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Dolphinaris moves all dolphins to Virgin Islands, will not bring any back

Dolphinaris Dolphins Arrive in U.S. Virgin Islands
Posted at 7:22 PM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-22 14:21:00-05

SALT RIVER PIMA MARICOPA INDIAN COMMUNITY, AZ — The same day Dolphinaris announced its dolphins had been moved outside the mainland United States, the company announced it would not be hosting dolphins any more should its facility near Scottsdale reopen.

All four of the dolphins left at the facility after the death of Kai in late January were transferred to Coral World Ocean Park, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Dolphinaris said it and Dolphin Quest, which loaned the facility two of its dolphins, jointly agreed to keep all four together due to the bonds they formed over the past two years at the complex near Via de Ventura and the Loop 101.

"While [dolphins] are very social animals and are able to adjust well to dynamic social groups, we are keeping these four dolphin friends together to help them acclimate to their new home," Dolphinaris general manager Christian Schaeffer said in a news release.

The dolphins were transported overnight by private jet to the island chain in the Caribbean.

Coral World Ocean Park, based at the St. Thomas Sea Sanctuary on the island of St. Thomas, said the dolphins will be living in a 69,000 square-foot "large, natural ocean habitat" enclosed with a mesh barrier. It will be some time before the dolphins are introduced to the public, the park said in a statement.

Dolphinaris' facility has been closed since earlier this month while a team investigates after Kai and three other dolphins died since the facility opened in 2016. Originally, owners said the closure would be temporary, but in a news release Tuesday the company announced it would be moving away from dolphins.

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"Dolphinaris is optimistic that the Scottsdale location will reopen as a new concept, not involving dolphins, and continue to carry out its mission in ocean conservation and education," the company said.

The evaluation of the facility, which includes taking and testing water and other samples, is ongoing and those investigating have reached no conclusions about what could have contributed to the deaths of Bodie, Alia, Khloe and Kai.