Baby dolphin ‘dies mid performance’ at water park after being ‘overworked’

Baby dolphin ‘dies mid performance’ at water park after being ‘overworked’

A dolphinarium in the city of Varna on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast has attracted criticism over the reported death of a baby dolphin.

Per BTV Novinite, an audience member alleges that the incident occurred during a live performance at the aquatic zoo earlier this month.

"There was a disturbance, the dolphins stopped playing and performing tricks," recalls spectator, Bisser Lyubenov. He claimed that the show was then cut short, and that they were asked to leave.

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According to another witness, the body of the dolphin could be seen by visitors in the park's cafe.

However, the dolphinarium denies that the animal died during the live show, and in front of children.

dolphin Credit: Getty

Tsvetan Stanev, a biologist who is employed at the aquatic zoo, says that the calf and its mother had been separated from the other dolphins since its birth.

According to the BBC, he alleged;

"You can’t have a mother leaving its child in order to take part in the show. This can happen about six months after the birth. A baby dolphin taking part in performances nine days after it was born – this has never happened in this dolphinarium."

However, concerns for the welfare of the animals at the facility have not been put to rest by this explanation. Yavor Gechev, from the animal protection organisation Four Paws, has highlighted that six animals - five dolphins and one seal - have perished at the park in the last five years. He claims the mortality rate is much higher than in other marine parks.

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"This means categorically that conditions don’t meet even the minimal standards for keeping such animals," he told the publication. "The animals are struggling there, they are not surviving."

Since news of the incident broke, outraged animal lovers have taken to social media to launch a petition calling for the closure of the park.

"I saw the show once and I'm still horrified about the way the dolphins get treated! It's clear that a big profit is made at the expense of the animals who are forced to perform too often," wrote one Facebook user.