NEAR SCOTTSDALE (3TV/CBS 5) -- Dolphinaris Arizona said Monday that another one of its dolphins has died.
Khloe, an 11-year-old female Atlantic bottlenose dolphin who had been at Dolphinaris since 2016, is the second dolphin to die there this year and the third since the facility opened amid controversy just outside Scottsdale.
According to a Facebook post Monday afternoon by Dolphinaris Arizona, Khloe died Sunday. The aquarium said she had a chronic illness caused by a parasite.
She was diagnosed years before her arrival in Arizona.
“Prior to her arrival at Dolphinaris, Khloe struggled with chronic illness due to a parasite called Sarcocystis, which can affect mammals, including dolphins," according to Dolphinaris Arizona's general manager Christian Schaeffer. "This infection usually causes severe central nervous system and muscle disease, as well as weakens the immune system to other pathogens. Her condition has been managed with exceptional veterinary care for nearly six years as we called on dolphin experts globally to determine treatments that extended her life.”
Dolphinaris says Khloe's caregivers took action when they "recently noticed her health again showing signs of decline."
According to Dolphinaris, Sarcocystis has a "very high" mortality rate, but veterinarians do not know much about how the disease progresses in dolphins, either in captivity or in the wild.
Dolphinaris said a necropsy (animal autopsy) will be performed on Khloe that it "will share those findings with the global veterinary community ...."
Dolphinaris said in its Facebook post that its other dolphins "are all doing well."
Khloe is not the first
Khloe is the second animal Dolphinaris has lost this year.
In May, a 10-year-old dolphin named Alia died.
According to lab results released about a month later, Alia died of an acute bacterial infection that spread quickly through her body. That infection was not contagious.
In September 2017, a dolphin named Bodie died of a "rare muscle disease."
A group called Dolphin Free AZ held a protest outside Dolphinaris after a federal report on Bodie's death was released.
"We're still fighting for the rest of the seven [dolphins], but we did fail at getting one of them free," Robert Franklin with Dolphin Free AZ said at the time.
Dolphinaris, which is part of the OdySea In The Desert complex on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community near Scottsdale, opened in October 2016.