Miami Dolphins Sever Business Partnership With SeaWorld

Photo by George Martinez
Protesters at the March for Lolita in Miami.
The Miami Dolphins finally did something right, it would seem.

After a three-year relationship with SeaWorld, the Dolphins are ending their marketing partnership with the theme park. For SeaWorld, it's yet another company that has broken ties. Southwest Airlines, Virgin America, STA Travel, Hyndai, and Taco Bell have all distanced themselves.

Just last year, animal rights groups were calling the Dolphins out for promoting SeaWorld as a way to entice people to become season ticket holders.

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Lolita, Miami Seaquarium's Orca, Closer to Freedom

Categories: Animal Planet

Piotr Domaradzki via Wikimedia Commons
Last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration brought a proposal to amend the current Endangered Species Act listing for Southern Resident killer whales to include Miami Seaquarium's Lolita as a member of her extended family.

As New Times reported last March, the National Marine Fisheries Service sought public comment as to whether Lolita should be included in the ESA listing. With the one-year comment period coming to a close January 24, Lolita will likely become protected under the ESA listing, which would mean she cannot be used in a theme park to generate revenues. If the Seaquarium goes ahead and keeps using her to entertain people for money, it could mean that further legal action may be required.

In 2005, Southern Resident killer whales were classified as endangered, And since Lolita, who is 50 years old, falls into that category, that would mean she would have to be set free and put back in Puget Sound with the rest of her family, which includes her 85-year-old mother.

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Petition to End "Swimming With Dolphins" Programs Hits the Internet

Categories: Animal Planet

Alexander Vasenin via Wikipedia Commons
With SeaWorld seeing attendance dips, its CEO step down, and people protesting the Miami Seaqiarium's captivity of Lolita, more and more people are getting involved in trying to save aquatic animals from being used as playthings for tourists.

Now a new petition, this one targeting "swimming with dolphins" programs, has hit the internet pleading for Congress to step in and end the programs.

Swimming with dolphins is a popular tourist attraction throughout the state, including in South Florida, where you can swim with a porpoise for $100 a session.

See also: SeaWorld Orca Sanctuary Solution Offered by PETA Stockholders

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Owner of Delray Beach Reptile Shop Arrested for Slapping Employees With Bearded Dragon

Andrew Tisinger via Wikimedia Commons
A reptile store owner was arrested for slapping his employees with a bearded dragon lizard.

And you hate your boss when he gives you gruff about stuff.

According to a Broward Sheriff's Office arrest report, Benjamin Siegel, 40, owner of Ben Siegel Reptiles Inc. in Delray Beach, was arrested on battery and cruelty to animal charges on Friday after he allegedly hit some of his employees with a live lizard multiple times.

The report says the incident was caught on a store surveillance camera.

See also: Edward Archbold Dies After Eating Dozens of Roaches and Worms in Deerfield Reptile Shop

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SeaWorld Orca Sanctuary Solution Offered by PETA Stockholders

Categories: Animal Planet

Wikimedia Commons/Milan Boers
Earlier this year, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which owns shares of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., tried to propose a solution for the park's ongoing public criticism over its treatment of captive orcas: the creation of a coastal retirement sanctuary for SeaWorld's killer whales.

The proposal was shot down by SeaWorld, and business went on as usual.

But PETA, which purchased shares in the company last year, has reintroduced the idea on the heels of the announcement of the company's CEO stepping down at the beginning of 2015.

See also: SeaWorld CEO Stepping Down Come January; PETA Responds

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Beautiful Horses Ate Some Tainted Feed and Now They're Dying

Categories: Animal Planet

Hanjo Winter/Flickr
If you would like to read a heartbreaking story that will make you sad for the rest of the day, keep reading.

Beautiful horses are getting sick and dying at the Masterpiece Equestrian Center in Davie because of some tainted feed. As of today, four horses have died since November and more are expected to be euthanized in the next few days because of feed from Lakeland Animal Nutrition.

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SeaWorld CEO Stepping Down Come January; PETA Responds

Categories: Animal Planet

wikimedia commons/ Milan Boers
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. announced that CEO Jim Atchison is stepping down from his position come January. The company made its announcement on Thursday amid free-falling stocks and failing P.R. stemming from the popular documentary Blackfish, a film that exposes the dangers of keeping orcas in captivity.

In addition, the company also announced that a wave of job cuts is on the way as part of saving $50 million a year, though it did not specify exactly how many jobs will be cut.

Atchison will be replaced by Chairman David D'Alessandro as interim CEO on January 15 until a permanent replacement is found.

See also: Seven Reasons SeaWorld's Bigger Orca Tanks Project Is a Joke

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SeaWorld Protesters Crash Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Categories: Animal Planet

courtesy PETA
Last Thanksgiving, spurred by the documentary Blackfish, 12-year-old Rose McCoy hopped a fence at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and staged a solo protest over the inclusion of the SeaWorld float as she chanted "Boycott SeaWorld!" and waved around a sign.

This year's parade saw the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) pulling a McCoy, and also jumping a fence to protest.

Members of Peta, who were joined by McCoy, were able to get past the barricades that separates onlookers from the parade, and waived around signs that read "SeaWorld Hurts Orcas." Police were forced to take the protesters away from the parade route.

See also: Seven Reasons SeaWorld's Bigger Orca Tanks Project Is a Joke

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Alligators in the Everglades Are Losing Massive Amounts of Weight

Categories: Animal Planet

Amanda44 via Wikimedia Commons
A research crew from the University of Florida, led by a wildlife ecologist who has studied alligators for decades, has discovered that the alligators living in the Everglades are getting more and more emaciated.

"They're skinnier, they're fewer, they grow slower," U of F ecologist Frank Mazzotti told CBS News. "Most other places, if an alligator is 10 years old, it's easily six feet long -- not so in the Everglades. At 10 years [old], it's only four or five feet."

When observing the gators, Mazzotti notes, "Essentially it looks like a skeleton with skin hanging on it."

So what the hell is happening to the alligators?

See also: A Gay -- or "Two-Spirit" -- Miccosukee Man Fights for the Everglades

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Florida Panthers Killed by Vehicles Ties Record, but Officials Say That May Be Good News

Categories: Animal Planet

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons
If things remain on pace, 2014 will be the year the most Florida Panthers were killed by a vehicle. In 2012, 19 panthers were found dead from being struck by a car, the most since the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission began keeping track of the numbers. But just last week, a 4-year-old female was killed by a vehicle, tying the 2012 record and setting up this year to be the record-breaker.

Most of the panthers were killed by vehicles in Collier County, according to the FWC. Half of those were females, and two were 4-month-old kittens.

Of the 25 panther deaths recorded this year, the majority have come from being struck by vehicles. And FWC records one to two panther deaths per month on average, which means 2014 will break the all-time record.

See also: Florida Panther Deaths in 2012 Break Record

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