Animal rights activists concerned for remaining dolphins at Dolphinaris

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Animal rights activists took to the streets to show their concern overt the well-being of the four remaining dolphins in Dolphinaris.

"There needs to be a stop to this, dolphins do not belong in the desert," said Vanessa Hernandez, Dolphin Free AZ supporter.

After news broke that a 22-year-old dolphin known as Kai died at Dolphinaris, many members of the public are seeking answers.

"50 percent of the dolphins here down the street have died within the last 16 months," said Hernandez.

Kai is the most recent of four dolphin deaths since the opening of the facility.

"We are devastated by our losses and are getting help from external experts to help ensure the health of these dolphins," read a portion of the statement released by Dolphinaris officials.

Danielle Riley of Plea for the Sea says that's not good enough.

"We are also asking that the facility come out and release a necropsy report so that we can understand what's happened to these four dolphins and what are the risks that the remaining four dolphins have," said Danielle Riley, Chairman of Plea for the Sea.

A necropsy like an autopsy, would reveal the cause of death, something animal rights activists claim Dolphinaris hasn't exactly been transparent about.

Danielle says because dolphins are extremely socially intelligent mammals that depend heavily on their pods and their families, when they're put in shallow tanks in captivity they can experience psychosis.

"There are reports of dolphins banging their heads, of swimming around in circles, of trying to dive deep but are unable to, these are animals that are being taught to preform tricks for food and starved," said Riley.

Dolphin Quest, the company that loaned Kai to Dolphinaris, publicly announced they have terminated their loan agreement with Dolphinaris.

"In spite of their best efforts, the animal health concerns have not been resolved at Dolphinaris. We have a senior marine mammal specialist from Dolphin Quest onsite at Dolphinaris who knows our remaining dolphins well and is closely monitoring them. They are bright, alert and in good condition at this time," said Dolphin Quest officials.

Dolphin Quest adds "they have contacted the USDA and are working with them moving forward."