(SEAWORLD) Following the release of the controversial documentary, Blackfish, SeaWorld is having a pretty rough month with an increasing number of people learning about the horrific realities taking place at the cruel amusement park. And now, a sad, but unfortunately not-so shocking video, taken by a spectator at SeaWorld Florida, is leaving even more people outraged by the marine park’s negligence. Carlo De Leonibus, a 33-year-old man, was left speechless after he and his family witnessed a struggling pilot whale stuck at the edge of the pool, unable to return to water. A spokesperson for SeaWorld responded to the allegations claiming the pilot whale was simply ‘having fun.’ But the audience was not amused as they screamed for somebody to help the stranded animal. Read on for more on this disturbing story and see the footage below. — Global Animal
Daily Mail, David Mccormack
Audience members at a recent aquatic show at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida were left angered and upset after witnessing a young dolphin pilot whale left to struggle for several minutes to try and get back in the water.
Disturbing video footage shows the short-finned pilot whale – a member of the dolphin family – appearing distressed, while members of the crowd can be heard calling for staff to help it.
The footage was posted on YouTube and has gone viral, provoking a row over whether the animal was subjected to cruelty by park staff or was simply ‘having fun’ as a spokesperson has claimed.
The footage was filmed by Carlo De Leonibus, 33, who had taken his wife Ashley and daughter Catiana to the park to celebrate the girl’s 11th birthday last weekend.
The horrifying incident occurred when the scheduled performance was abruptly cancelled due to lightning.
While cast members and trainers from the show left the stage, the animals were left in the tank and one got stuck on a ledge at the edge of the pool.
The footage shows the – clearly distressed – whale struggle as it tries to move itself, at one stage another dolphin comes along and tries to help – but to no avail.
‘It keeps flipping. It keeps flapping. Other dolphins come to push it back in, swim around it. And it doesn’t go back in,’ De Leonibus told WTSP.
Spectators angered and disturbed by what they are witnessing can be heard on the video footage screaming for someone to help the animal.
De Leonibus approached a SeaWorld worker who assured him the animal would eventually get itself back in the water.
‘He says, “Oh it’s normal. This is what they do. This is how they have fun. They’re just playing.'”
Eventually two trainers arrived to help push the animal back in the pool.
According to De Leonibus was left disturbed and upset by what she had witnessed.
‘She was heartbroken. She was crying at night. She was really upset. She felt that SeaWorld was going to take care of their animals,’ said her father.
In response to the video, the theme park has issued a statement.
‘The pilot whales come out on the ledge all the time and always get back into the deeper water without any problem,’ spokesman Nick Gollattscheck told WTSP.
‘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.
‘The safety and health of the animals in our care are among our highest priorities.
Watch the footage of the struggling pilot whale in the video below.