Baby dolphin dies ‘mid performance’ at Bulgarian water park after being ‘overworked’

  • A baby dolphin died ‘mid-performance’ at Varna Dolphinarium in Bulgaria 
  • The animal was only nine days old when it died in front of a packed audience 
  • Spectators were said to have been hurriedly rushed out of the arena by staff 

A baby dolphin died ‘mid-performance’ at a Bulgarian water park after allegedly being ‘overworked’.

The animal was only nine days old when it died in front of a packed audience at the Varna Dolphinarium, local media reports.

Spectators were hurriedly rushed out of the arena by staff, with one audience member Bisser Lyubenov telling BTV Novinite: ‘There was a disturbance, the dolphins stopped playing and performing tricks.’

While it remains unclear as to why the baby dolphin died, critics have suggested the conditions of the dolphinarium are to blame.

A dolphin performs a trick for spectators at the Varna Dolphinarium. It is unclear when the photograph was taken

Despite its young age, the baby dolphin performed alongside the adults earlier this month, it has been claimed.

The sea creatures are made to entertain audiences four times a day during summer peak season.

Social media users were quick to blast the park, branding it a ‘torturer’ for allegedly overworking the dolphins.

Five dolphins and a seal are said to have died at the resort over the last five years, according to Yavor Gechev, from the animal protection organisation Four Paws.

A mother and baby dolphin swim around the dolphinarium in Bulgaria. It is unknown when the image was taken

He told the BBC that the death count was more than average, adding: ‘This means categorically that conditions don’t meet even the minimal standards for keeping such animals. The animals are struggling there, they are not surviving.’

But the staff members at the resort denied the death happened in front of a live audience to local media.

Tsvetan Stanev, the facility’s biologist, said: ‘A baby dolphin taking part in performances nine days after it was born – this has never happened in this dolphinarium!’

MailOnline contacted Varna Dolphinarium for comment.

Dolphins born in captivity have a 50 to 75 per cent chance of dying in the first year of their lives.

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