Dolphin held in captivity for 40 years suffers horrific death after plastic thrown into tank


The dolphin, which was kept captive for four decades, met a tragic end.

Nephele, the oldest dolphin at Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden, tragically passed away due to choking on plastic that was thrown into her tank.

She had been entertaining audiences for many years, and her tank contained artificial seaweed that was meant to uplift her spirits.

The dolphin was a popular feature. Credit:YouTube/Diversia

However, during the examination, it was discovered that the plastic plant had become lodged in her throat, resulting in her untimely demise rather than bringing her joy.

The Swiss zoo confirmed that she was in good health before her unfortunate passing earlier this year. However, she began exhibiting unusual behavior and eventually descended into her tank.

Regrettably, Nephele passed away prior to receiving assistance from the zoo veterinarian.

The chief veterinarian at Kolmarden Zoo, Bim Boijsen, informed the local media that the dolphin, Nephele, had already passed away by the time the vet arrived. It was a quick process and a very sad loss as Nephele was a beloved dolphin.

Boijsen mentioned that the zoo used to put fake plants in the tanks to make them more enjoyable and “stimulate the animals”. However, all of these plants have been taken out now.

Danny Groves, the Communications Head at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, provided his thoughts on the unfortunate passing for Newsweek.

“He mentioned that Nephele must have found it distressing to choke while needing to come up to the surface to breathe, just like us dolphins.”

According to Dolphin Project, Daniel Rolke from The Animal Rights Alliance in Sweden mentioned that Nephele, previously known as ‘Mandy’, was purchased by Kolmarden along with Cindy in 1994.

Nepehele spent decades in captivity.

He said that the purchase caused a lot of disagreement. Initially, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency declined to permit their importation into Sweden. This was because bottlenose dolphins were listed on the CITES Appendix II, which meant they could only be imported from the country of their birth or capture. Cindy and Mandy, who were both nine years old in 1989, had been captured in Florida, United States.

After submitting a new application about dolphins, the pair was brought in and given new names, Nephele and Delphi, in order to “make people forget the connection”.

He mentioned that Delphi passed away at Kolmarden Zoo in 2007 due to a birth. Furthermore, Nephele has also left us.

In 2022, the Swedish zoo made an announcement about shutting down its dolphin exhibit. Despite the criticism it receives, the zoo still has some dolphins.

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