Some people choose to turn a blind eye at the countless mistakes SeaWorld has made. Many see it as a child-friendly place filled with fun sea creatures and entertainment. SeaWorld first began in 1964, they started with 45 employees, several dolphins, sea lions, and to saltwater aquariums. They first captured Shamu in 1964, she later died in 1971. This sparked the movement of the capture and captivity of orcas. SeaWorld is a horrible, money hungry corporation that profits off of the capture and death of wild sea mammals. SeaWorld should be shut down indefinitely because of the profit of keeping mammals in captivity, the improper habitats, and the many lives taken due to the captivity of these creatures.
Most people don’t understand the severity of keeping mammals in captivity. There have been many instances in which Orcas have died at a younger age than if they were in the wild. According to the documentary Blackfish, the female orcas can live to 100 years old or longer and males can live from 50 to 60 years old. The employees at SeaWorld tell the public that all orcas die at 25 to 30 when in reality scientist have known they live equivalent to human lifespans since 1980. (Blackfish 00:25:00). It is unbelievable how much shorter their lives are in captivity compared to in the wild. They’re put into terrible environments much different than what they’re used to and being forced to perform in order to survive.
These mammals are put into small fish bowls and are raised there, expecting to live life as if they were in a real ocean. These tanks are only 50 feet deep. According to SeaWorld of Hurt, In the wild, Orcas can dive up to 1,000 feet but in the tanks at SeaWorld, they will only be able to dive 50 feet. The tanks will also only be 350 feet, compared to in the wild where they travel up to 100 miles a day (SeaWorld Hate). This is obviously not enough for a huge whale. Not only do they have to swim back and forth every day in a small tank but they’re also cramped together with a bunch of other huge Orcas. This can cause a lot of anger and aggression between the whales, especially when it comes to male and females. In the documentary Blackfish, they discussed how the whale Tilikum was constantly abused by two female whales. Every night they were locked together in a small pool and the next day the trainers would find that Tilikum had been scratched at by the female whales. These environments are not suitable for these creatures. It’s dangerous to keep them in such small tanks and it contributes to the lowered life expectancy.
Another source interviewed Jane Goodall, an English primatologist. She explains why SeaWorld should be shut down because of how whales and dolphins communicate with sonar-like sound waves. Keeping them confined would be like “acoustical hell”. She states how keeping these mammals confined can be very bad for them because the sound waves bounce off the walls and echo back to them (qtd. CNN Money). Whales and dolphins use clicks, whistles, and echolocation to understand their surroundings. Captivity prevents them from doing so and this creates frustration within the mammal. SeaWorld keeps both these creatures in creativity at the same time, creating an unhealthy environment for both of them.
There have been one too many lives taken because of the captivity of Orcas. And according to Oracahome.de, there have been a total of 114 incidents with the orcas, in the US alone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming the orcas for anything I’m just trying to state that the trainers had a choice to be there. The whales did not. The Smithsonian states:
But the whales’ physical and emotional well-being was, he grew to believe, was incompatible with captivity. Confined to unnatural social groups for the convenience of their owners, bored and restless, forced to perform tricks for food that trainers withheld as punishment, they occasionally slipped, he writes, ‘into the dark side’. (Adler).
The trainer clearly understands that the whales can grow frustrated and tired when they’re constantly forced to entertain humans (who are clearly not as intelligent as them) in order to be fed. They grow angry and irritable and this leads to deaths and incidents. The Smithsonian also discusses how SeaWorld now has some pools with fast-rising floors in case a trainer falls in, they also require that trainers carry around emergency compressed air. They aren’t doing this for the safety of their trainers they’re doing it for the safety of their company. They profit off of these trainers and orcas. Without them, they don’t make any money so of course, they have to come up with some way to keep the money coming in. They could create all pools with special floors and I would still ask, how many damn people have to die before SeaWorld realizes that these creatures don’t belong in captivity.
Some people may argue that SeaWorld should stay open because releasing orcas into the wild shows no signs of rehabilitation and no one has done it before. One article talks about how Keiko, the orca who starred in Free Willy, was in poor condition when he was found and put under rehabilitation un Oregan for two years. He was trained to eat live fish, taken on open-ocean trips, and then tagged with tracking device where he was then released into the wild. They had expected him to reunite with his family but he never did and just a few weeks later he was found dead from pneumonia, which is common in starving mammals. (O’Sullivan). This may be true but this is also one incident in which putting a mammal back in its natural habitat has failed. No one else has ever tried again. If SeaWorld decided to let these Orcas wild and they suddenly washed up dead it would be on their hands because most of these orcas have been born and raised in a crappy environment that they think is right. It’ll be their fault and they should’ve been stopped a long time ago but now it’s too late. These mammals have to pay for mistakes they did not commit.
I can’t stand to live life knowing that SeaWorld has full control over creatures far more intelligent than us. It’s selfish and cruel to think that those poor killer whales are okay living in such terrible environments. You may think, who cares they’re just whales? They’re so much more than whales. They’re smart and they feel emotions. They communicate and they love just like we do. They have families as we do. If you still continue to support SeaWorld I just hope you realize you basically support kidnap and isolation because that’s what they deal with their whole lives. It might be too late to save the Orcas already held in captivity but at least we’ll be able to stop any more Orcas from being abducted from their families.
“A Longer List than the Parks Would Like to Tell You!” Orca Homepage,
www.orcahome.de/incidents.htm. Accessed 24 Nov. 2018.
Adler, Jerry. “Why Killer Whales Belong in the Ocean, Not SeaWorld.” Smithsonian.com,
Smithsonian Institution, 1 Mar. 2015. www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/ why-killer-whales-belong-in-the-ocean-not-seaworld-180954333/. Accessed 24 Nov. 2018.
Cowperthwaite, Gabriela, director. “Blackfish.” CNN Films, 2013. Netflix,
https://www.netflix.com/watch/70267802?trackId=14170286&tctx=3%2C0%2Cb05203b3-3488-49ee-8ef4-12c046b0448c-335264314%2C5b9beaa0-bb58-4c15-8cb4-3157b350ed70_23102750X3XX1543913367167%2C5b9beaa0-bb58-4c15-8cb4-3157b350ed70_ROOT. Accessed 24 Nov. 2018.
“Jane Goodall: SeaWorld ‘Should Be Closed Down’.” Interview Huffington Post.
CNNMoney, Cable News Network, 25 Apr. 2015, www.money.cnn.com/2015 /04/28/news/jane-goodall-seaworld/index.html. Accessed 23 Nov. 2018.
O’Sullivan, Catherine. “Why Shutting Down SeaWorld Is Not the Answer.” L.A. Weekly, 2 Apr.
2016, laweekly.com/news/why-shutting-down-seaworld-is-not-the-answer-5031091. Accessed 23 Nov. 2018.
“Why SeaWorld’s Tanks Will NEVER Be Enough.” SeaWorld of Hurt, PET, www.seaworld
ofhurt.com /features/seaworlds-tanks-will-never-be-enough/. Accessed 23 Nov. 2018.