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The State

December 01, 1987

Sea World in San Diego, where Minnesota Zoo officials sent a sick beluga whale and its companion last spring in a last-ditch attempt to save its life, has a poor survival rate for whales and dolphins, it was reported. The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported that a recent study of National Marine Fisheries Service records conducted by a biology doctoral candidate showed that the San Diego aquarium had a poorer survival rate for belugas and four other species of marine mammals than most other zoos and aquariums. David Bain, who tracked the longevity of more than 1,600 captive marine mammals, said Sea World, which has the world's largest collection of marine mammals, has had at least 132 whale and dolphin deaths since 1973. Along with belugas, Sea World scored poorly with pilot whales, killer whales, bottle-nosed dolphins and Commerson's dolphins. "Something in their medical care system is breaking down," he said. A Sea World spokeswoman, Corrine Brindley, declined to comment, saying she hadn't seen the study.

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