Following the recent deaths of Stella the Beluga whale and Unna the orca, another captive animal—this time a dolphin named Dart—has died at SeaWorld in San Antonio. The 12-year-old performing dolphin died of vague “health-related issues” last weekend, according to the aquatic theme park. Every new death at the self-proclaimed conservationist facility continues to raise the question of how damaging it is to hold free-roaming sea mammals in captivity and use them for entertainment. SeaWorld first came under fire in the CNN documentary Blackfish and has since seen drastic decline in attendance and sales, particularly at its San Diego park. Despite numerous protests, a public boycott instigated by pop star Harry Styles of One Direction, run-ins with local legislation, and these three unfortunate deaths, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby has made no effort to reintroduce the animals held captive into the wild and instead only restructured the money-making Shamu show into a “natural” orca experience, a thinly veiled attempt at regaining public trust that SeaWorld is a conservation organization.
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