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Water Park Faces Flak After ‘Overworked’ Baby Dolphin Dies While Performing Tricks

The incident happened during a live performance in the city of Varna on the Bulgarian black sea earlier this month, and in front of children.

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Updated:August 30, 2019, 1:52 PM IST
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Water Park Faces Flak After ‘Overworked’ Baby Dolphin Dies While Performing Tricks
Representative Image. (Reuters)
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A water park in Bulgaria is facing flak for an "overworked" baby dolphin’s death allegedly in the middle of a live performance.

The incident happened during a live performance in the city of Varna on the Bulgarian black sea earlier this month, and in front of children, BBC quoted BTV Novinite as reported.

“There was a disturbance, the dolphins stopped playing and performing tricks," one eyewitness said, adding that the show was called off and visitors were asked to leave.

“It is claimed that dolphins are forced to perform four times a day,” The Mirror UK reported.

Another witness said the visitors could see the body of the baby dolphin from the marine park’s café.

The dolphinarium, however, refuted the eyewitness' accounts.

The facility's biologist Tsvetan Stanev claimed that the baby and its mother had been separated from the other dolphins since the calf was born.

"You can't have a mother leaving its child in order to take part in the show. This can happen about six months after the birth. A baby dolphin taking part in performances nine days after it was born - this has never happened in this dolphinarium!" he was quoted as saying.

But Yavor Gechev from the animal protection organisation Four Paws said that six animals - five dolphins and a seal - had died at the park over the past five years.

"This means categorically that conditions don't meet even the minimal standards for keeping such animals", he said. "The animals are struggling there, they are not surviving."

An online petition is now calling for the closure of the park, according to BBC.

"I saw the show once and I'm still horrified about the way the dolphins get treated! It's clear that a big profit is made at the expense of the animals who are forced to perform too often," one Facebook user wrote.

According to Four Paws, a group of lawmakers have proposed a change in the existing animal protection laws to make it legal for the two sea lions currently used to "kiss" tourists for photos at the park to take part in live shows.

"If shows involving sea lions are allowed to happen, this will be hell for the animals," Gechev said.

"Lawmakers need to change the way they think, and consider banning or limiting the existing performances with dolphins instead."

Barring Spain, Europe has by and large barred keeping dolphins in captivity, with the United Kingdom stopping shows featuring the aquatic mammals more than 25 years ago

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