Since their intent to purchase Miami Seaquarium back in 2021, The Dolphin Company has continuously failed Toki, Lii, and Loke. Looking at the timeline of events, one can’t help to question if they had different plans from the beginning.
The cost of caring for Toki and maintaining the pool/stadium has never come cheap, but it appears that it became an issue for TDC way back in August 2021. Days after TDC announced they would be acquiring Miami Seaquarium, Miami-Dade County issued a demolish or repair order for Toki’s stadium.
Miami Seaquarium sits on land owned by Miami-Dade County. This means that the Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners must approve any sale as this involves transferring the lease of the property. At a hearing in October 2021, The Dolphin Company “committed to assuming all repairs should the assignment of the Lease be approved and is projecting repairs to be completed by the end of this year, 2021.” Still today, TDC has yet to begin any repairs, so we have to wonder if they said this just to get the transfer of the lease approved.
Between December of 2021 and March of 2022, Toki was seriously ill. In welfare assessments publicly released in 2022, Dr. James McBain and Dr. Stephanie Norman indicate “Toki had a very serious health event”.
March 2, 2022, Two days before officially taking ownership of Miami Seaquarium, the USDA states that TDC decided not to “exhibit Lolita/Tokitae and the Pacific white-sided dolphin within the Whale Stadium”. This means that Toki and Lii no longer have to be regulated by the USDA. The USDA is a government agency that is responsible for overseeing the welfare of any animals that are on display to the public. The USDA has provided consistent inspections of the whale pool and monitored the health of Toki and the Pacific white-sided dolphins for over 50 years. Suddenly, they are longer responsible for this animal, under new ownership.
On March 4, 2022, The Dolphin Company officially takes over Miami Seaquarium with no one to report to except the County Building Department.
The very next day, TDC issued a statement to the media which included the following:
“…Toki, who is well beyond the average life expectancy of her species,”
“Like any geriatric animal or human, however, some days are better than others…”
“…as animals age, their immune systems weaken, making them more susceptible to disease and more difficult to combat and recover from illness."
They took the words right out of our mouths.