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Isabella
13-10-03, 15:37
La Paz racks up 3 more dolphin deaths

October 2003




La Paz was hit by two fierce hurricanes this season, Ignacio and Marty. With plenty of advance warning, the residents of La Paz were able to prepare their homes for the onslaught and in many cases, to move out of harm's way. The dolphins held captive at FINS, a swim-with-dolphins facility at La Paz, had no such advantage. There was no talk of their evacuation, no contingency plans for relocating them if their enclosures were damaged or their water compromised by the storms. The dolphins were left to face the storm alone, powerless against the surging tides and pummeled by the waves, trapped within the confines of their sea pens.

Though there was no visible damage to the sea pens in the wake of the hurricanes, it soon became apparent that the storms had wreaked their havoc in other, more ominous ways. Javier Ahedo, the dolphins' trainer said that the deaths "were the result of high levels of contamination due to the large amount of trash and debris washed down by hurricanes, along with over flowing of the city's waste treatment plants. The amount of trash that came down on the dolphins' pen is unbelievable. The waves caused by hurricane Marty went over the fences and deposited lots of debris in them." (Gringo Gazette, 2003)

Quinta, the 20-year-old alpha male, was the first dolphin to die. Upon autopsy, a foreign object, apparently washed into the pen during one of the storms, had become lodged in his esophagus. Concha, the 19-year-old female and Quinta's mate, died the very next day of liver complications. She was six months pregnant with Quinta's baby at the time of her death. The third death, also attributed to the contaminated water, was that of a young male dolphin named Ricky. All of these deaths were preventable.

Reputable captive marine mammal facilities have emergency evacuation plans in place so that animals can be protected from harm during storms and other disasters. Dolphins in tanks may be relocated to an indoor swimming pool and dolphins held in sea pens are typically released so that they can brave the storm as nature intended. Sadly, the facility at La Paz had no such plans in place to protect their dolphins.

Authorities at the Semarnat, the ministry of environment, and Profepa, the federal government's environmental wing, are closely monitoring the investigation into these dolphin deaths and have taken samples of the dolphins' tissue for testing.

The Mexican government prohibited the capture of dolphins in Mexican waters following the questionable capture and transport of the original La Paz dolphins in 2000. The center at FINS was effectively shut down as a result of the controversy, however, Javier Ahedo and his family continue to allow visitors to swim with their dolphins for a "donation".



http://www.wspa-usa.org/ for more info.

[ 13. October 2003, 16:39: Message edited by: Isabella ]

swimfanc42tr
13-10-03, 15:48
:( How horrible..

chocco
13-10-03, 17:21
That is truly horrible. :(
These were beautiful creatures, just tragic! :mad:

Isabella
14-10-03, 00:53
Many of the "swim with the dolphins" programs are very poorly monitered and do not meet the regulations needed to keep the dolphins healthy.