Dudley Zoo - Killer Whale / Dolphins

Dudley Zoo - Killer Whale / Dolphins

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Catherine Griffiths

Dundee, UK

#1 Jan 27, 2006
I'm researching Dudley Zoo during the period in which it housed the killer whale - known as Cuddles - and several bottlenose dolphins. However, pictures and information seem to be relatively thin on the ground. If you have absolutely any photographs or information or memories of these remarkable animals to share I'd be very grateful for it - photographs especially - so please get in touch!

If you have any information or pictures you'd be willing to share with me, please e-mail me at: magpie_lion@hotmail.co.uk

Thanks!
nikki

Bolton, UK

#2 Jan 24, 2008
is this true? was there really a whale at the dudley zoo in the west midlands?
Mike

Cheltenham, UK

#3 Feb 29, 2008
There was a Killer whale called cuddles at the zoo in the 70's, i was born in a house in the grounds in 1974. Does anyone have any info on this house. All i know is it was the Earl of dudley's house and it was divided into flats that came with the job when you worked at the zoo. Any help or info would be appreciated. Thanks...
Robert Barwick

Birmingham, UK

#4 Mar 29, 2008
I did see the Killer Whale and Dolphins at Dudley Zoo when i as a youngster. And i have been back there recently. From what i can see that the Concrete pools they use to keep them have changed very little and they just about house 3 Sealions, Nevermind a Killer Whale and Dolphins. There is still platforms where the Whale and Dolphins use to Jump to and perform Various Tricks etc. I beleive that Cuddles died due to Suffication from a Plastic Bag in the Pool he was living in. Not sure what happedned to the Dolphins. I have no pictures or anything to do with this sad event.
Catherine Griffiths wrote:
I'm researching Dudley Zoo during the period in which it housed the killer whale - known as Cuddles - and several bottlenose dolphins. However, pictures and information seem to be relatively thin on the ground. If you have absolutely any photographs or information or memories of these remarkable animals to share I'd be very grateful for it - photographs especially - so please get in touch!
If you have any information or pictures you'd be willing to share with me, please e-mail me at: magpie_lion@hotmail.co.uk
Thanks!
Robert Barwick

Birmingham, UK

#5 Mar 29, 2008
Mor info for you

Cuddles was a male orca captured from either J or L pod in October of 1968 in Washington along with about 65 members of his greater family. Most of the whales were soon after released. Cuddles, the smallest of the five which were kept was 351 cm, whihc made him relevantly young was sent the furthest.

He was sent to Flamingo Land in Yorkshire, Great Britain where he stayed until 1971. He lived in a very very small pool along with few dolphins and a possible beluga.Between 1969-1970 Cuddles became so increasingly aggressive that keepers had to clean the pool from the protection of a shark cage. Then in 1971 he was transferred to Dudley Zoo in Worcester, Great Britain.

WhileCuddles was at Flamingo Land, vet David Taylor attempted to artificially artificualy inseminate Calypso, the Robinsonís second orca held at Cleethorpes Marineland, Great Britain, with sperm from Cuddles. Evidently it was thought that a baby whale would be a stupendous public-relations windfall, but Taylor's efforts proved futile. In the end, Calypso died in Marineland Antibes France, in December 1970, only a year after her capture.

Cuddles who had already suffered from such serious intestinal ulcers and massive internal bleeding that the pool at Flamingo Park had been turned blood-red - was transported to Dudley Zoo, on Castle Hill, overlooking the smog and industrial desolation of the Black Country...

According to Doug Cartlidge, who worked for Don Robinson during the 1970's, and who later went on to be killer whale and dolphin trainer at Windsor Safari Park, Dudley's appalling facilities undoubtedly contributed to its premature death. "We were nursing Cuddles for 24 hours a day for weeks at Flamingo Park. And when Robinson told me he was moving him to Dudley Zoo I told him that if he did, I'd leave. And I did leave. Cuddles was in very bad condition, but I do know that he supposedly attacked Robinson in Dudley Zoo." There, the ailing creature had been consigned to a pool "which was hardly big enough for him to turn around in" - but enough to die in. The pear-shaped outdoor whale pool was just over 15m long, 6m wide and 3.5m deep, while its inmate, measuring over 6m from head to tail, was almost half of the size of its container.

Cuddles died after he broke a rib, developed an abcess and died from the infection It was April 1974.



Sarah F

Telford, UK

#6 Apr 20, 2008
Catherine Griffiths wrote:
I'm researching Dudley Zoo during the period in which it housed the killer whale - known as Cuddles - and several bottlenose dolphins. However, pictures and information seem to be relatively thin on the ground. If you have absolutely any photographs or information or memories of these remarkable animals to share I'd be very grateful for it - photographs especially - so please get in touch!
If you have any information or pictures you'd be willing to share with me, please e-mail me at: magpie_lion@hotmail.co.uk
Thanks!
I remember going to see cuddles as a child. He made eye contact with me - which was actually quite scary. I remember that even as a child it occurred to me that his 'pool' was very very small for a mammal his size. I also remember being very close to the water's edge - not sure if this would be allowed now. Remember his death being announced on the Midlands News - thought it was from a heart condition.
AJ P

UK

#7 Jul 24, 2008
I do rember going to flamingo zoo in the 70s when i was ony about six tears old and seeing the show of cuddles,such a shame that we kept animals of this size in a very small pool just for the zoo to make money. i throught that when cuddles was in flamingo zoo he pulled is training under the water and broke is arm. That was heard from some one who work in the grounds of the zoo, who was talking to my grandfather on the front of scrabrough back in the 70s. Never mind the care of these animals nobody wanted to know, i have seen orca in ice land in the open sea and with they own familys which is lovely to see. also scrabrough zoo was the same with the small pool for the dolophines and when that was closing the monkeys i saw in small cages, five out of the seven were in a very bad state cut hands with no water or food or shelter to keep them dry five hours i went looking for some one to help them one monkey was in a stress full state.
Mark Evans Walsall

UK

#8 Aug 10, 2008
I too remember going to see Cuddles as a child in the "bath" they called an aquarium. I see there is no mention of him anywhere on the Dudley Zoo site, i guess its too shamefull to admit too now, they dont want to be associated with this cruel act, i dont know why, it hasnt changed much in 40 years & should be closed down to allow some dignity to the poor creatures that are waiting to die there
Charlotte Booth

UK

#9 Nov 16, 2008
Sarah F wrote:
<quoted text>
I remember going to see cuddles as a child. He made eye contact with me - which was actually quite scary. I remember that even as a child it occurred to me that his 'pool' was very very small for a mammal his size. I also remember being very close to the water's edge - not sure if this would be allowed now. Remember his death being announced on the Midlands News - thought it was from a heart condition.
"""And I did leave. Cuddles was in very bad condition, but I do know that he supposedly attacked Robinson in Dudley Zoo." There, the ailing creature had been consigned to a pool "which was hardly big enough for him to turn around in" - but enough to die in. The pear-shaped outdoor whale pool was just over 15m long, 6m wide and 3.5m deep, while its inmate, measuring over 6m from head to tail, was almost half of the size of its container. Taylor attended the last rites. He was seen clambering down into the empty pool with a needle and a knife. Soon afterwards, Cuddles was dead."""" After reading this I get it that his trainer put him to sleep by the sounds of it. Poor whale.
CPz

Leven, UK

#10 Nov 23, 2008
I think its important to remember that this was the norm back then, a lot has thankfully changed but I don't think the zoo's involved should be despised for it. Luckily they have all moved on
kate

Kalamazoo, MI

#11 Dec 11, 2008
Can anyone help me with finding information that is real about abused dolphins and killer whales? I'm doing a research paper for my school and nothing comes to my attention on google and i cant find any other sights.
Manon

Netherlands

#12 Jan 1, 2009
Ken Pellant

UK

#13 Apr 9, 2009
I worked in the bar at Flamingo Park Zoo in 1971.
Cuddles was there then. Don Robinson WAS pulled into the pool after he pretended to clean his (Cuddles) teeth. I also remember a lowloader came to take Cuddles away. Theyt built a special sling to slide under him. Also Cuddles had a very bad bleed(something internal) and the pool was red. There were black puddings in the animal kithen to feed the whale . I think it was to aid in his recovery. If you check in the Scarborough press of thet year there will be a photo of Don Robinson being pulled into the Pool.
mrs gwen pickering

Aylesbury, UK

#14 Aug 30, 2009
hi, i was born in 1967 i saw cuddles the killer whale when i was a kid. I can remember him being in like a swimming pool.He was an an amazing animal.But he needed more space.
Rebekah

Milton Keynes, UK

#15 Nov 13, 2009
Was there another orca called cuddles just i was researching Lolita from miami seaquarium and i thought she might be part of the same pod as cuddles was. they were captured around the same time and i'm watching a documentary and it said one of the orcas was sent to the UK so the first thing that came to my head was flamingo land

I wounder if these whales lolita and cuddles could be related
John Dineley

Howden, UK

#16 Dec 1, 2009
My web site has information on "Cuddles" and UK dolphinaria.

http://www.marineanimalwelfare.com/Dolphinari...
ADRIAN KIRTON

Stourbridge, UK

#17 Dec 1, 2009
I can take it be your article on the killer whale and dolphins that you have not been to the zoo for quite along time
I have been there recently as a photographer that visits many uk zoo's over the year and I would like to say that Dudley Zoo in no way needs closing down as this Zoo has improved massively over the last ten years
It now holds the stud books for many extremely endangered animals
and there attention to detailas regards the enrichment to all the animals now at the zoo is second to none in the UK.
I would also like to thank the staff for all there hard work in improving the zoo to make it what it is today one of the UK's best small zoo's
Mark Evans Walsall wrote:
I too remember going to see Cuddles as a child in the "bath" they called an aquarium. I see there is no mention of him anywhere on the Dudley Zoo site, i guess its too shamefull to admit too now, they dont want to be associated with this cruel act, i dont know why, it hasnt changed much in 40 years & should be closed down to allow some dignity to the poor creatures that are waiting to die there
bonn

Frankfurt Am Main, Germany

#18 Feb 25, 2010
ADRIAN KIRTON wrote:
I can take it be your article on the killer whale and dolphins that you have not been to the zoo for quite along time
I have been there recently as a photographer that visits many uk zoo's over the year and I would like to say that Dudley Zoo in no way needs closing down as this Zoo has improved massively over the last ten years
It now holds the stud books for many extremely endangered animals
and there attention to detailas regards the enrichment to all the animals now at the zoo is second to none in the UK.
I would also like to thank the staff for all there hard work in improving the zoo to make it what it is today one of the UK's best small zoo's
<quoted text>
dont know what plannet your from mate -obviously a plannet that doesnt reconise an appaling torture house that is disgusting dudley zoo - it needs leveling so do you for defending it.get yourself to a real zoo like pAignton in devon or chester to see happy animals .dudley is widely reconised as the most appaling zoo in great britain - CLOSE IT now
Tracei Davies

Hebburn, UK

#19 Mar 24, 2010
I remember cuddles from when I was a young child, I thought he had died of a heart condition, I do feel he was neglected just because people did not
know enough about keeping these animals in captivity.
David Jones

Wolverhampton, UK

#20 Mar 25, 2010
BONN after reading your reply to Adrian Kirtons comment it's OBVIOUS to all that actually work in the Zoological Industry that you know nothing at all about Zoo's.
Firstly Dudley Zoo as a breeding record second to none in the UK for endangered species they may not be the ABC's of the zoo world but are very important to the continued existance of the species in the wild
Secondly on my last visit's to both Chester and Paignton the animals were locked out of there enclosures so that the public could see them no matter what the condition of the weather was.
Thirdly the amount of cash both paignton and Chester have had to throw at there zoo's then they should both be in the top 5 of the world but sadly they are not Chester is close but Paignton is only just above Dudley according to the actual rattings given by keepers that visit different zoo's each year Paignton has a rating of 73 Dudley as a rating of 72.
As for the condition of the pools both the Whale and the Dolphins were kept in at Dudley then they were not just the concrete pools that are there now, they were infact larger due to the extensions that were put around the pools as can be seen in most photographs from the time.
Just a quick one as you are allegedly from Bristol then explain why Bristol does not even get a mention in the last breeding book for endangered species 2008.

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