphin

Marineland in Napier says a memorial for one of the park's two dolphins will not be held until her companion dies.

Shona died on Friday at the age of 36 after being ill for the past seven weeks.

The tourist attraction will be closed over the next few days, and two seals are being put in the pool with the remaining dolphin, Kelly, to keep her company.

Marineland's manager, Gary MacDonald, says Shona will be taken to Massey University for a post mortem today, but there will not be a memorial yet.

Mr MacDonald says the dolphin had been causing staff a lot of concern since early February when she stopped eating properly, but veterinary tests failed to show up any abnormalities. Staff noticed her at the bottom of the pool on Friday afternoon.

Mr MacDonald says Shona's death is a very sad event for all of Hawke's Bay and the staff at Marineland, who have a close and family-type relationship with all the animals in their care.
He says Marineland will be closed over the next few days as staff plan for the future.

Close down, says SAFE

Animal rights group Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) says Marineland should be closed down or turned into a rehabilitation centre for injured animals.

SAFE says while the marine park is not allowed to take dolphins caught in the wild, it can replace the dead dolphin with one bred in another park.

But spokesperson Hans Kriek says that should not be allowed as it is a well-known fact that dolphins suffer in captivity.

He says dolphins in the wild can swim more than 100km a day, but obviously cannot do anything of the sort in a swimming pool.

Mr Kriek says it is the dolphins which attract visitors to Marineland, and he suspects Napier City Council will close it down eventually.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"