This Horrifying Statistic Will Make You Loathe SeaWorld Even More

If there is one thing the world has learned since the release of Blackfish, it is that marine life captivity is a bad idea.

All too often the news of another captive whale or dolphin dying is made public, Bubbles, SeaWorld’s oldest pilot whale, being the latest. After being held captive and forced to perform at SeaWorld San Diego for almost 30 years, the whale died in June 2016.

Tilikum, the now infamous whale at SeaWorld Orlando, is likely to be next. That is, if Morgan, the captive whale at Loro Parque — SeaWorld’s Spanish park — who has been showing clear signs of zoochosis, doesn’t perish first.

How many marine mammals have preceded them, though? That number is hard to determine.

The Orca Project keeps a running list of all orcas who have died in captivity, and so does PETA, but those lists don’t include any other animals. The National Marine Fisheries Service keeps a National Inventory of Marine Mammals, but the last one available online was printed in April 2014. Then there are the press releases issued by SeaWorld whenever an animal dies and news stories about the deaths, but those tend to focus solely on dolphins and whales.

Using all of those resources, it turns out that for the past ten years, at least one animal has died at a SeaWorld location in the U.S. almost every single month. Take a look at the full list of animals who have perished below.

One can only hope that as more people boycott the park, and if SeaWorld finally decides to retire its animals to a seaside sanctuary, the death toll will eventually diminish.

2006

March

Wrinkles, a California sea lion at SeaWorld San Antonio died of a metastatic cancer.

May

Two California sea lions — one at SeaWorld San Antonio, another at SeaWorld Orlando — were euthanized because of a life threatening condition. A one year-old bottlenose dolphin died at SeaWorld San Antonio from acute respiratory disease syndrome, a common problem in captive dolphins. A harbor seal at SeaWorld Orlando died of meningitis.

June

A California sea lion died of congestion of the liver at SeaWorld Orlando.

July

At SeaWorld Orlando, a 19 year-old dolphin named Nova died of ongoing kidney failure, while Chilly, a California sea lion, died of a tumor. Meanwhile at SeaWorld San Antonio, a five year-old bottlenose dolphin died of a neurological disorder.

August

A California sea lion at SeaWorld San Antonio died of metastatic tumor.

September

A bottlenose dolphin at SeaWorld Orlando died from severe acute trauma and secondary thoracic and abdominal hemorrhage.

October

At SeaWorld Orlando, a beluga whale died of degenerative neuropathy and acute drowning, and a one year-old bottlenose dolphin died of acute meningitis.

November

Two California sea lions died at SeaWorld San Antonio — one of a severe brain inflammation and another of chronic colitis and acute pneumonia.

2007

January

At SeaWorld San Diego Muk, a beluga whale, died of a metabolic disorder and an unnamed one year-old bottlenose dolphin died of acute intestinal torsion.

February

A California sea lion at SeaWorld San Antonio was euthanized for a life threatening condition.

March

Elliott, a California sea lion died of complications from hyperglycemia after having a history of seizures and stunted growth. At SeaWorld San Antonio, another sea lion died of a neurological disease.

May 

At SeaWorld San Diego, an unnamed male bottlenose dolphin died of acute liver rupture.

June

A bottlenose dolphin at SeaWorld San Antonio died of a perforated stomach.

September

Three animals died at SeaWorld San Antonio — two California sea lions (one from brain inflammation and another euthanized) and a harbor seal from pneumonia.

October

Taku, a male 14-year-old orca, died of lung disease at SeaWorld San Antonio while an unnamed saddleback dolphin at SeaWorld San Diego died of severe acute pulmonary hemorrhage.

November

Two California sea lions died at SeaWorld Orlando — one from a heart blood vessel rupture and another from a malignant tumor. A female beluga whale died of a bacterial brain infection.

December

At SeaWorld San Antonio a California sea lion died of a kidney disorder and a harbor seal of meningitis.

2008

February

A California sea lion died at SeaWorld Orlando with hepatitis.

April

At Discovery Cove, two dolphins collided into each other while performing and one of them, a 30 year-old dolphin, died from the impact. In the same month, a California sea lion died of a viral infection.

May

Seymore, a California sea lion died of brain tumor with pneumonia, and another California sea lion died of a vertebral inflammation at SeaWorld Orlando.

June

Halyn, a 2-year-old orca, died at SeaWorld San Antonio from a neurological disorder. At SeaWorld Orlando, Torey, a female California sea lion, died of heart failure and associated complications; Mike, another sea lion, was euthanized; and a harbor seal died of pneumonia.

July

A bottlenose dolphin at SeaWorld San Antonio died of chronic renal calculi.

August

An unnamed California sea lion died of a metastatic tumor and a five year-old harbor seal died after a bad drug reaction at SeaWorld San Diego. In Florida, a 2-month-old California sea lion died of acute renal disease and in Texas a one month old beluga whale perished from bacterial pneumonia.

September

At SeaWorld San Antonio, a California sea lion was euthanized for a life threatening condition.

October

A 6-year-old California sea lion died of intestinal torsion at SeaWorld San Antonio.

November

At SeaWorld San Diego, a bottlenose dolphin died of pneumonia.

December

A false killer whale died of pneumonia in California’s park while at SeaWorld Orlando, pneumonia killed a bottlenose dolphin.

2009

January

At the Texas SeaWorld location, two California sea lions died — one of urethral obstruction and another from a condition leading to sudden and severe vomiting and diarrhea — and a beluga whale died from degenerative renal disease.

February

A California sea lion was euthanized at SeaWorld Orlando.

March

In California, a SeaWorld San Diego sea lion died from cancer, and in Florida, a bottlenose dolphin succumbed to an adrenal disease.

April

At SeaWorld San Antonio, a California sea lion died of pneumonia, while in California, another died from a serious lung infection.

May

All three parks saw deaths in May of 2009. In California, an unnamed harbor seal died of chronic renal calculi; in Florida, two California sea lions died; and in Texas another two sea lions passed from cancer and a collapsed lung.

June

A 29-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin died at SeaWorld Orlando’s Discovery Cove. Scarlet had pregnancy complications. A harbor seal also died in Florida from pneumonia.

July

A three month-old harbor seal died of a brain disorder in Florida.

August

SeaWorld Orlando lost a harbor seal to a fungal infection and a two month-old California sea lion to a heart issue.

September 

Two more California sea lions died at at SeaWorld Orlando, these ones from cancer.

October 

Another California sea lion died from cancer at the Florida marine park while Bucky, a sea lion in Texas, died of pneumonia.

November

Two more California sea lions died in Florida. One was euthanized and the other died from complications due to anesthesia.

2010

January 

The deaths of California sea lions in Florida continued with two more dying from cancer.

February

Two more sea lions perished — one from heart failure (at just 18-months-old) in Florida and another from a brain infection.

March

A bottlenose dolphin at SeaWorld Orlando died of pneumonia.

April

In California, an unnamed bottlenose dolphin was euthanized, along with a California sea lion in Florida. Another sea lion died of epilepsy in Florida where two harbor seals died of neurological disorders with seizures.

May

Four harbor seals — a 4-year-old, 5-year-old, 6-year-old and 8-year-old – and a California sea lion all died at SeaWorld Orlando from neurological diseases with seizures.

June

Taima, a 20-year-old orca died of still birth complications at SeaWorld Orlando, where two harbor seals — a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old — also died. In Texas, Payton, a California sea lion, died from a viral or bacterial infection.

July 

In Florida, a 2-year-old California sea lion died of cancer.

August 

Leonardo, a California sea lion, died of a seizure-related pulmonary embolism at SeaWorld Orlando.

September

At SeaWorld San Diego, 12-year-old killer whale Sumar died from an intestinal issue.

October 

Kalina, a 25-year-old orca, died of a bacterial infection at SeaWorld Orlando.

November

A three year-old harbor seal died of intestinal issues in Florida.

December

In Texas, two Hawaiian monk seals and a California sea lion died of hepatitis.

2011

January 

In Florida, an 18-month-old bottlenose dolphin died of acute pancreatic necrosis.

March

A beluga whale at SeaWorld San Antonio perished from heart issues.

April 

A 10-year-old California sea lion died from intestinal issues at SeaWorld San Antonio.

May 

Perry and another unnamed California sea lion both suffered a fatal brain inflammation in Florida.

July

A Pacific white-sided dolphin at SeaWorld San Antonio died from heart disease.

August

A California sea lion died from cancer and a 2-year-old bottlenose dolphin from a hemorrhage in Florida.

September

In Texas, a California sea lion died from acute colitis.

October 

Another California sea lion died in Texas, this one from an anesthetic incident.

November 

Two bottlenose dolphins died — a 1-year-old in Florida from gastric issues and another in Texas from intestinal problems.

December

A California sea lion in Florida died from intestinal issues.

2012

January

At SeaWorld San Diego, a sea lion died of undetermined causes.

February

Becky, a California sea lion, died in Florida from a metastatic cancer.

March

Two sea lions, one in Florida and another in Texas, died of cancer.

April

A bottlenose dolphin died of cancer and pneumonia in Florida.

May 

Sully, a 3-year-old short-finned pilot whale, died of a degenerative liver disease.

June

SeaWorld Orlando saw two deaths in June. A false killer whale died of bacterial pneumonia and a 2-month-old harbor seal died of intestinal impaction.

July

In Florida, a California sea lion died of acute pneumonia.

August

At SeaWorld San Antonio, a California sea lion hit its head and died from a brain hemorrhage.

September 

A Guadalupe fur seal was euthanized in California while a 1-year-old sea lion in Texas died of an infection.

October

In Texas, a Hawaiian monk seal suffered a fatal acute cardiac arrest, and in Florida, a bottlenose dolphin died from a type of cancer.

November

Two unnamed California sea lions died. One was euthanized and the other suffered from heart disease.

2013

January 

In Florida, a bottlenose dolphin died of pneumonia.

May

Two California sea lions died at SeaWorld San Diego— one from a spinal disease and another from pancreatitis. At SeaWorld San Antonio, a 3-year-old bottlenose dolphin died from a common respiratory infection.

June

In both Florida and Texas parks, California sea lions were stillborn.

July

In California, an unnamed male harbor seal was euthanized. In Florida, a bottlenose dolphin and a sea lion died from heart problems, and in Texas, three sea lions died from heart-related issues.

August 

At SeaWorld San Antonio, a 4-year-old beluga whale died of undetermined causes. Meanwhile in Florida, one sea lion died of a colon torsion, another from heart failure and a short-finned pilot whale from a bacterial infection.

December

In California, an unnamed California sea lion was euthanized.

2014

January

The only publicly recorded deaths at SeaWorld in 2014 occurred in January. At the California park a male sea lion was euthanized, and in Florida a Commerson’s dolphin died of liver disease.

2015

March 

A 22-year-old male Atlantic bottlenose dolphin died after showing no signs of illness before the day of his death at SeaWorld Orlando.

June

An 8-year-old bottlenose dolphin, Lagos, died of pneumonia in Florida.

July

A 3-week-old beluga whale calf was born about a month premature and died of complications shortly after in Texas.

November

Stella, a beluga whale, died at SeaWorld San Antonio at just 2-years-old of unknown causes.

December 

Unna, an 18-year-old orca also living at SeaWorld San Antonio, died from a fungal infection.

2016

January

Betsy, a 33-year-old Commerson’s dolphin was caught from the wild in 1983. She was one of 12 captured and most died within days or months after going into captivity. Days before her death, Betsy was transferred from the SeaWorld in San Diego to the one Orlando.

February 

Dart, 12-year-old Pacific white-sided dolphin died at SeaWorld San Antonio after being monitored for health issues for over a month.

June

Bubbles, a pilot whale, was captured from the wild in 1966 and forced to perform at SeaWorld San Diego for almost three decades. She died of unknown causes.

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

180 comments

Ruth S
Ruth Sabout a year ago

Thanks.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Sharon B.
Sharon B2 years ago

thank you for posting

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Miss D.
Shari F2 years ago

I am posting as some people still see SW primarily as a conservation organisation & I feel this issue should be discussed. SW does appear to help injured sea animals & does carry out a small amount of conservation work. However, SW mainly operates as a series of wet circuses whose primary goal is profit rather than conservation. This is reflected in the full name of the company which is ‘SeaWorld Entertainments’ rather than ‘SeaWorld Conservation.’ I would also draw your attention to this article http://www.indianvoices.net/san-diego-new/701-international-association-of-amusement-parks-attractions-iaapa-sea-world-s-captivity-kills It states 'SW Entertainment claims $1.5 billion in annual revenue, yet has spent only $9 million on conservation in the past decade – or just 0.0006% of this corporation's net revenue [goes] into research & conservation annually. For every $100 made by a Sea World park, less than 1 cent is put into research benefiting wildlife.' In addition, Whale & Dolphin Conservation, a very well respected global conservation organisation, states: For every $1,000,000 of SW’s revenue, only $600 goes to conservation. That’s about 5 cents per ticket.’ This can be found on this link: http://uk.whales.org/wdc-in-action/fate-of-captive-orcas Essentially, SW cannot be described as ‘a conserv

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Fi T.
Past Member 2 years ago

Exploitation devastates civilisation

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Denise Giardello
Denise Giardello2 years ago

well, many of those deaths were from pneumonia or cancer! They would have died in the wild from that too.None died from neglect or abuse . I am totally against taking animals from the wild, which they may have done back in the 70's and early 80's. But they did not know back then how taking them from the wild would affect these beautiful creatures. I am not sure if they can ever let them back into the wild as they have been in captivity so long, case in point Keiko the Orca. They have begun trusting of humans and like Keiko that will be their demise. If they are going to keep these Orca's I advocate much larger tanks, and no holding cells at night. They should be able to swim freely 24/7. And never breaking up family pods! They are close knit animals and deciding to send one to another park is just wrong!! I will give Sea world props for all the animal rescues they do. I believe that number is about 23,000.

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Peggy B.
Peggy B2 years ago

I think this is a one sided storey. Many of these may have died regardless of where they were. Also some are in captivity because they won't survive in the wild. Unbiased articles please.

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Donn M.
.2 years ago

How about a list of all the sea creatures that died in the wild? Wild animals die, captive animals die, pets die, people die, it's one of the few things you can count on in life.

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers2 years ago

You were right: I didn't think that I could loathe their exploitative, greedy, cruel practices any more than I already did. I was wrong.

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Carole H.
Carole H2 years ago

very very sad but I think the impact would be better if you added them up at the beginning and said for instance 24 sea lions since 2010 or whatever etc - I have not totaled them myself but as I said I think the impact would be even more persuasive thank you

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