Dolphins shipped to the Valley via FedExPosted: Updated:
Live dolphins were shipped to the Valley using FedEx and animal rights activists are upset about it.
Cell phone video that was released doesn't show everything. Several people appear to be working on and around one of those stretchers that are used to carry dolphins when they're out of the water. They're inside a FedEx cargo warehouse in Honolulu, Hawaii. Then you hear the voices of the two animal rights activists who are recording the scene.
"Do you have a permit to transfer these dolphins?" shouts one activist.
Soon, someone walks toward the activists from within the warehouse, closes a chain link gate, then drops a metal door, hiding from view what is happening inside.
"This is how all dolphins are transported from one marine park to another," says one of the activists. They work with Animal Rights Hawaii, a nonprofit based in Honolulu.
The video appears to show dolphin trainers and caretakers preparing one of three dolphins for a FedEx plane trip to the Valley. A second video clip appears to show a crate containing one of the dolphins on the back of a flatbed pickup truck.
The animals were bound for Dolphinaris Arizona, a dolphin aquarium located near Scottsdale.
"FedEx is one carrier that is experienced at safely transporting animals, and frankly, is one of the best," wrote Grey Stafford in an email to CBS 5 Investigates.
Stafford is the general manager of Dolphinaris. He confirmed that three new dolphins arrived at his facility from Hawaii on Monday morning. He indicated that they were doing well.
Animal rights activists argue that flying dolphins in a jet across the ocean could be harmful to the animals.
"They are bombarded with foreign sounds, sensations, changing air pressure during flights, and are known to vocalize and thrash out in fear," wrote Lisa Arnseth in an email to CBS 5 Investigates.
Arnseth is the co-founder of Dolphin Free AZ, a volunteer organization which was started to raise awareness about dolphins and advocate against Dolphinaris.
The "swim with the dolphins" facility is set to open in mid-October. It is located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, which is a sovereign nation.
The aquarium is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture, but would not be bound by state-level regulations. Critics worry about the effect of the desert heat on the animals, but the aquarium has chillers that are capable of keeping the water at a constant and cool temperature.
Stafford told CBS 5 Investigates that Dolphinaris chartered the FedEx flight, and that a veterinarian and several trainers were on board and tending to the dolphins throughout the flight.
The three new dolphins will join five, which arrived earlier this month from California.
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