Breaking! Dolphinaris Arizona Temporarily Closed For Investigation; Remaining Dolphins To Be Relocated

As previously reported by WAN at the beginning of this month, another dolphin, 22-year-old Kai, had died at the Dolphinaris Arizona, a swim-with-dolphins tourist spot in the desert near Scottsdale. Tragically, this marked the loss of the fourth of its eight dolphins since the controversial facility opened in October of 2016.

Animal welfare organizations and activists have been opposed to Dolphinaris Arizona ever since it was in the planning stages. The desert is no place for captive dolphins, especially since the stress of being in captivity makes them more susceptible to valley fever, a deadly fungal disease.

When Kai died, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) sent a letter to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which oversees marine mammal parks, asking for an investigation of the conditions at Dolphinaris Arizona and a health assessment of the surviving dolphins by a team of experts including APHIS and non-governmental organization (NGO) veterinarians.

That request has apparently been granted. Dolphinaris Arizona is closing. Unfortunately, it’s only on a temporary basis while “an outside panel of experts reevaluates the facility, environmental factors, and all aspects of animal welfare at the facility.”  

During the closure, the remaining two dolphins will be taken to “another licensed facility in the United States,” according to a statement shared by Care2.

Dolphin Quest, the Hawaii-based company that loaned some dolphins to Dolphinaris Arizona, has since announced that it has terminated its animal loan agreement with the Arizona-based facility. Two of the surviving dolphins that belong to Dolphin Quest, Noelani and Liko, will be returned to the company; probably via FedEx, which shipped the dolphins there in the first place.

May those experts determine that the only long-term solution is to permanently shut down Dolphinaris Arizona and to free those two dolphins from captivity. May it be a lesson for all facilities that keep these majestic creatures as prisoners in captivity.


  • Please sign and share this petition urging Dolphinaris Arizona to release its surviving dolphins on a permanent basis.

  • Join over 226,000 people who have signed this petition telling FedEx to refuse to transport animals that are held in captivity.

  • If you live near the area, join one of the protests held outside Dolphinaris Arizona. Check the Dolphin Free AZ Facebook page for dates and times.

  • Boycott — and tell everyone you know to boycott — tourist attractions that profit from keeping animals in captivity.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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