Video of what appeared to be a pilot whale that had beached itself at SeaWorld popped up on the internet on Monday, and predictably, people lost their minds over it.
And for good reason.
Not only did the the whale appear to be distressed and in trouble but workers at SeaWorld appeared to ignore it as spectators began to shout and scream for them to help the animal.
Yet, according to WESH.com, SeaWorld said the behavior was normal for the whale.
The video, which was shot and posted on YouTube by park guest Carlo De Leonubus, 33, shows the pilot whale -- which is a member of the dolphin family -- apparently struggling on the ledge of a platform where the animals swim.
De Leonubus posted what he witnessed along with the video:
The Cove Dolphin (pilot whale) was stuck for about ten minutes before I went and told a seaworld employee in a dark blue shirt who said it was normal and that it was fine, playing etc. I went back to the bleachers and began recording. What I saw, changed my view of SeaWorld forerver (sic). The crowd becomes furious, yelling to save the dolphin. After an additional 10-15 minutes after my recording they sent two dolphin trainers in to push the dolphin back in.
SeaWorld has since responded to the video, and the outcry from the public and animal rights activists, saying that this was normal behavior for the pilot whale and that it was never in any danger.
In a statement released by the park, SeaWorld says it was social and playful behavior. It also points out that the trainer performing that day's show is telling this to the crowd of seemingly shocked and angry onlookers:
"The safety of guests and employees and the welfare of our animals are SeaWorld's highest priorities. The pilot whale shown in the video is not stranded or beached on the ledge at SeaWorld Orlando's whale and dolphin stadium. The whale was never in danger. This is social and play behavior our trainers see daily and sometimes hourly by the pilot whales. If you listen closely the trainer on microphone is trying to tell the audience just that.
This whale was beached and stranded when it was saved by our animal rescue team last Labor Day weekend in South Florida. After it was rescued and rehabilitated, it was deemed un-releasable by the federal government.
The younger and more inexperienced animals -- like the one on the video -- sometimes take a little longer to find their way back to the water because they haven't completely mastered the technique yet. When this happens the animal is constantly monitored by our animal trainers. The whale was never in danger. In fact, the pilot whales are trained to swim onto the ledge so we can monitor their growth and give them veterinary care."
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