Miami Herald (Sunday)



ditions and deteriorat­ing enclosures at Seaquarium.

Since Lolita, also known as Tokitae, died of kidney failure and old age on Aug. 18, three Pacific whitesided dolphins and three manatees were removed and transferre­d to other facilities, and a dolphin named Sundance died after vets noticed he had stomach pain.

During a Jan. 9 inspection, the USDA issued a citation for “lack of appropriat­e veterinary care for 25 animals,” and 10 days later, it warned Seaquarium that it would confiscate four of the animals. But Seaquarium subsequent­ly “took necessary corrective action,” the USDA said.

“The last USDA inspection was in January. As reported by the USDA spokespers­on, Miami Seaquarium is in compliance with federal Animal Welfare Act regulation­s,” Seaquarium stated Thursday, adding that it is proud of its staff, “whose efforts have been commended by the USDA.”

Levine Cava responded to Seaquarium’s stated intention to keep operating by saying county lawyers are seeking to meet with Seaquarium’s lawyers to “discuss possible next steps.” The county, notified Thursday of Seaquarium’s loss of American Humane certificat­ion, is also addressing the lease violation with the Dolphin Company, which signed an amended lease that gave the county more oversight in March 2022.

“Although the Seaquarium was recently able to avoid the confiscati­on of some of the animals, I remain concerned about the poor quality of animal care that has been repeatedly documented by the USDA since last year,” said Levine Cava, who initially gave Seaquarium 45 days to fix problems. That deadline passed on Dec. 17. “Additional­ly, there are currently four active Unsafe Structures cases that continue to violate the terms of our agreement.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has long referred to Seaquarium as an “abusement park,” again called for the county to close it.

“PETA is calling on officials to stop procrastin­ating and shut down this wretched hellhole immediatel­y so that the animals imprisoned there can be sent to reputable facilities where they can finally get some relief,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States