May 8, 2012 at 1:22 PM ET
Two dolphins in Switzerland may have died from ingesting a heroin substitute after a rave party was held near their pool, the Daily Mail is reporting. But the owner of the facility says the deaths came weeks after the event, and claims animal activists are circulating an untrue story.
Shadow and Chelmers, two dolphins living in Conny-Land Marine Park in Lipperswil, died within five days of each other back in November. The Daily Mail reports that the deaths came after the park rented land near the dolphins' training pool to a weekend rave attended by thousands.
But Conny-Land owner Roberto Gasser told the Huffington Post UK that "[The dolphins] died two weeks after the party, so the party had nothing to do with it at all. This is an untrue story let out by animal activists which might be the cause of the death of our animals."
Gasser told the Huffington Post that the facility has rented its sound-proof chateau every weekend for a decade, and that a veterinarian and others were on site the night of the rave in question. "Nothing was heard or disturbed the animals," he said.
Gasser said the medication could only have been given to the animals in food, and that signs of forced entry were found at the food preparation area. The Huffington Post quotes Gasser as calling the deaths an "attack" and "a planned strike."
Animal-rights activists originally blamed the deaths on the event's techno music, suggesting it “disoriented and distressed” the marine animals affecting their immune system. Later reports claimed that antibiotics given by zoo vets could have caused the deaths.
But a new toxicology report leaked on May 6 says forensic scientists found the heroin substitute Buprenorphine in the animals’ urine, and it likely contributed to their death, the Mail reports.
The Daily Mail quotes Conny-Land keeper Nadja Gasser as telling the media that"(Chelmers') death was very drawn out and painful," adding that "He was shaking all over and was foaming at the mouth."
According to Change.org, Shadow and Chelmers are the seventh and eighth dolphins to die in Conny-Land in the past three years.