Two dolphins that had died at a Swiss zoo last November, have been deemed to have been killed by a drug overdose after toxicology reports indicated they had a heroine type substance in their systems.
The dolphins named Shadow and Chelmers, were found struggling to live in their tank shortly after the Connyland marine park in Lipperswil, Switzerland, decided to hold a rave on the grounds. Park officials had first though that possibly the very loud techno music being played all night caused the dolphins death.
Now investigators know that the heroine-like drug, Buprenorphine was fed to them by party goers. The drug caused them to suppress their natural instincts to surface for air and caused them to drown.
Dutch marine biologist and dolphin expert Cornelis van Elk, and Connyland zookeeper Nadja Gasser explained how the drug was a death sentence for the two dolphins.
“The reason is that dolphins are conscious breathers, which means they actively decide when to come to the surface to breathe,” Elk said.
“Drugging them with opiates causes this part of the brain to switch off, with fatal consequences,” Gasser added.
Gasser went on to describe what happened when they noticed one of the dolphins in trouble and the agonizing death it suffered.
“He was drifting under the water and was clearly in trouble, and so we jumped into the water. We tried to hold him. He was shaking all over and was foaming at the mouth,” Gasser said. “The death went on for over an hour. It was horrendous. I have not been able to sleep since.”
Connyland is denying any wrongdoing, though they were warned ahead of time by animal activists that the rave was a bad idea.