SeaWorld Denies Negligence In Bird's Death

An animal's death during preparation for SeaWorld's new dolphin show is not due to trainer negligence, park officials told 10News Thursday.

According to an e-mail sent to 10News from an anonymous SeaWorld employee, an African crowned crane was the kind of bird that drowned at the park last Saturday.

SeaWorld officials said they never released the information because the incident was something it would not normally report to the media.

The bird drowned in a dolphin pool as part of the Blue Horizons show preparation, according to the anonymous employee.

SeaWorld officials told 10News the bird was locked in a rolling carrier just inches away from the water when it managed to rock the carrier back and forth until it fell in.

Park officials said it was only a matter of minutes before trainers pulled the bird out of the water, but the bird was declared dead shortly after.

In the e-mail to 10News, the employee said: "This totally avoidable incident was the direct result of trainer and animal training management incompetence."

Park officials told 10News trainers had engaged the brakes on the cage's wheels and that it was not a question of the bird and cage being left unattended.

SeaWorld called the incident "unfortunate" and the anonymous e-mailer's claim "ludicrous and absurd." They said many at the park, including the bird's trainers, are absolutely devastated by the loss.

SeaWorld said the bird that died was raised at the park.