A stranded whale at SeaWorld has animal rights groups outraged after a video surfaced last week of SeaWorld employees failing to help the pilot whale that was laboring to get off a concrete ledge in its enclosure.
Carlo De Leonibus brought his wife and daughter to the Orlando, Fla., park July 20 to see the whale and dolphin show but became concerned after one of the mammals got itself stuck on the ledge of the pool. The trainers were not by the pool at the time because of a lightning storm, according to TakePart.com.
The pilot whale, also called a cove dolphin, then struggled for 25 minutes to get itself back into the water as an angry group of onlookers yelled for help.
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"The crowd was extremely furious. People were stomping their feet. Everyone wanted that dolphin to be helped," De Leonibus told TakePart.com. "One man said he was going to go protest outside the park's gates."
When De Leonibus finally found a uniformed employee, the trainer said the pilot whale was just playing. SeaWorld, too, defended its actions.
"The pilot whales come out on the ledge all the time and always get back into the deeper water without any problem," park spokesman Nick Gollattscheck said in a statement. "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."
But animal rights groups like PETA are disgusted by the treatment of the mammal.
"Audiences should be horrified by every video taken inside SeaWorld," PETA wrote in an emailed statement Monday. "Whether they show a pilot whale stranded on a concrete ledge in front of a shocked crowd, an orca killing his trainer, or intelligent, sensitive whales forced to swim day in and day out in tiny circles for a reward of dead fish, these videos are a potent reminder that SeaWorld keeps marine mammals trapped in concrete tanks that bear no resemblance to their habitat in the wild, with no room in which to swim, no family groups, and no stimulation."
The pilot whale incident came a few days before a group of activists gathered to protest SeaWorld's treatment of captive animals. The "Empty the Tanks" campaign was in response to the release of "Blackfish," a recent documentary about the mistreatment of killer whales at the marine park, according to Orlando's WFTV.com.
: The video below contains strong language.
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