• Switzerland edition
 
Zoo backs heroin theory in dead dolphins case
Connyland (File)

Zoo backs heroin theory in dead dolphins case

Published: 08 May 2012 13:43 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 May 2012 10:56 GMT+02:00

The head of the Connyland wildlife park has confirmed a newspaper report suggesting that two dolphins who died after a rave near the zoo last November may have been given a heroin substitute by party-goers.

Connyland chief Erich Brandenberger told Swiss media the park has seen the veterinary report that formed the basis of the poisoning claims laid out in the Sunday edition of the NZZ newspaper.

A toxicology report leaked over the weekend suggests that the two dolphins, Shadow and Chelmers, did not die as a result of the antibiotics administered by their vets as has previously been alleged.

Tests showed that a substance called Buprenorphin, which is used a heroin substitute, was found in the urine of the two dolphins that died at the park last November, online news site 20 Minuten reported. 

“Opiates are extremely dangerous for underwater mammals and would never be used in any legitimate treatment,” dolphin expert Cornelis van Elk, told the Daily Mail news online.

This has reawakened earlier theories about the cetacean deaths, which pointed to the fact that a big rave party had taken place close to the site where the dolphins were kept.

It was at first thought that one of the party-goers had fed drugs to the animals, but this idea was dismissed and the vets were blamed instead, the Daily Mail reported.

Dolphins are conscious breathers, which means that they have to decide when to come to the surface to breath. Even when sleeping, part of a dolphin’s brain is dedicated to serving this basic requirement. Opiates may well interfere with these systems, with fatal consequences, van Elk said.

Prior to the event, animal activists warned of the potential consequences of holding the big party so close to the animal park, but their protests went unheard.

Now the Swiss zoo association has decided to support Connyland against a threatened action to ban dolphins.

In a recent letter to politicians, the association argued that if activists have their way and succeed in removing dolphins from the park, the chances are high that they would soon lobby for other exotic animals to be removed too.

The Green Liberals have criticised the zoo association’s support of Connyland, describing the conditions that the dolphins are kept in as “deplorable”.

Prosecutors are continuing to investigate the case.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Mega diamond to be auctioned in Geneva
A Sotheby's employee poses for pictures with the "Graff Vivid Yellow," at 100.09 carats one of the rarest yellow diamonds of its size. AFP Photo/Andrew Cowie

Mega diamond to be auctioned in Geneva

One of the world's largest yellow diamonds will go under the hammer in Geneva next month, with the Sotheby's auction house hoping to rake in up to $25 million for the gem. READ () »

Activist jailed for six years in Vasella case
Former Novartis chairman Daniel Vasella. Photo AFP/File

Activist jailed for six years in Vasella case

A British animal rights activist was jailed for six years on Thursday for her part in a Europe-wide campaign of intimidation targeting Huntington Life Sciences, an animal testing company linked to Swiss pharma giant Novartis. READ () »

Zoo faces cruelty charges over cub deaths
Kurt Nünlist was appalled by the deaths of two cubs at the Bern zoo (photo:zvg)

Zoo faces cruelty charges over cub deaths

A Swiss animal lover has filed a legal complaint against Bern zoo, accusing it of cruelty over the deaths of two bear cubs. Dählhölzli zoo could be fined under Switzerland’s tough animal protection laws. READ () »

Germans smuggle cash out of Switzerland
Customs officials found €573 million in illegal money in 2013. Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol

Germans smuggle cash out of Switzerland

The number of Germans smuggling money out of Switzerland rose dramatically last year. Customs officers on the German-Swiss border said on Thursday they made a find in almost every third car they checked. READ () »

Experts challenge e-cigarettes study
Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP

Experts challenge e-cigarettes study

Two Swiss medical organisations have rejected calls to overturn the ban on sales of electronic cigarettes in Switzerland. READ () »

Bern approves solution for Erasmus students
Students intending to go on an Erasmus exchange in 2014-15 will now be able to. Photo: Jirka Matousek

Bern approves solution for Erasmus students

Following the suspension of Switzerland's participation in the Erasmus student exchange programme, on Wednesday the federal government approved plans for a 23 million franc ($26 million) interim solution. READ () »

Kerry bound for Geneva talks on Ukraine crisis
US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva last year. Photo: Pool/AFP

Kerry bound for Geneva talks on Ukraine crisis

US Secretary of State John Kerry left on Wednesday for Geneva for high-stakes talks on Ukraine, armed with the threat of more sanctions against Moscow if diplomacy fails, as tensions on the ground escalated sharply. READ () »

Credit Suisse investment bank woes hurt profits
Credit Suisse offices in Zurich. Photo: Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse investment bank woes hurt profits

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse said on Wednesday that its first quarter net profit took a heavy hit as its investment bank reeled from slumping trading in bonds. READ () »

Ski champion announces same-sex marriage
Sylviane Berthod (right in each of the photos) and her partner. Photos: Facebook

Ski champion announces same-sex marriage

Former Swiss alpine ski champion Sylviane Berthod has announced her engagement to marry another woman in a public way — on her Facebook page. READ () »

UK blocks Swiss deal with EU on Croatia
EU headquarters in Brussels. Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP

UK blocks Swiss deal with EU on Croatia

The UK has scuppered, at least temporarily, an agreement in principle between Bern and Brussels over the free movement of people between Switzerland and Croatia, the Swiss broadcaster RTS says. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Former industrial zone transforms into Zurich’s trendiest spot
Tech
Swiss Solar Impulse team shows off new fuel-free aircraft
International
Suspect in Liechtenstein bank CEO murder case 'likely dead'
Sponsored Article
Caveman comedy comes to Zurich in English
Society
Innovative building provides refuge for hypersensitive tenants
Tech
VIDEO: Teenage boy sends Swiss army knife into stratosphere
International
Switzerland ranks second in world for social progress: report
National
Pharrell Williams set to perform in first Montreux jazzfest concert
Sport
American wingsuit flyer dies after Bernese Oberland accident
Business & Money
H&M plans hefty Swiss minimum wage for employees by 2015
International
Caterpillar accused by US senator of dodging taxes through 'Swiss plan'
International
Geneva man in Facebook page fight with Italian carmaker Ferrari
Advertisement:
International
Schumacher’s wife pays for 'medical suite' at Swiss family mansion
International
Aborted Swiss airlines take-off injures four at London airport
International
Swiss refuse asylum request from topless protest group founder
Business & Money
British expat former banker to head Swiss finance regulator FINMA
National
Swiss honey contains harmful plastic: TV consumer affairs report
Business & Money
Luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe threatens Geneva exit over taxes
Business & Money
World's largest watch fair opens in Basel amid uncertain times
International
'Fergie' credits hikes around Verbier mountains for recent weight loss
Etoiles de Montagne
Sponsored Article
How to summer holiday up a Swiss mountain
Swissbenefits
Sponsored Article
How to avoid Switzerland’s tax haven trap
International
Switzerland's residents are the happiest in the OECD: report
International
Swiss voters support bid to establish lofty minimum wage: poll
National
Switzerland's largest cities set to back regulated 'cannabis clubs'
Business & Money
Franc surges against other currencies on rising Ukraine concerns
Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,089
jobs available