SALT RIVER PIMA-MARICOPA INDIAN COMMUNITY, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- FOX 10 has learned that crews have removed the Dolphinaris sign from the facility's building, a week after its closure.
On Friday, a viewer sent a photo to FOX 10, showing crews removing the Dolphinaris sign, letter by letter. By the time the viewer took the photo, crews have already removed most of the sign, with the letters "R", "I", and "S" from "Dolphinaris" still hanging on the exterior wall. The viewer said a temporary sign for one of the restaurants near the facility has since been put in place of the original Dolphinaris sign.
Dolphinaris officials say they took down the signs to avoid confusion, as visitors were still stopping by the facility to see the dolphins.
Officials decided to temporarily close the facility, after the death of Kai, a 22-year-old dolphin that was euthanized following deteriorating health.
Kai is the fourth dolphin to die at the facility. In September 2017, seven-year-old Bodie died from a rare muscle disease. In May 2018, 10-year-old Alia died from a bacterial infection that spread quickly, and 11-year-old Khloe died months later, in December 2018, after a six-year struggle with a chronic illness.
Initially, officials say an outside panel of experts will reevaluate the facility, as well as environmental factors, and all aspects of animal welfare during the voluntary closure. However, multiple sources have since told FOX 10 that the closure is permanent. As recent as February 8, officials still maintain the closure is temporary.
"I imagine that some people are imagining that is the case, but the facility is being evaluated, so the closing is temporary until the findings are in and an assessment can be made," wrote a facility spokesperson.