Fourteen dolphins have died since Six Flags took over the Park in 1997, nearly all prematurely from captivity-related causes.
According to Michael Muraco, who was employed as the Director of Animal Care at Six Flags from 2007 to 2014, the marine mammals were not fed proper diets. Also, the water system for the dolphins was inadequate for the size of the facility and didn’t work properly. The ozone generator failed, leaching hazardous chemicals into the pool. Six Flags compensated for the lack of ozone by raising the levels of chlorine. A USDA Inspection Report attributed poor water quality to “recurring respiratory issues, eye problems, and fungal infections” in adult dolphins and the deaths of two dolphin calves in 2014.
Over and over, Muraco complained to higher management about the water-quality issues that were making the dolphins sick and killing them. For years, promises to improve the water-quality system were given, but no improvements were made.
Muraco, who was fired for blowing the whistle to the USDA about the many issues that violated federal regulations, reported in court documents that the amusement park was not putting enough salt in the dolphins' water. Half of the dolphins were in pools with no temperature control, and the water temperature had gotten dangerously low and higher than 95 degrees, putting the dolphins at risk. Medication was used in lieu of proper training, and the dolphins were addicted to unnecessary drugs.
An eight-year-old dolphin died in October 2015 after the water problems were supposed be to fixed.