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Fri July 25, 2014
Miami Seaquarium Fined For No Barrier Between Trainers And Killer Whale
The Miami Seaquarium is facing a $7,000 fine from a federal agency for not having enough protection between trainers and a killer whale.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Miami Seaquarium this month for not having a physical barrier between trainers and the park's captive killer whale Lolita.
It’s considered a “serious” violation by the federal agency.
They’ve required these protections since the 2010 death of a SeaWorld trainer in Orlando.
Russ Rector is the president of the Dolphin Freedom Foundation and a longtime critic of Miami Seaquarium.
He filed one of the complaints that prompted the agency’s 6-month long investigation of the park.
Rector says it’s becoming more important now to have a barrier between trainers and Lolita who is nearly 50 years old.
“She’s coming to the end of her captive lifespan," says Rector. "And when animals come to the end of their captive lifespan, they get grumpy. They get agitated and they get crotchety -- just like people do.”
Miami Seaquarium's general manager, Andrew Hertz, issued a statement Thursday regarding the fine.
He noted that the investigation was not prompted by any incident within the aquarium, but by an animal rights activist group, which “has other priorities and objectives besides employee safety.”
Hertz wrote that Seaquarium’s number one priority has always been safety, and that the park has cooperated with the investigation.