Miami-Dade County Terminates Lease with Miami Seaquarium

Miami-Dade County Terminates Lease with Miami Seaquarium

“Miami-Dade County values the safety and well-being of all our residents and visitors, including the animals that are currently under the care of the Miami Seaquarium.”

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
|
January 23, 2024

Miami-Dade County has terminated a lease with Miami Seaquarium. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava issued a letter to the Dolphin Company, which manages the Miami Seaquarium, regarding animal welfare issues.

In the letter, Mayor Cava also notes Miami-Dade County’s “frequent communication” with the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the aforementioned animal welfare issues. She also notes that the U.S. Department of Agriculture “has documented and brought to our attention multiple and repeated instances of animal welfare violations.”

In a joint statement released with Miami-Dade County Commissioner Raquel Regalado, Mayor Levine affirmed that “Miami-Dade County values the safety and well-being of all our residents and visitors, including the animals that are currently under the care of the Miami Seaquarium.”

They go on to cite “the continuous violations and poor quality of animal care documented” by the Department of Agriculture for issuing “a Notice of Intent to Confiscate.”

“When this operator took control of the facility, we worked together to mandate greater accountability, and oversight of the animals, understanding that any compromise in their care is a direct contravention of our shared commitment to their well-being,” they commented, adding that they are working closely with the USDA to ensure the safety of the animals.

The Miami Seaquarium has not responded to the Notice or the termination of the lease.

In August 2023, the orca Lolita passed away after she was held in captivity for more than half a century. The news of her passing made headlines, and it incited a response from animal rights activists who had been fighting for the release of Lolita.

Also called Toki, or Tokitae, the nonprofit group Friends of Toki released a statement, calling the orca “an inspiration to all who had the fortune to hear her story and especially to the Lummi nation that considered her family.”

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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