A dolphin has died at a Swiss amusement park just weeks after conservationists warned that loud noises could cause extreme distress to the cetaceans at a dolphinarium in the eastern town of Lipperswil.
Shadow, an eight-year-old dolphin, died on Tuesday, 20 days after a huge techno party was held only 50 metres away from Connyland, the amusement park where the aquarium is located.
Conservationists say the animal’s immune system may have been damaged by loud music at the 16-hour party.
Vets at Connyland were surprised by the death of the mammal on Tuesday, since Shadow had performed his daily training room with enthusiasm that morning, park director Erich Brandenberger told reporters.
Soon though, the dolphin became agitated. Despite efforts from his trainer to calm him down, Shadow stopped breathing and his pulse disappeared. Connyland has requested that the authorities carry out an autopsy to establish the cause of death. The results should be “ready in three or four weeks”, cantonal vet Paul Witzig told newspaper 20 Minuten.
Two animal protection groups had previously warned authorities of the dangers of holding such a loud event so close to the dolphinarium. “
"We fear the dolphins will suffer from stress,” said ProWal and Delfinschutz Forum in a joint statement before the party.
But the Veterinary Office from canton Thurgau saw no reason to ban the party, arguing that the facility where it would take place was built in such a way that the noise from outside would not prove a disturbance. In a pre-party statement, the office said there was no proof that exposure to loud noises for a few hours would affect the well-being of the dolphins.
“This is the seventh dolphin to die in this amusement park in only three years,” said animal welfare organisations Oceancare and Swiss Protection for Animals. According to them, the living conditions for dolphins at Connyland are “unacceptable.”
“It is unacceptable for the well-being of animals to be sacrificed in favour of profits with the blessing of the authorities,” said Sigrid Lüber, president of OceanCare.
In 2010, the organisation pressed charges against Connyland for an alleged serious violation of the Animal Protection Act. That case is still pending