SeaWorld Pilot Whale Left Stranded, Video Causes Outcrythe daily dish
A SeaWorld spectator caught video footage of a pilot whale stranded out of the water at the edge of its pool, angering animal lovers and adding to SeaWorld's recent publicity troubles, according to the New York Daily News.
Ashley and Carlo De Leonibus brought their daughter, Catiana, to SeaWorld for her eleventh birthday. Trainers paused the show when a thunderstorm started, and they retreated from the storm while the audience remained in their covered seats and the animals stayed in their pool.
But a young pilot whale, a type of dolphin, became stranded at the edge of the pool, out of the water. The animal floundered and struggled, but no trainers came out to help it, to the increasing anger of the audience.
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Carlo De Leonibus filmed the pilot whale as it struggled, with the noise of the angry crowd yelling and stomping their feet while the pilot whale struggled alone. Other pilot whales swam to the edge of the pool in apparent attempts to help.
"The crowd was really upset and panicking," De Leonibus said. "My daughter was screaming."
De Leonibus informed a SeaWorld employee of the situation. "He said, 'Oh, it's just playing. They do this all the time. It is normal behavior,'" De Leonibus told the Daily News. It was 20 minutes before trainers came to the pilot whale's aid. By that point, the crowd was very angry and many children were upset by the animal's obvious distress.
After De Leonibus uploaded his video footage of the stranded pilot whale, causing public outcry, SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck told WTSP-TV, "The animals seem to enjoy it and it has no effect on their health or well-being. The younger and more inexperienced animals - like the one on the video - sometimes take a little longer, because they haven't completely mastered the technique yet. The whale was never in danger."
This latest incident adds to SeaWorld's recent PR difficulties in the wake of the documentary "Blackfish," which spotlights and is highly critical of the theme park's treatment of its killer whales.
LEAKED PHOTOS OF INJURED SEAWORLD WHALE PROMPT PROTEST: