A Dolphin Drowned and a Sea Lion Died. When Will the USDA Shut Down This Dangerous Marine Mammal Facility?

  • by: Care2 Team
  • recipient: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi has a long history of subjecting its captive animals to harmful conditions - resulting in sickness, injuries, and even death. Yet the U.S. Department of Agriculture has taken years to even issue tiny fines or wag its metaphorical finger at the facility with official warnings.

Sign the petition to demand the U.S. Department of Agriculture finally take animals' protection seriously and shut down the dangerous Institute for Marine Mammal Studies!

In 2020, a sea lion named Jester died while undergoing surgery at the facility for a problem he shouldn't even have developed in the beginning. Jester had always been a healthy little guy, until he arrived at the Institute in 2015. After that point, he and three other sea lions developed eye lesions - which veterinarians linked to the overly-high levels of chlorine in their water supply. But while he was under anesthesia to have an operation to treat the ulcer, he passed away. None of that should ever have happened.

Then, two years later, a bottlenose dolphin named Jag drowned to death at the Institute. The dolphin was attempting to escape facility staff and got trapped under a panel of netting at the bottom of the pool. By the time staff reached him, it was too late. He died tangled up in netting, resting on the floor of the enclosure.

On top of all that, experts say that holding tanks for the captive aquatic animals there contain hazardous materials including flaking paint and rust. These are all extremely dangerous for wildlife that evolved to live in the open, unconfined spaces of the ocean.

Under government rules, the U.S. Department of Agriculture could have fined the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies up to $12,722 for each animal's death - totalling more than $25,000 for the two deaths combined. Instead, it only issued one measly warning and hit them with a single, paltry $3,000 fine.

Why is the U.S. Department of Agriculture essentially letting this facility get away with multiple deaths? It needs to do better to protect animals! The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies has a known history of being unsafe for marine animals. It's time to shut down this facility now! Sign the petition if you agree!
Sign Petition
Sign Petition
You have JavaScript disabled. Without it, our site might not function properly.

Privacy Policy

By signing, you accept Care2's Terms of Service.
You can unsub at any time here.

Having problems signing this? Let us know.