A whale of a problem

Story by: Jenna Jones, Opinions and Reviews Editor

SeaWorld is known as a popular theme park where people can interact with sea creatures such as dolphins, whales, and even sharks. What is not well-known about SeaWorld is the way they treat the captive creatures in their care.

For years, SeaWorld has been a source of  entertainment through the exploitation of dolphins and whales by putting them in shows that attract millions of people every year. Unfortunately for the dolphins and whales, these shows and the training for them can be extremely detrimental to their health.

The life expectancy for animals in SeaWorld is much shorter than what it is for those in the wild. SeaWorld has often lied about the life expectancy for these animals to concerned visitors and on their website. This occurred early in March when a 22-year-old male dolphin in SeaWorld Orlando died of unknown causes, despite the life expectancy of dolphins being around 40-50 years.

Mazie Bernard, 10, said, “SeaWorld is awful, and they treat their animals like trash. The animals don’t deserve to be treated like that.”

SeaWorld’s captive animals are unhealthy. Numerous whales have collapsed dorsal fins, and employees often tell visitors that a collapsed fin affects wild orcas, as well. Although this does occur in the wild, a collapsed dorsal fin is seen in less than 1% of wild whales, according to Dr. Astrid van Ginneken, who has been studying them since 1987.

“Blackfish,” a documentary about the illegal and immoral practices of SeaWorld, focuses on the story of one captive whale, Tilikum, who is responsible for the death of three trainers. It is not entirely uncommon for trainers to be injured or even killed on the job, while the number of recorded wild killer whale attacks is far less than that of recorded cases in captivity.

Fortunately, documentaries like “Blackfish” have reached a large audience and more people are advocating for an end to the unjust treatment of captive sea life.

 

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