A dolphin from a zoo in Chicago died earlier this week after a freak accident.
Shows were cancelled for the day after the four-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin named Nea, died at Brookfield Zoo on Monday after she is thought to have collided with another dolphin in the zoo's training pool.
The incident occurred just before the afternoon show when trainers hear a loud popping sound. They found the female dolphin unconscious and attempts to resuscitate her failed.
Staff told the press that she probably bumped into one of the other dolphins head on as it was unlikely that she had collided with the pool wall as there were no scrapes or bruising. Preliminary results of a necropsy indicated she sustained a fractured skull. None of the other dolphins appeared to sustain an injury.
Bill Zeigler, senior vice president of animal care and collections, told the Chicago Sun Times that most of the dolphins in the collection were young: "They're like a bunch of kids running around. We just think they happened to collide."
Rita Stacey, the zoo's curator of marine mammals added that Nea, the youngest of the group, would be missed: "She was a wonderful animal to work with. Anybody who had worked with her just instantly fell in love with her. She was a very fun-loving, cooperative animal. She always wanted to work and play with the trainers."
Grief counsellors were brought in for the trainers who were devastated by Nea's death.
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