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The Miami Seaquarium responded Wednesday to Miami-Dade County taking initial steps to terminate the lease for the marine park, saying it is working with federal regulators to come into compliance with animal welfare rules.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava on Sunday sent a “notice of advisement” to the Dolphin Co., which owns the Seaquarium. Levine Cava told the park the County learned that the USDA notified Seaquarium it was removing four marine animals because of substandard care. 

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In a news release on X, formerly Twitter, Seaquarium said its animal care staff has been collaborating with the USDA to address concerns about the care of “four complex animal cases.”

Seaquarium, in its statement, said the four animals were not removed from the park. A call and email to the agency to confirm Seaquarium’s statement went unanswered. 

Dolphins and manatees have been relocated from Seaquarium in the last year. The marine park’s orca whale, Lolita, died of pneumonia and renal failure in August. Seaquarium had  issued statements that she was in robust health and that plans to transfer her to a sea pen in Washington state were on schedule.

Seaquarium said Levine Cava and her staff never contacted the park regarding the lease issue nor whether the information it released on Monday was accurate. 

“We reiterate our disappointment with how Miami-Dade County has misused the information they claimed they received from the USDA regarding animal health issues,” Seaquarium stated in its release on X.

Natalia Jaramillo, a spokeswoman for Levine Cava, said the mayor had no statement as she was readying to give her ‘State of the County” address on Wednesday evening.

In the “notice of advisement” sent to the Dolphin Co., Levine Cava said, “The welfare of these animals is paramount, and any compromise and any compromise in their care is a direct contravention of our shared commitment to their well-being.”

Eduardo Albor, the CEO of the Dolphin Co., posted Seaquarium’s statement, saying the park is in compliance with the federal Animal Welfare Act regulations. “We’re addressing misinformation and staying open under our lease agreement with Miami Dade County,” Albor posted.

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JOHN PACENTI is the executive editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.

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JOHN PACENTI is the executive editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.