A hot desert environment also poses great risks to dolphins, including respiratory infections due to the excessive dust. Valley fever can be contracted by marine mammals as well as humans and other animals, according to Vail.
Rally said Arizona is home to an array of land pathogens to which dolphins are susceptible, especially fungal pathogens found in the soil. When it is windy those spores easily can be picked up and suspended over the pools. "Dolphins have a unique respiratory physiology, which makes them particularly susceptible to fungal pneumonia," she said.
Of course, there are also the usual problems with keeping dolphins in tanks. Dolphins become bored in captivity where they are inhibited from engaging in some of their most basic natural behaviors, according to Rally. They are housed in tanks that are a fraction of the size of their natural range, often in incompatible social groups.