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The Associated Press State & Local Wire December 15, 2000, Friday, BC cycle 12:00 AM Eastern Time SECTION: State and Regional

LENGTH: 160 words

HEADLINE:Animal rights group calls for aquarium's closure


The death of a baby dolphin at the Oklahoma City Zoo's aquarium has prompted an animal rights group to call for elimination of the zoo's dolphin exhibit.

Amy Rhodes, a cruelty case worker for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the death of Lily, a baby Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphin, in November coupled with the deaths of other dolphins at the exhibit in recent years "undeniably casts a negative light on the entire zoo."

Rhodes told zoo officials in a letter that public sentiment has moved away from supporting such displays of animals.

"Education of our children and communities can and should be achieved without sacrificing the freedom of marine mammals," she wrote.

Zoo officials have met to discuss Rhodes' letter and the issues it raised.

Jack Grisham, the Oklahoma City Zoo's director of animal management, thanked the organization for its concern but did not say the zoo was considering what the organization wants.

Find out more about the Oklahoma City Dolphins.