Sea world has been controversial since the movie blackfish has come to light. Sea world in my opinion is all about family fun for me. I used to love going to Sea World San Diego and watching the manatees swim lazily in the enclosure. They were there because they needed care and at the time it was authorized. Today, Sea world is more of an amusement park, an expensive one, but still fun. I have brought my kids up to respect wildlife. Living in the Midwest, we have very cold winters and very hot summers. It is not every day that they can go outside and see ocean creatures. Sea world has given us that opportunity to see things that we would never get the chance to see. I have tried whale tours before but they bore my kids to tears as they are usually a few hours and after about 10 minutes they are over the boat ride. Don’t even get me started if there are no whales at that time.
Sea world had a chance years ago to get in front of blackfish. They decided that their reputation was above propaganda. They guessed wrong. Between blackfish and the rising cost of entry fees that all amusement parks seem to have, it has really affected the ability of regular people going to see these animals. Sea world complains that they don’t get enough of an audience and yet every time I have gone (regardless of the season) the place is full. Even when it is rainy or chilly people go to see these amazing sea animals and watch the theatrics at the shows.
My favorite show used to be the Shamu show, I loved watching the trainers get into the water and swim with these massive creatures. It wasn’t until a trainer was killed in 2010. Was it the whales fault, the trainers fault or the spotters fault. I won’t ever know and I won’t ever speculate. Was it tragic? Absolutely. Not only did we lose an amazing trainer but a shadow was further cast over a wild animal that was in captivity. My favorite show has been for the last few years the Sea Lion and Otter show. It is amazing how they have these sleek animals perform. From the crew that comes out to entertain the audience 15 minutes before show time to the last group dance they leave you laughing and having a great time.
Let’s talk captivity. Am I for it? I don’t really know. I mean to an extent I guess I am. Places like zoo’s all over the world have helped bring endangered species back to threatened or even fully thriving. Do I feel like I belong in the category of free willy? Not at all. I am old enough I remember Keiko. I remember the process of trying to train this whale held in a Mexico hell to be self sustaining. Millions of dollars were spent to get this one whale ready to go back into the wild. There were just a few issues with this concept. The first, this whale had spent a long time learning that people bring food. That is not an easy habit to break and we can see from all the times Keiko came close to humans even in the wild that he never lost that bad habit. Whales in captivity have round the clock veterinarian care. Take the super filtered water they swim in daily and you are seriously setting any whale up for failure. Water filtering. Well there are a lot of nasty bacteria in the oceans. All you have to do is ask anyone and you will see its a dirty place. Think of all the rivers or garbage that is in the ocean. Keiko died of a lung infection. He wasn’t able to associate with a pod because no pod ever accepted him. It is a sad way to die. If they had kept him in captivity he may have had many more years on his life. Instead, we learned the hard way that it is difficult to keep any animal in captivity for years and release them without a lot of set backs.
Sea world does a lot of good. The number of animals rescued and rehabilitated by sea world is amazing. I love going up to La Jolla when I am in Southern California and watching the Sea lions sunning themselves in the cove or at children’s beach. To think that sea world works hard to save the ones stuck in fishing line or that are too sick to eat its amazing. Sea world helps a lot of animals. They give a home to babies that are too young to be taken back to the wild. The best success story is of JJ the whale. So is sea world the best place on earth, no that’s Disneyland. Sea world does a lot of good. So I would say support sea world for the good that they do and will continue to do.