28 May 2014
SeaWorld Under A World Of Pressure
Making money from whale and dolphin shows is something that the American company 'SeaWorld' has been doing for 50 years. However, more and more people are changing how they look at keeping whales and dolphins in captivity, and recent evidence is starting to show that SeaWorld may be starting to feel the heat from the pressure. (So let's keep turning up the temperature!)
SeaWorld first opened a park in 1964, and since then has made huge amounts of money from displaying whales and dolphins in tanks. Each year, millions of people go to the parks to see the famous killer whale, or 'Shamu' shows. However, recent evidence shows a 13% drop in visitor numbers and an 11% loss in SeaWorld's earnings compared to last year.
So what has caused this drop in popularity? Well, last year a film called 'Blackfish' was released that is changing how the public views whale and dolphin captivity for good. The film is about the tragic death of SeaWorld trainer, Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by an orca called Tillikum during a show at SeaWorld in 2010. This shocking film has had a big impact around the world and is most likely the reason for SeaWorld's recent drop in numbers.
There are also other reasons why SeaWorld is under pressure at the moment: SeaWorld often defends keeping whales and dolphins in captivity by saying it does research to help conserve species in the wild. However, recent information revealed by WDC shows that this isn't the case; most of its research focuses on the own captive animals held at its parks and much is from over 20 years ago! These research projects aren't considered as being much help to wild populations and the American Cetacean Society even deem it as misleading for management of wild animals. WDC has also recently discovered that SeaWorld only gives 0.88% of the money it is given for research and conservation towards funding wild whale and dolphin projects!
All this information, plus the success of Blackfish, has led to SeaWorld getting lots of unwanted bad publicity from countries around the globe. As more and more people start to realise how bad captivity is for whales and dolphins, the more pressure is on SeaWorld to end its ways.
WDC is strongly against captivity of all whales, dolphins and porpoises - To find out more and help us bring an end to captivity, please see the sections on captivity on our Dolphins in danger page.