Connyland Partygoers Drugged Two Dolphins, Led to Their Deaths

Last November, Switzerland’s Connyland Park ignored the concerns of animal activists and rented out the facility for a rave. For 48 hours, deafening music rocked the dolphin enclosure. Shadow, an eight-year-old dolphin, was found dead right after the party. Two days later a second, Chelmers, died a slow and agonizing death.

The death of Chelmers triggered a toxicology investigation. Dolphin keeper Nadja Gasser said, ”I do not think Chelmers or Shadow died of natural causes. I think our dolphins have been poisoned.”

Gasser was right. A toxicology report leaked to Swiss media revealed traces of the heroin substitute buprenorphine in the urine of both of the dead dolphins. Digital Journal described the effect of the drug:

Buprenorphin is an opiate that can cause respiratory depression and directly affect the reflexes that keep a person breathing. Dolphins are conscious breathers, meaning they have to actively decide when to breathe and must therefore be awake to breathe.

The Daily Mail quoted Dutch marine biologist and dolphin expert Cornelis van Elk:

Even when sleeping there is part of the brain that automatically controls the breathing instinct in the same way as it does for people when asleep.

Drugging them with opiates could well cause this part of the brain to switch off with fatal consequences.

Two healthy dolphins were poisoned by partygoers at a techno rave. Animal activists had warned Connyland the pounding noise would harm the dolphins. The Thurgau Veterinary Office insisted it would not.

The party went on, but in the end it was not noise that killed Shadow and Chelmers. Instead it was the sick act of some reveler who likely thought it would be fun to watch dolphins on a heroin substitute.

Related Care2 Stories

Dolphin Dies After Deafening Rave at Park

Victory! Captive Dolphins Banned in Switzerland

Tell Germany: No More Dolphins in Captivity! (Video)

Dolphins May Understand Death


Connyland photo from pne via Flickr Creative Commons


Angie V.
Angie V4 years ago

Really? It should have NOT been rented out in the first place.. oh man you have to be kidding with these brainless peeps. Poor dolphins.

Tamara Hayes
Tamara Hayes4 years ago

And as for the poll, who were the 3% who said dolphins should be kept in captivity?! Seriously? WTF is wrong with you people?

Tamara Hayes
Tamara Hayes4 years ago

This makes me so furious that I dare not type what I am thinking.

Jay Digiandomenico

drug them and throw them in the same pool,we couldn't drown them but an extreme water boarding incident would be acceptable to me

Vince H.
Cindy H4 years ago

How sick are these people. Totally disgusting

Ailsa Porter
Ailsa Porter4 years ago

The Swiss should hang their heads in shame. Disgusting!!

Georgia I.
Georgia I4 years ago

this is just macabre, too sick for comment

Fiona T.
Past Member 4 years ago

No animal abuse, please

Maria Kenyon
Maria Kenyon4 years ago

What in the world were the owners of this facility thinking of, holding a party like that without making sure the animals were nowhere near these idiots?

Lynn D.
Lynn D4 years ago

This is just so very sorry........people can be so very disgusting!