A newborn Commerson’s dolphin has died at SeaWorld’s Aquatica water park in Orlando, Florida—just minutes after being born.

News broke early last month that the newborn’s mother, Ringer, was pregnant, even though park officials claim that employees had been giving her birth control and previously stated that they had no plans to breed Commerson’s dolphins (also known as a “skunk dolphins” or “panda dolphins”) or bring any more into the park. But despite Ringer’s sad history of inbreeding and failed pregnancies, they allowed her to become pregnant again.

Ringer has been pregnant several times, and all of her babies have died. At least one of the pregnancies was by her own father, and there’s a good chance that this latest baby was inbred as well. The park never announced who the father was, but of the three male dolphins Ringer lives with, one is her father and another is her half-brother. Seriously, WTF!?

Like all the animals it holds captive, Commerson’s dolphins have a heartbreaking history at the park. In 1983, SeaWorld captured 12 of them from their home waters in Chile to display at its San Diego park. Only half of them survived longer than six months.

Commerson's Dolphin | bfurlong | CC BY-SA 2.0 

In nature, dolphins don’t need to take birth control and they don’t breed with their family members. They raise their own babies and teach them to dive, jump, and play in the open ocean. A cramped tank is no life for a baby dolphin or any other wild animal.

IMG_1937 | ravas51 | CC BY-SA 2.0 

What You Can Do

Never go to any SeaWorld park, and tell the company to stop making excuses and put a plan in motion to retire the captive animals to sea sanctuaries where they’ll have a more spacious environment and some semblance of a normal life.

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