Ripley is, believe it or not, a 25-year-old dolphin who is still trapped at SeaWorld in San Antonio and has been a captive of SeaWorld its entire life.
Ripley was born at SeaWorld, Texas in 1996. Since then, she has traveled the country four times – first from SeaWorld in San Antonio to Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida; then to Seaworld Orlando; then to SeaWorld San Diego; and then eventually back to SeaWorld in San Antonio. Imagine being sent as a package from Texas to Florida, from California to Texas. Ripley had pregnancies twice – in 2011 and 2012 – both times ended in miscarriage. If her offspring had survived, they, too, would have spent their entire lives in small barren aquariums forced to perform pointless tricks as a reward for the dead fish.
SeaWorld has made it clear that Ripley’s well-being is not a priority. He cares primarily about the money he can make from exploiting her — and if he could make money from exploiting her babies, he would. In their oceanfront homes, dolphins build constructive relationships with their families and herds, engage in challenging conversations with them, choose mates, raise cubs and swim up to 60 miles a day in the vast expanses of the ocean. At SeaWorld they are used as stage props, impregnated against their will and forced to live in tanks like this one:
SeaWorld still forcibly inseminates female dolphins, sometimes after injecting them with drugs, taking them out of the water and stuffing instruments into the vagina and uterus. Ripley is just one of the many dolphins that SeaWorld has used. Lily was captured at her ocean home in 1983 and imprisoned at SeaWorld, where she gave birth to six children. Her first child died the day after she was born from an injury sustained after she was thrown from a pool by another frustrated dolphin. Lily’s next calf died at just 16 days. Then she gave birth to three more babies. Her last child, Lagos, died of pneumonia and sepsis. In 2017, Lily was put to sleep as a result of an illness. Between age 7 and her death at about 29, Puka, who was born at SeaWorld in San Diego in 1982, gave birth to nine calves in captivity, five of which are now dead.
SeaWorld has always made dolphins perform ridiculous stunts in his brutal shows, used them for breeding to exploit their cubs, and sent them across the country where they could rake the most money.
Ripley still languishes at SeaWorld, along with hundreds of other dolphins and whales caught in parks across the country by one of the world’s most greedy ventures.