Join our new campaign and help shut down one of the cruelest wildlife venues in the US.
We’re calling on Miami Seaquarium to shut its doors for good and send its remaining animals to sanctuary.
Last month, World Animal Protection formally launched a public campaign against the Miami Seaquarium (MSQ). Based in Miami, Florida, the Seaquarium is one of the oldest dolphinariums in the US. Known for its long history of animal deaths and Animal Welfare Act violations, it continues to exploit dolphins and other wild animals for profit and entertainment.
We’re calling on Miami Seaquarium to shut its doors for good and send its remaining animals to sanctuary. Our first campaign tactic is a petition, with a goal of one million signatures from people around the world, in support of the campaign.
A history of violations and deaths
More than 115 dolphins and whales have died under the venue’s care since opening in 1955, estimates say. Below is a list of animal deaths just in the last 4 years:
April 2019: Echo, a bottlenose dolphin, was found dead after suffering acute neck trauma following a dolphin attack.
November 2019: An unnamed, one-year-old California sea lion died from head trauma.
March 2020: Indigo, a bottlenose dolphin, was found dead at the bottom of a tank from acute trauma and pulmonary shock.
April 2020: Abaco, a bottlenose dolphin, died by drowning likely after becoming entangled in a fence. Two other dolphins also died at the venue during this time frame.
August 2023: Tokitae, the beloved orca who lived at the Seaquarium for more than 50 years in the smallest orca tank in the US, died from multiple chronic conditions. She was on her way to go back home to the Salish Sea but did not make it.
The tragic loss of animals at the Miami Seaquarium will unfortunately continue, as well as its mistreatment of animals. While the venue has decades of Animal Welfare Act violations, the inspection report from 2021 is its most notorious. In the 17-page report the USDA noted the Miami Seaquarium’s attending veterinarian “repeatedly disregarded or dismissed” recommendations regarding animal care.
MSQ’s trainer ignored the veterinarian’s instructions not to make Tokitae perform certain tricks in performances, such as fast swims and “head in entry” jumps. Tokitae’s jaw was injured during these fast swims.
MSQ reduced Tokitae’s diet and fed her and other marine mammals “poor quality” and bad smelling fish against veterinary advice. Animals developed inflammation and lesions, and one dolphin required antibiotics to prevent further illness caused by the fish.
Various tanks and surrounding structures were in states of disrepair. Sections of the fencing between two tanks were held together only with zip-ties, allowing two dolphins to break into another pool and seriously injure a medically fragile dolphin, breaking at least four of her ribs.
MSQ failed to provide sufficient shade to protect marine mammals from direct sunlight. As a result, multiple dolphins and Tokitae suffered painful eye lesions.
MSQ kept animals in tanks with perilously high levels of chlorine and parasites, sickening and injuring Tokitae, manatees, and dolphins.