An ‘over-worked’ nine-day-old dolphin has died while performing tricks for tourists.
The audience was quickly ushered out of the waterpark arena when the newborn collapsed in front of them while performing tricks, according to a witness.
An investigation is taking place to establish the cause of the death but the finger is currently being pointed at Varna Dolphinarium in Bulgaria for making it work too much.
Witness Bisser Lyubenov said: ‘There was a disturbance, the dolphins stopped playing and performing tricks.’
The water park insists that it was not during a live performance despite what witnesses say, but people in the facility’s cafe could see what was happening.
The dolphins are made to perform four times a day during the peak summer season and it has been claimed the baby was made to work alongside adults despite its age.
Yavor Gechev from the animal protection organisation Four Paws said that five dolphins and a seal have died at the resort in the last five years
He told the BBC: ‘This means categorically that conditions don’t meet even the minimal standards for keeping such animals. The animals are struggling there, they are not surviving.’
Staff denied the dolphin died in front of a live audience.
Biologist at the water park said: ‘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!’
Captive dolphins have a 50 to 75 per cent chance of dying in the first year of their life.
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