A video posted on TikTok last Saturday (9) went viral on the internet showing the moment when a dolphin, called Sundance, attacks its trainer. The images were taken by a photographer who was watching, in the audience, the Dolphin Flipper Show, at the Miami Seaquarium, in Florida, USA.
The aquarium worker is released when he is attacked by the animal. In the video, it is possible to see that he tries to get out of the water three times, but fails. Some people in the audience even wondered if it was all a staging that was part of the show.
Shannon Carpenter was responsible for the recording and reported that the incident occurred after 10 or 15 minutes of the beginning of the exhibition. “It looked like the dolphin had collided with the trainer,” the photographer told US television station Miami News 7.
Carpenter said that first there was a struggle and then some sort of underwater clash. “The employee started swimming back to the edge, and it looked like he had been run over a few more times.”
According to Fox 13 News, after the incident, the coach came out of the water and stayed on his knees until the performance was over.
The Miami Seaquarium said in a statement that the incident was an accident. “While demonstrating behavior as part of the Flipper Show on April 9, a trainer accidentally scratched the Sundance dolphin with his hand. This was undoubtedly painful for Sundance, who reacted by breaking the sequence of movements, swimming towards the trainer and hitting -The.”
According to the aquarium, this is the first time that the trainer and the dolphin, who has lived there since birth, have collided. To prevent further accidents, the Flipper Show procedures and other Seaquarium performances are being evaluated and possible adjustments to the protocols will minimize the risk of future accidents.
The Dolphin Company, which owns the Miami Seaquarium, took over management of the South Florida attraction just four weeks ago. The company said both Sundance and the coach, who was taken by ambulance to hospital, are recovering well.
The NGO Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) condemned the incident and said on Twitter that “time is up” for the Miami Seaquarium and that the animals must be sent to a sanctuary. In addition, the organization reinforced that it does not support going to the aquarium, but is in favor of exposing episodes like this.
Peta further said that the Dolphin Company had lied in claiming that it was the first time such an incident had happened. In a post on social media, the organization explains that veterinarian Jenna Wallace stated that the Sundance dolphin had hit a trainer before and that there had been aggressive episodes on many occasions.
The professional noted that the aquarium’s top management allegedly lied to inspectors from the US Department of Agriculture who are investigating violations of the Animal Welfare Act at the park.
* Intern at R7supervised by Pablo Marques