Dolphin Show Canceled Sunday As Aquarium Mourns Loss Of Another Calf

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Heartbreak for trainers and staff at the National Aquarium. A baby dolphin died Saturday night– the second death in a less than week. Now the aquarium is trying to figure out why.

Adam May has more on the calves’ sudden death.

Two unnamed baby dolphins– each around 3 months old– suddenly died at the National Aquarium. 

The first was found dead in the pool last week.  The second showed signs of heavy breathing and decreased appetite before she underwent an unsuccessful medical procedure Saturday night.

“This is just devastating for our staff,” said Sue Hunter, director of animal programs. “I’ve been here 20 years and I’m just devastated by the loss. We’re all very sad right now.”

As a result, the dolphin show was canceled Sunday.

“For those guests that came here today we actually refunded that portion of their tickets and some guests donated that money to help with research here at the aquarium,” said Charles Meyers, director of visitor services.

Last March, an 11-day-old calf also died. Testing revealed an infection.  New tests performed by Johns Hopkins Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology are pending.

“Baby bottlenose dolphins are very, very fragile in their first year of life,” Hunter said. “The mortality rate for these animals in aquariums and oceans is 33 percent, which is high for a species.”

The aquarium still has eight dolphins. The dolphin shows continue next week.

  • Georgeanna Modlin

    These dear mammals dont belong in captivity. The unhappiness they must go through is sad.

  • Tom Faulkner

    I was at the dolphin show years ago and asked the young trainer if the dolphins were happy in captivity. They’re fairly smart animals and if you’re truly familiar with their behavior there may be signs of their contentment. The trainer just gave me a nasty look and said nothing.

    • Oceania89

      That’s too bad that she wasn’t polite…I work with dolphins, and I’m shameless about telling people exactly if they’re “happy” or not. Well, we can’t ask them if they’re “happy”, as this is a human emotion–what we can gather, however, is that they behave exactly the same as dolphins in the ocean. This is measurable contentment.

      In her defense, we get asked this so much (most of the time people already have their minds made up) it becomes grating. Besides friends and family, dolphins are my one true passion. It’s hurtful and irritating when people repeatedly shove their fingers in our faces and accuse us of being “prison wardens”. This is uneducated and fighting an effort to inspire people to care about dolphins in their natural habitat. It’s too bad she reacted that way. Know that trainers have nothing to hide!

  • Kimberly Blackwell

    animals r animazls there gonna die sooner or later it depenmds on the animal it wasnt tariums faulthe aqu

    • Can You Say...GED?

      In the future, get a dolphin to proof-read your comments.
      It will make you appear much more intelligent.

      • Don


        Funniest thing I’ve read in weeks

    • izzy

      How about go back to school and LERNZ Yuze some Spellingz skillz.

  • izzy

    Yeah, devastated for themselves.. did they ever mention the parents? Dolphins are extremely intelligent… show should have been canceled for THEM, not for the trainers.

  • Cheri

    I boycott all types of animal, whale and mamal shows. i would rather see animals in their natural envirionment not in an extremely small area just to see them perform. The only way to stop this is to not suport, in anyway, this type of show. These are not circus clowns.

    • Splash

      I am with you on that, Cheri.

      However, I would be willing to pay to see a clown swim to the surface and belly-flop onto a pedestal to earn a raw fish treat.

  • Chris

    Such a shame, these poor animals kept in a small tank all their lives

  • KET

    Animals should not be used for “entertainment.” Most particularly animals like dolphins, who are highly intelligent, communicate with a complicated series of sounds, live in well developed family and social communities, and show astounding empathy toward the feelings and suffering of other living creatures. Dolphis routinely travel 40-50 miles every DAY in the wild, and these captive dolphins are formed to live in small enclosures and develop significal psychological issues trying to replace that activity with nothing else to do but swim around and around in circles. Sickening what we humans define as “fun” to watch.

  • Bambi Ghys

    That’s not the only creature dying at the Baltimore Aquarium. I have worked at aquariums and know the real behind the scenes killing and hiding that goes on. No living donations at 99% of all so called rescue places. Only a few to make them look good but many others died. Just another hypocrite turning up the fire on another dancing dophin.

  • Lisa Harrington

    I recently brought my three year old boy to visit the National Aquarium, and overall, was not impressed. I typically refuse to patronize zoos, but thought that the Aquarium’s commitment to research/preservation made them different. I left the dophin show depressed. The poor animals seemed bored, the trainers even more bored, and more interested in talking amonst themselves. I actually wrote a letter to the Director and got a “canned” response letter in return.

  • Bambi Ghys

    I know what’s really killing the world’s oceans at an unprecedented rate. No, It’s not shark fin soup in a far away land. It’s hiding right there under your own noses disguised as a business of conservation and education. Association of zoo’s, aquariums, wholesale facilities and Pet Stores kill more life in one day than others do in a whole year. Tens of million’s killed world wide on a daily basis that never stops is the real culprit of the mass extinction doomed for sea life everywhere. Fish, corals and inverts from the sea are the only creatures on the planet that have NO rights what-so-ever leading to their (on-purpose) deaths for our viewing pleasure.
    Most of the world is covered with ocean and the creatures in it. Do we really need to bring it all on land to live in a box to die for a few days claiming we saved them from the sea by doing so? After all, educating our children in what will soon be gone in the world’s oceans is very important for them to get one last good look at what we killed for our viewing pleasure, nothing more! Better to feed a whole country with fish from the sea than kill the same amount everyday in the aquarium industry for no good reason. Our hearts are in the right place but they’re beating to the wrong drum.

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