Dolphin killed at SeaWorld in Orlando

April 27, 2008, 9:55 PM · I'm hearing reports about a dolphin being killed at SeaWorld Orlando's Discovery Cove park. Apparently, there was a mid-air collision with another dolphin. No more details at the time. Please post to the comments if you were there, heard details from employees, or saw a local news report.

Replies (5)

April 27, 2008 at 11:49 PM · In a word -- Ouch!

There's a link to a (very) brief story on the event here.

Based solely on that report, and my knowledge of dolphins, I have to say that I don't buy the "freak accident" angle. I would speculate that two animals, in different parts of the pool, were cued to do this jump within seconds of each other.

If one dolphin is in the water, and the other's already out of it on an aerial behavior, they'll both lose the normally-keen sense they'd have of each other's location. Given that, I think it's very possible (though rare) that such a collision could occur in a captive environment, but I would tend to believe that the fault would lie far more with the training staff than with the animals. This is certainly the first I've ever heard of such a thing.

I suspect that the trainer responsible was not keeping an eye on what their colleagues were doing. If this is indeed what happened, I feel sorry for them both, and I would hope that Sea World institutes any changes necessary to prevent something like this happening again.

I would still like to hear clear details of what happened.

Happy travels.

April 28, 2008 at 3:52 AM · What follows is the article that appeared in the Orlando Sentinel
A 30-year-old female dolphin died Saturday at SeaWorld's Discovery Cove after colliding with another dolphin during an aerial stunt.

Sharky was performing a jump for park visitors when she collided with the other mammal and died, said spokeswoman Becca Bides. Visitors who witnessed the accident were standing more than 50 feet away, Bides said.

This was the first time dolphins fatally collided at the park, Bide said. "Even though it's rare, we're taking this very seriously."

Bides said park officials will examine training protocols and the dolphins' aerial behaviors and routes.
As more news is reported I will add it to the comments.
The following comment was from News Redio 580 WDBO

A dolphin is dead after a freak accident at Sea World's Discovery Cove.

The 30-year-old dolphin named Sharky was doing her routine aerial tricks when she collided into another dolphin during a live performance. The other dolphin survived, but Sharky did not.

"It's an atmosphere where the dolphins pretty much say what they want to do. If they don't want to do something, its up to them. The trainers don't ever force them. It is all through positive reinforcement."

Sea World's spokesperson says they are launching an investigation to look at training protocols and the park.

Sean Gilligan told Channel 9 that he was visiting the park and witnessed the midair collision. "Just a freak accident. Dolphins have a very good sense of direction. I'm surprised they ran into each other, surprised one died."

The dolphin’s remains will be used for science and research and then will be disposed of according to federal guidelines.

April 28, 2008 at 5:03 AM · This is very sad news for me to hear( the tears are literally running down my cheeks as I write this), and I too have never heard of this happening anywhere, in captivity or known reports of it in the wild. Its just a tragedy that I honestly dont think it had to do with the trainers. My condolences go to them because they play, work with, and take special care of these beautiful creatures everyday. For this to happen in front of the guest makes this all even sadder. My prayers are with all of those involved. BTW...For those wondering why I am taking this so much to heart is because I absolutely love and respect dolphins and killer whales and my greatest dream and wish at one time in my life was to be a Sea World Animal Trainer. I have the utmost respect for what they do.
April 28, 2008 at 8:21 AM · This is sad news because dolphins are very beautiful and nice. We just booked our 3rd trip to Discovery Cove for May 13th. Dolphins are so interested in humans which is amazing. When I was in the US Navy many times I would walk to the bow of the flight deck and there would be a pack of dolphins leading us…
April 28, 2008 at 4:43 PM · I hear you Brian. I actually got really close to them from the hangar bay smokin sponsons when I used to be in the Navy myself(USS JFK). We'd be all stop for day of resting on a sunday and its like they even put on a little show for us and they were doin'flips and everything.

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