Ric said that when the Flipper series ended, the dolphins were simply warehoused. Kathy was kept alone in a tank. O'Barry left for India, where he did some soul-searching, and started to feel strongly that what he had been doing to the dolphins was wrong. When he returned from India, he heard that Kathy was sick and went to see her. He found her alone in a tank, with blisters all over her back from the sun. As I interviewed him about Kathy, he got too choked up to talk about it, but on a video made by the Dolphin Project he described her final moments:
She swam right over into my arms, looked me in the eye, took a deep breath, and never took another one. I let her go and she sank very slowly to the bottom of the tank.
He describes jumping into the tank, attempting to revive her, realizing it was too late, and crying,
'My God, what have I done?'
He tells us,
Kathy was an enormously clever and bright creature, who, when there was no use for Flipper, for Kathy, had been consigned to a tank to die. And die she did, with me weeping for having done this horrible thing to her.
The above is from Karen Dawn's Thanking The Monkey: Rethinking The Way We Treat Animals (pp. 84-85). The book, published in April 2008, is the perfect read for the summer offering substance in a lively, readable manner. The book is both a resource and a conversation starter. Strongly recommended.