The Beat

The Beat

Martina Santos 26 (left) hosts Nieves Gomez as an exchange student from Madrid.
Meet Nieves Gomez
May 27, 2024

Miami Seaquarium stays open despite county-ordered shut down
Protestors gather to demand the Seaquarium be shut down.

The Miami-Dade Commission ordered the Dolphin Company, owner of the Miami Seaquarium, to leave its site on Key Biscayne by April 21. However, despite the termination of the lease, the facility has yet to shut down. 

In response to the refusal of the Seaquarium owners to leave, activist groups, World Animal Protection, PETA and SoFlo Animal Rights, have protested in a funeral-like manner outside the Seaquarium. They are also calling attention to the animals that have died under The Dolphin Company’s care such as Bud and Lola. “The tanks are disgusting and dirty, and The Dolphin Company is delusional…These animals’ lives are in danger. It needs to be closed now, and PETA thanks Miami-Dade County for moving forward with terminating the lease,” said Amanda Brody with PETA in a 7 News Miami article. 

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava stated that if they refused to vacate on their own, the county would take action for them. In fact, the county is now preparing to take care of the animals if they are able to evict The Dolphin Company.

On Friday April 19 The Dolphin Company filed a federal lawsuit against the county. Their CEO Eduardo Albor stated, “filing this lawsuit against Miami-Dade County is a step we take with heavy hearts but clear minds, driven by our duty to protect our legacy and ensure our ability to continue making positive impacts on marine conservation.”

This conflict first began when Dr. Jenna Wallace, ex veterinarian of the Miami Seaquarium, finally broke her silence against the facility’s treatment of their animals in January. Wallace left the Seaquarium in early 2021 before it came under new management after being bought by the Dolphin Company. 

In an interview back in January with NBC Miami she detailed her reasons for leaving. “It needs to be shut down,” she said. “I don’t know how many more deaths or reports it’s going to take for that to happen.” 

Wallace stated she was not surprised by a USDA report, which came out in early November last year. The five-page report revealed multiple safety liabilities as well as violations and improper treatment of the Seaquarium’s animals. These included black mold on the walls and a rusted, broken off metal frame with “sharp edges that could pose a hazard to the penguins inside the enclosure.” In addition, they were cited for failure to control animals during public interactions, to maintain proper enclosures and failure to maintain enough workers and veterinarians. 

An NBC 6 report also noted incidents such as a dolphin who bit a girl’s hand during a meet and greet. Additionally, a dolphin was found with rib fractures, and another was found with a  “plastic zip tie, a piece of broken plastic, and a large piece of cement in its digestive tract.” The report also revealed the living conditions of the beloved whale Lolita who was kept in a dirty tank, eating rotten food about a month before her death in August. 

In response to these numerous violations, Miami Dade county gave the Seaquarium two months to fix the issues and get themselves in order and Peta called for the immediate shut down of the facility. In a statement to Local 10 News, Tracy Reiman, Peta’s executive vice president said, “Peta is calling on officials to shut the facility down and ensure that the dolphins and all the animals are sent to sanctuaries, where they [can] finally start recovering from their lifetime of trauma and get the care they so desperately need.” 


View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Lola Ranieri
Lola Ranieri is currently a sophomore at Carrollton and this is her first year writing for The Beat. She is a part of the Cross Country team and the Track and Field team. She hopes to write interesting pieces for The Beat.

Comments (1)

All The Beat Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • D

    Debbie RollheiserMay 28, 2024 at 11:05 am

    Great artcile; I appreciate learning more about this issue!