SeaWorld officials recently announced that Betsy, a Commerson’s dolphin (also known as a “skunk dolphin” or “panda dolphin”) who’d recently been transferred from SeaWorld San Diego to the Aquatica park in Florida, died following an apparent “gastrointestinal issue .” The 33-year-old dolphin was stolen from her home in the wild when she was just a baby, and she lived most of her life confined to SeaWorld’s cramped, chlorinated tanks.

Is this a game to you, SeaWorld?

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

In 1983, SeaWorld captured 12 animals to display at its San Diego park. Betsy was one of only six animals to survive longer than six months.

Betsy was captured in her home waters near Chile when she was only about a year old. She was likely hanging out around lush kelp beds and communicating with her small pod, as Commerson’s dolphins love to do. However, SeaWorld took Betsy away from everything that was natural and important to her. She would never experience freedom again. 

Commerson's Dolphin in the wild

Commerson’s dolphins in the wild.

Confined to SeaWorld’s San Diego abusement park, Betsy likely spent most of her time swimming in endless circles. SeaWorld saw Betsy as nothing more than a moneymaking machine, and to profit from her, they used her to breed more babies to display at their parks. Betsy’s first calf died shortly after birth in 1986, and a year later, she gave birth to a stillborn calf. During her time trapped at SeaWorld, she gave birth to a total of eight dolphins, all of whom either died or were transferred to other parks. 

The official cause of Betsy’s death isn’t yet known, but one thing is certain: SeaWorld ruined her life the day they separated her from the open ocean. 

What You Can Do

Don’t let Betsy’s death be in vain! As long as people buy tickets to SeaWorld, the company will continue to breed animals to confine to cramped pools and force them to endure the stress and terror of being transferred from park to park. Never buy a ticket to SeaWorld, and urge others to stay away, too. R.I.P., Betsy. 

Commerson's dolphin

Photo by Kirsten Wahlquist  

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