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The Sensitivity of Toki's Health

For at least the last 38 years, the trainers working with Toki and, eventually Lii and Loke, have performed daily examinations and routine samples to ensure optimum health. This has included voluntary medical behaviors (also known as husbandry behaviors) such as weekly weighing, measurements, exhale, gastric, fecal and/or urine samples.

As a result, all three of these animals have surpassed their respective average life expectancies, which is a testament to how instrumental these daily evaluations and routine specimen collections have become.

Medical interventions, and the frequency of which they receive them, has exponentially increased over the years due to their advancing ages. This includes, but is not limited to, daily supplements, medications including antibiotics, adding additional water to their diet via extra ice, hydrating fish, jello, or even supplemental tubed water due to chronic liver and kidney issues.

These behaviors require these animals to be in close enough proximity to access multiple parts of their bodies, and some even include sliding up and out of the water. How would these interventions be accomplished in an environment such as the proposed sea pen? Regular routine medical behaviors would be very challenging, if not even impossible. This alone would put the health of these animals at great risk.

Now imagine if one of them were to need emergency medical intervention. We all feel that this situation will absolutely happen. The risk of shock alone for these immunocompromised animals, upon placement in a foreign environment, is inevitable.

Just last year, Toki almost died due to illness and it required the water level in her pool to be dropped to only 3-4 feet in order to access her for the proper treatments she required. These pool drops were repeated daily, sometimes several times a day. This type of intervention would not be possible in a sea pen.

This plan is fraught with deadly risks and was made without significant consideration for the daily medical care that the animals have come to rely on for the last 38 years. Moving these geriatric, medically-complex animals to a sea pen is not only life threatening, but downright inhumane.

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