SeaWorld Entertainment just unveiled their new attractions for 2017. And herein lies the problem: rather than retiring their dolphins to seaside sanctuaries, where the mammals can live out the rest of their lives in peace and dignity, SeaWorld has chosen to continue to profit off their star “attractions.”
The new Orca Encounter will be based on orca behavior in the wild: what they eat, how they hunt, how they navigate and how they communicate, helping guests gain a deeper appreciation and respect for the orcas and empowering them a sense of determination and purpose to help preserve the future of these majestic animals.” ~ SeaWorld Press Release, “SeaWorld Entertainment Unveils Major New Attractions for 2017”, 9/27/16
Patrons to the park will have to engage their visualization skills, along with a healthy dose of fantasy to believe that orcas can “hunt” “navigate” and “communicate” in a manmade tank. It is impossible to replicate their wild and complex world in a wholly unnatural environment. Worse, SeaWorld would appear to want their visitors to believe they have somehow, encapsulated a “snapshot” of the life of a wild orca, simply by “describing” a “what if” scenario. “If” orcas were to hunt in the wild, this is how they would engage the pod, this is how they would use their echolocation, this is how they would teach their young how to track their prey. None of these things are possible in a tank.
SeaWorld’s move away from “theatrical” shows comes at a time when they have been legally mandated to stop orca breeding at their San Diego, California location. In fact, parks in Orlando, Florida and San Antonio, Texas won’t potentially see these changes until 2019. Why wait 2+1/2 years to stop performances? This is absurd, enforcing the belief that SeaWorld is only changing because the public has forced them to. With plummeting revenues, attendance and stock values, changes needed to be implemented to ensure the company could continue to be a viable business.
In addition, SeaWorld Orlando’s Dolphin Nursery will undergo changes in 2017.
SeaWorld Orlando’s Dolphin Nursery will become more interactive in 2017, giving guests the opportunity to see mother and baby dolphins up close like never before. Large-scale acrylic windows will be created offering better guest viewing, including multiple levels to provide children a face-to-face perspective with baby dolphins.” ~ SeaWorld Press Release, “SeaWorld Entertainment Unveils Major New Attractions for 2017,” 9/27/16
Artificial insemination techniques have been used for years to ensure a steady supply of live dolphin attractions. Where will these babies end up, after being removed from their mothers? Right into SeaWorld’s performing tanks, that’s where!
In other words, it’s same old, same old for the dolphins in SeaWorld’s captive facilities. Make no mistake: it’s merely business as usual. There is no other life other than the forceable confinement of these majestic mammals. While some guests might indeed be inspired to take action against the captivity of marine mammals, it’s certainly not the dolphins that will be empowered by SeaWorld’s stale business model.