FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – A prominent South Florida champion for the rights of marine mammals has died.Russ Rector, a former dolphin trainer who became an activist, died in his sleep at his Fort Lauderdale home on Sunday, doctors said. He was 69.Rector, known for his eye patch and polarizing personality, was instrumental in the closure of Ocean World in Fort Lauderdale. He was also critical of the captivity of Lolita, the Miami Seaquarium’s killer whale, and was president of the Dolphin Freedom Foundation.This past summer, Rector was the first to obtain footage showing three Florida fishermen dragging a blacktip shark behind a speedboat. That video went viral in July, and the men seen in the clip were charged with aggravated animal cruelty in December.The activist is survived by Linda Rector, his wife of 47 years.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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