From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1996:

Marine World Africa USA
was encouraged by the early progress
of bottlenose dolphin calves born to
Sadie, 16, on April 29, and Stormy,
21, on May 13. Sadie is the only
adult female dolphin at the park who
hasn’t previously raised a calf successfully,
but after two weeks she seemed
to be doing well, after a previous failure.
A third Marine World dolphin,
Terry, 35, was expected to give birth
just as ANIMAL PEOPLE went to
press. The father of each calf might be
either Bayou, 21, or Schooner, 20.
The Waikiki Aquarium, in
Hawaii, was unable to save a fivefoot
sand shark rescued from a tangle
of fishing net on April 24 by skin diver
Russ Brown. An autopsy indicated the
shark had probably eaten part of the
net as well as the fish she found in it.

Pono, one of two pseudorc
a s brought to the Sea Life Park in
Makapu’u, Oahu in 1992, from the
Kamagawa Sea World near Tokyo,
Japan, died on May 10 of a bacterial
infection. The only other pseudorcas
in the U.S. are the survivor, Maluhia,
and a group at Sea World of Florida.
The Vancouver Aquarium,
fighting a ban on keeping cetaceans
proposed by members of the popularly
elected Vancouver Parks Board, on
April 11 won the British Columbia
School Superintendents’ Association
1996 Award of Recognition. Also
involved in developing a system for
watching whales in the wild by video,
from shore, the Vancouver Aquarium
hosted 53,180 students in 1995, and
presented an outreach program to
another 15,603.
Members of the Royal
National Lifeboat Institution o n
March 22 released a seven-year-old
female conger eel to begin her spawning
swim to the Sargasso Sea.
Accidentally caught in a fishnet in
1989, the eel grew to seven feet long
and 70 pounds at the Dove Marine
Laboratory in Cullercoats, Tyne and
Wear, then was sent to the Tynemouth
Sea Life Centre when she outgrew her
tank as her eggs ripened. After spawning,
nearly two miles below the ocean
surface, she will die.
Opened in March 1995,
the $97 million Florida Aquarium
was expected to draw 1.8 million visitors
within 12 months. It actually
drew just one million, perhaps
because the ticket price of $13.95 per
adult is highest for a facility without
performing marine mammals , and is
reportedly in serious financial trouble.
Nine major aquariums have opened
since 1990, with about 50 more in
planning or development, but the
aquarium boom that began with the
1981 opening of the Monterey Bay
Aquarium seems to have ended: each
new facility now seems to cut into the
success of others.
Nikki, a 14-year-old dolphin
who was one of two delivered
to the Worlds of Fun theme park in
Kansas City just days earlier, died
of unknown causes on April 14. The
small tank and noisy atmosphere at the
Worlds of Fun dolphin exhibit have
been longtime targets of protest led by
People for Animal Rights. The
Worlds of Fun dolphins are supplied
each summer by Marine Animal
Productions, of Gulfport, Mississippi,
directed by Mobi Solangi, whose dolphin
captures in the 1970s and 1980s
were highly controversial. The
Worlds of Fun deal with Marine
Animal Productions expires this year,
however. “At the end of the season,”
public relations manager Leslie Kuske
told Paula Barr of the Kansas City
Star, “we will evaluate all aspects of
the program and determine whether to
extend the contract.”
Echo, a blind and starving
harp seal rescued as a yearling i n
1992 by the Okeanos Stranding Center
of Long Island, died on March 15 at
the New Jersey State Aquarium in
Camden, New Jersey. Echo was the
only harp seal on exhibit in the U.S.
While in captivity, her weight
increased from just 52 pounds to 170.
Four animal deaths
marred the March 1 debut of the
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s $57 million
open-ocean wing. An attempt to
exhibit blue sharks in the new wing
failed when first a seven-foot female
was euthanized on Valentine’s Day
because of a jaw infection she developed
from rubbing against the tank
walls, and then a four-foot male died
from a digestive upset eight days later,
just a week after being captured to
replace the deceased female. While
many sharks do well in captivity, blue
sharks, relatively common in the wild,
have never lived long in a tank. The
longest survivor lasted seven months
at the New Jersey State Aquarium.
Adding to the somber mood in
Monterey, the sea otter April died at
Sea World San Diego on February 16,
from an infection that followed the
stillbirth of her baby. Rescued in
1991 as an orphaned three-week-old
pup, April spent eight months in a
rehabilitation program at the Monterey
Bay Aquarium, and apparently
returned to the wild successfully, but
began to associate with humans again
after becoming pregnant last summer.
She was retrieved from the wild and
sent to Sea World in October 1995, as
the Monterey Bay Aquarium was
phasing out its rescue program. Sea
World had already ceased accepting
stranding victims, due to the August
31 discovery of the deadly morbilla
virus found among wild dolphins
along the California coast. April,
however, was deemed healthy enough
to give a home.

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