Send the orcas home, SeaWorld

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SeaWorld is still attempting to rebrand after their image was ruined by the documentary “BlackFish.” 

BlackFish was directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite and released on July 19, 2013. The film follows the story of Tilikum, an orca who was held captive at SeaWorld Orlando and died in 2017, still in captivity. The purpose of the documentary was to show the ‘dark side’ of SeaWorld. Killer whales should not be in tanks but set free in the ocean. 

SeaWorld is still attempting to rebrand after their image was ruined by the documentary “BlackFish.” 

BlackFish was directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite and released on July 19, 2013. The film follows the story of Tilikum, an orca who was held captive at SeaWorld Orlando and died in 2017, still in captivity. The purpose of the documentary was to show the ‘dark side’ of SeaWorld. Killer whales should not be in tanks but set free in the ocean. 

For example, one of the main points that are mentioned in the film is why captive killer whales have a bent dorsal fin compared to those who are in the wild, providing proof that it is wrong to have animals in captivity. They are physically hurting and clearly in emotional distress.

Blackfish had such a big impact on SeaWorld that people became skeptical and would not support it due to the controversy.  Myself included. SeaWorlds’ stock slowly began to decline, hurting profits. According to the SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. stock chart, on July 19th, 2017 SeaWorld made $2,966,317 compared to April 19th, 2013 when they were making $21,673,720. SeaWorld is fully aware of the impact Blackfish had on them, in order to overpass the film they made some changes. SeaWorld claimed that the killer whales in their care will be the last at SeaWorld, “We haven’t taken a whale from the wild in nearly 40 years. Now, we’re going further and have ended our orca breeding programs.” 

This is a huge step for the SeaWorld corporation. They want the audience to know that they are doing their best and will make all the changes that are necessary. There were conspiracies that SeaWorld in San Diego was closing due to low activity but they seem to be going in a new and different direction. 

SeaWorld is one of the main attractions in San Diego, getting rid of it would hurt the tourism community. As an animal activist, I do not support SeaWorld in any form. Yes, I am that person who follows PETA and rejects free tickets to the Zoo and SeaWorld. 

My fear of the ocean does not stop me from loving it. That is a home that I do not belong in. That is their home and mine is on dry land. Aquariums and tanks are a tiny jail for these huge creatures. We are repressing them, separating their families and killing them slowly. 

SeaWorld is attempting to rebrand after all the fallout, their attempt is focused on getting rid of the entertainment idea of the park and turning it into a rescue and conservation center. I support them completely as a healing center, but what are the policies to release rescued animals? My passion for these animals is so great because I know that they are hurting. 

“Tilikum had, and will continue to have, a special place in the hearts of the SeaWorld family, as well as the millions of people all over the world that he inspired,” said Joel Manby, SeaWorld president and CEO. 

It is important to recognize Tilikum. After all, he told the big story and created a revolution between corporations and captivity, as Cowperthwaite said: “Tilikum’s life was so incredibly tragic. He experienced unspeakable pain; he caused unspeakable pain, so at least his chapter is over. Now we have to turn our attention to retiring the other whales to an ocean sanctuary. Because this business of holding whales in concrete tanks is so clearly a model where no one wins.” 

Tilikum has a special place in my heart. He created a revolution.

It is time to send SeaWorld’s orcas home. All of them. 

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