Sunday, July 01, 2007

Neglect caused dolphin's death

Daphne, one of two dolphins that died at Florida’s Gulfarium earlier this year, perished because of an employee’s negligence, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported. The pan tropical spotted dolphin, housed at Gulfarium since 1998, was treated with the drug metronidazole for longer than it should have been, USDA inspector Michelle Williams reported. Daphne’s death was attributed to “toxicity to the metronidazole,” Williams reported.

An animal death from human negligence is considered a “serious” violation of the Animal Welfare Act. However, the USDA has not punished the Okaloosa Island marine animal park for Daphne’s death. The agency did order Gulfarium’s administrators to communicate better with Dr. Forrest Townsend, its veterinarian.

Gulfarium’s longtime curator, Greg Siebenaler, resigned June 8 after findings of a federal government’s investigation became public. The investigation, which centers on the possible “unlawful taking” of an animal from the wild, is continuing, said agency spokesman Jeff Radonski.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"