Dolphin in Zoo Choked to Demise on Fake Seaweed

A captive dolphin has died at a Swedish zoo right after it ingested a piece of artificial seaweed that experienced been positioned in its tank.

The dolphin named Nephele died at the Kolmården Wildlife Park on January 15. An autopsy done on March 13 confirmed that the faux seaweed became lodged in her throat and prevented her from breathing.

The dolphin was taken from the wild near Florida again in 1989, when she was all over 9 yrs aged, in accordance to wildlife charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC). Kolmården then obtained her from an additional zoo in Germany in 1994.

Bim Boijsen, chief veterinarian at Kolmården, advised Newsweek that staff members at the park have been “deeply saddened” by what occurred to Nephele.

A inventory image displays a captive dolphin swimming in a pool. A dolphin at a wildlife park south of Stockholm, Sweden, died immediately after choking on seaweed, an autopsy observed.


“In accordance to the autopsy, Nephele experienced ingested some of the artificial seaweed utilized as environmental enrichment. The piece of seaweed experienced sadly become positioned in this kind of a way that it affected her respiration. Of course, we acquire this severely and are deeply saddened by what has took place,” Boijsen said.

“Enrichments are vital for furnishing animals with a stimulating and dynamic atmosphere. We have now taken several steps to reduce nearly anything equivalent from going on again. We have taken out the seaweed from the pool, increased our checks on enrichment and are in the process of developing and improving documentation to make it easier to detect deviations.”

The preserving of marine mammals this kind of as dolphins in captivity has extensive been a controversial subject. Businesses like WDC are actively working on strategies versus keeping the animals in tanks.

Dolphins are incredibly clever creatures and thrive on social interaction with other people. Animal welfare advocates have noted that a tank in a marine park are unable to maybe give these clever creatures with adequate stimulation.

“Like us, dolphins need to have to come to the area to breathe, and choking in this way must have been a traumatic encounter for Nephele,” Danny Groves, head of communications at WDC informed Newsweek.

“As an alternative of making an attempt to make the captive atmosphere much more like the wild—a pointless pursuit—why not just leave whales and dolphins in the ocean the place they belong, with their people and social groups, and plenty of actual seaweed?”

According to WDC, over 60 dolphins have died at Kolmården since they initially started out theatrical dolphin demonstrates in 1969. The charity also observed that the park was intended to shut down its dolphins exhibit two yrs in the past, on the other hand it is nevertheless up and operating. The park still has 11 resident dolphins.

“It is hard to comprehend why some continue to see retaining whales and dolphins in captivity for our entertainment as a fantastic concept. Nephele would have been completely happy roaming for miles each day wild and free of charge in the ocean. But right after becoming snatched from the sea at the age of 9, she endured a daily life or boredom in a little tank,” Groves said.

“Her tragic dying is a chilling reminder of why captive whale and dolphin reveals must be phased out for very good. Swimming endlessly in circles, some lie on the flooring of their tanks for several hrs, chew on the sides of the pool and repeat the exact patterns of actions above and more than.

“A life so devoid of purely natural stimulation that personnel at this facility had to increase pretend seaweed to the tank for ‘environmental enrichment’ explanations and, presumably, to visually greatly enhance the reveals that Nephele carried out in,” Groves explained.

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