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What's next for remaining dolphins at Dolphinaris?

KNXV Kai Dolphinaris Dolphin 4th Death.jpg
Posted at 4:43 PM, Feb 11, 2019

SALT RIVER PIMA INDIAN COMMUNITY, AZ — Aerials from Cliff Castle Chopper Monday afternoon showed the last remaining dolphins inside Dolphinaris Arizona.

The Scottsdale facility announced they will be temporarily closing, following an announcement that a fourth dolphin at the attraction had passed away in less than two years .

The question now is, where they may end up and how they'll get there?

"When you move a dolphin typically you have a sending team, a receiving team at the facility where they're going to end up and you also have a transport team," said Dr. Grey Stafford, a wildlife behavior expert.

Dr. Stafford was Dolphinaris' former General Manager when it first opened. He says along with those teams, the dolphins will be accompanied by training staff animal care staff and a veterinarian all to ensure the comfort and well-being of the animal.

"You have animals that are accompanied by trainers that they know and have a relationship with so in all, it's not a stressful situation," said Dr. Stafford.

To ease the dolphins' stress further, they're even taught how to participate in the move itself.

"One of the nice things we have with trained animals is we prepare them through a process of desensitization, so they're trained to swim into a stretcher, they're trained to be beached on a mat if necessary," said Dr. Stafford.

He says once out of the water, the dolphins are loaded into a small specialized box containing water in the back of a truck, before heading to the airport.

"Occasionally they're trained to actually reside in the boxes for a short period of time then put back in the water," said Dr. Stafford.

Dr. Stafford says whether the dolphins are moved over night or during the day depends on the schedules of the trucks and planes being used in that move.

Most expect the dolphins to be moved overnight to avoid any potential protesters, Dolphinaris says they haven't moved the dolphins yet but expect to do so over the next month.