Three years ago, with the release of a movie called Blackfish, SeaWorld’s continuous reign in the theme park community with their swarms of guests visiting the San Diego park, began to fall; the famous Tilikum had been involved in the deaths of 3 people while in captivity, and this film brought that knowledge to the forefront while addressing the controversy over these captive orcas. This scrutiny and media attention brought to the already controversial theme park caused a large drop in attendance and financial stability. Before the film was released, the San Diego park had already announced the plan to end orca shows, but the film launched a far greater plan in the making.
As Blackfish ultimately explains that these deaths were the consequences of orcas being in captivity, SeaWorld came back claiming much of the film was propaganda. Despite their claims, SeaWorld began taking steps to make some major changes.
SeaWorld Entertainment has announced that the killer whales living in captivity will be the very last. They will no longer breed orcas and the once famous orca shows will come to an end. And, with the remaining killer whales, SeaWorld plans to create educational programs for guests to learn about these amazing creatures as they focus on exercise and health.
The President and CEO of SeaWorld, Joel Manby, has said that the organization will change it’s focus to not only creating a better environment for the orcas they have left, but will aid in rescue operations for stranded marine mammals who cannot be released back into the wild and need a place to live and survive.
SeaWorld as an organization has made big claims to improve the wellbeing of their current orcas, have promised millions to aid in saving other marine mammals and have given their word that they are done with breeding orcas. These promises have caused many to reevaluate the park and what it stands for…could the park truly live up to the expectation they have created to improve the lives of orcas and marine mammals all over? At this point, it seems, only time will tell…