KEY LARGO, FL ” August 16, 2011 –
More than 1,500 people have joined a campaign on Change.org calling on the National Marine Fisheries Service to end the suffering of a pilot whale known as R300.
Marine mammal activist Barbara Napoles launched the campaign on Change.org after a video (featured on the Change.org petition) exposed Marine Mammal Conservancy President Robert Lingenfelser showing the whale to tourists, which is in violation of the National Marine Fisheries Service regulation prohibiting display of marine mammals in rehabilitation
The video shows the whale being observed by tourists during a physical therapy session. Lingenfelser is heard soliciting donations as he explains to tourists that R300 is suffering from a fully collapsed right lung and one-third collapsed left lung. She has also been diagnosed with scoliosis, pneumonia and MRSA, a staph infection that can be transmitted between whales and humans.
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More than 1,500 people have signed the petition on Change.org, urging the National Marine Fisheries Service to investigate R300’s condition and use their authority to end R300’s suffering.
“If she is found to be suffering from the ailments being used to raise money in her name, please ensure that she is humanely euthanized to end her suffering,” reads the petition. “If she is healthy, she needs to be moved to an appropriate rehab facility where she is not being used to raise money.”
R300 was one of 23 pilot whales stranded on the Gulf Coast in May. Fifteen of the whales didn’t survive the stranding, two were humanely euthanized. Of the remaining whales that went into rehabilitation, two were released, two were euthanized, and one was moved to SeaWorld. More than 90 days later, R300 is the last of the pilot whales to continue rehabilitation at the Marine Mammal Conservancy.
Marine Mammal Conservancy’s supporters are hoping to see R300 released back into the ocean, but that doesn’t seem to be a likely
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