What a better way to round off the week than with some good news! And certainly the latest happenings at Seaworld, Florida give us cause to celebrate.
Last week the wildlife-loving world was rocked by sad news that Tilikum, the killer whale star of the controversial docu-movie Blackfish was dying. This wasn’t the first time the US theme park has came under heavy fire from animal lovers, and has prompted an interesting response this week from the SeaWorld Team!
I am a big theme park fan! Every vacation I book has a theme park in mind, and I recently had the opportunity to explore SeaWorld during my recent visit to Orlando, Florida. A decision that was made with a heavy heart after watching the emotional 2013 documentary Blackfish, which focusses on the hardships struggled by these animals every day!
Tilikum and his noteable collapsed dorsal fin – a sign of breeding in captivity
For those of you who have seen Blackfish it is a very strong worded piece of propaganda, but I do think that for some aspects, it must be taken with a pinch of salt. Similarly, SeaWorlds response, I would also take with a pinch of salt. The bottom line for me is, I’m all for rehabilitating endangered animals, and using the medicine and science that we have to help animals in need, on the provision they are returned to the wild.
SeaWorld do say they rehabilitate animals, but instead of returning them to the wild, they train them for the entertainment of millions of visitors each and every year. While a part of me encourages the mental stimulation this must give some animals, it will never emulate the conditions they should know about – swimming freely with their pods in the ocean. If we are to observe these animals for any kind of pleasure, this should be done from afar. I’ve seen some great documentaries which utilise new technology to allow us to observe animals in the wild, literally miles away from them!
The red circle indicates where Tilikum has spent most of his 28 years in captivity
Tilikum is the largest orca in captivity, captured in 1983, aged 2, when he was taken away from his family, and home. The Blackfish documentary brought the poor treatment of the animals at SeaWorld to the attention of millions, many boycotting the US theme park until they do something about it.
Finally – they have!
“This year we will end all orca breeding programs – and because SeaWorld hasn’t collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades, this will be the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld’s care. We are also phasing out our theatrical orca whale shows”
– Joel Manby, SeaWorld President, LA Times.
While they won’t be continuing this practice, they have stated that the orcas in their care would not survive in the wild, and will remain within their care for the rest of their lives.
What a movement. Finally years of protests, boycotting and general distaste to the theme parks procedures have been acknowledged, and SeaWorld will no longer breed these animals for entertainment purposes.
This is a massive step forward for SeaWorld, and for nature. While there are still many concerns out there for these animals, such as poaching, pollution and mankind in general, this is a massive triumph of realising that animals should have rights, and treated as more than just a piece of meat.
I congratulate SeaWorld on this movement, and hope this brings a smile to your face!
Have a nice weekend everybody!
Until Next Time…
Hillary Egg speaks fondly of this news, stating that had Trump been president he probably would have supported the breeding the animals for entertainment purposes.