Dolphin Attacks Trainer During Show at Miami Seaquarium

Seaquarium determined the dolphin had accidentally been scratched
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2022 12:46 PM CDT

The Miami Seaquarium's Dolphin Flipper Show didn't go to plan on Saturday: a dolphin reportedly attacked a trainer in the water mid-show. Audience member Shannon Carpenter videoed the incident and tells WSVN what he saw: It "looked like the dolphin rammed into the trainer. There was a struggle, some kind of collision under water happened. The lady on the paddleboard, she paddled out of the water pretty quick, and then the lead trainer started swimming back towards the dock, and it looked like she got ran into a couple more times." The Seaquarium attributed the incident to a scratch.

On Tuesday it said that after a trainer accidentally scratched a dolphin named Sundance with her hand, Sundance "reacted by breaking away from the routine and swimming towards and striking the trainer." The Seaquarium pointed out that the scratch "was undoubtedly painful to Sundance" and noted both the dolphin and trainer are recovering just fine. Local10 calls it "just the latest in a string of incidents at the Seaquarium currently under the microscope by USDA investigators." Though Local10 points out the Seaquarium is now under new ownership, it cites a June USDA report that detailed numerous animal welfare violations there, including the use of rotten fish as food and the degradation of the tank where Lolita the orca has lived for 25 years.

PETA, which CBS Miami reports spent years pushing for the Seaquarium to set Lolita free, weighed in: "PETA urges this 'abusement" park to end its exploitation of dolphins by getting them to sanctuaries as quickly as possible so that they'd never be used in tawdry shows again and no one else would get hurt." The Seaquarium announced an end to shows involving Lolita in March. (More aquarium stories.)

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