Jul 30, 2013

SeaWorld Stranded Whale Caught On Video

SeaWorld Stranded Whale Caught On Video
SeaWorld Stranded Whale Caught On Video, A celebratory trip to SeaWorld turned into a distressing day for a Florida family who watched a beached pilot whale struggle for about 25 minutes to get back into the water before trainers finally went to help it.

Carlo De Leonibus and his wife Ashley visited the Orlando theme park on July 20 for their daughter Catiana's 11th birthday.

Cat, a dolphin-lover, was having a great time until she witnessed a short-finned pilot whale, which is a member of the dolphin family, get stuck on a ledge at the edge of the pool.

The postponed aquatic show's cast members and trainers had left the stage because of a lightning storm, De Leonibus told the Daily News, and the audience watched the whale flounder for several minutes.

De Leonibus went to inform a SeaWorld employee of the situation, but that person essentially told him not to worry.

"He said, 'Oh, it's just playing. They do this all the time. It is normal behavior,'" De Leonibus told The News.

He then went back to the stands and recorded a little more than 30 seconds of the struggle. He posted the video, which has some strong language at the beginning, to YouTube, and it had almost 39,000 views as of Saturday evening.

In the video, you can hear the angry audience yelling. De Leonibus said that, during the uproar, people were stomping their feet and threatening to protest.

“The crowd was really upset and panicking,” he said. “My daughter was screaming.”

An employee tried to calm the audience down by announcing over the loud speaker that the dolphins slide up on their own and will make their way back into the pool.

 De Leonibus said it wasn't until 10 to 15 minutes after he filmed the video that two dolphin trainers showed up and pushed the pilot whale into the water.

The incident certainly upset his daughter.

"She's been really disillusioned by SeaWorld," he said.

SeaWorld Orlando did not immediately return the Daily News' request for comment, but spokesperson Nick Gollattscheck told WTSP that "the pilot whales come out on the ledge all the time and always get back into the deeper water without any problem."

"The animals seem to enjoy it" he said, "and it has no effect on their health or wellbeing. 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."