Kelly the dolphin is being exploited.At 38 years old, she’s almost twice the age that her species lives in the wild.

But hey, let’s just keep squeezing those performances out of her. Every dollar counts for fading Marineland.

As a representative of Marineland put it in an interview last week in the DomPost: “On Friday she was out of her skin with enthusiasm but on Saturday she wasn’t so keen. We explain to the crowds that in human terms she’s about 150.”

So here’s the picture this comment conjures up … Kelly getting her pre-show pep talk … “We know your tired and sore and the big jumps make your heart pound, but give us one more ball jump for old times sake … for the kids … for Marineland!”

They know she’s not up to it; still, they bring her out and hope for the best … but they don’t worry too much. After all, the audience pays in advance.

Imagine rolling your great-auntie out into the front yard in her wheel chair, and then making her try backflips to entertain the neighborhood kids. This is what’s going on at Marineland.

I’m sure the staff keeps a careful eye on Kelly’s vigor. But that’s beside the point. There simply comes a time when enough is enough.

I wonder. Does the audience get their money back if she kicks off midway through a performance? Probably no need … they’ll feel they’ve seen something special.

How long will the Napier Council allow this to continue? Let the poor creature retire for godssake!


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