Since the death of two trainers, and the subsequent release of the documentary Blackfish — which detailed the lack of science behind the theme park, and the cruel treatment of animals — Seaworld has seen a dramatic decline in ticket sales and revenue, particularly in its San Diego Park. Attempts to improve their public image have not helped, as people continue to be horrified by the park’s practices.
Discovering what happens behind the scenes at a park that held great memories for many of us felt like a betrayal — one from which they are still trying to recover.
Are they recovering by making honest attempts to right their wrongs? It doesn’t appear so. Instead, they seem to be doing the bare minimum to pacify angry guests, as their newest attempts to restore profits (and adhere to current legislation) suggests.
At a recent live-streamed event, CEO Joel Manby announced to investors that the killer whale shows, as we know them, would be a thing of the past — or so some news organizations reported. The truth is the show will go on as it always has in Seaworld’s Texas and Florida parks, and only elements of the killer whale shows will change in San Diego.
So how is the show different? Manby says the new show, to begin in 2017, will be geared towards conservation and will display the whale’s behavior in their “natural environment.” He calls it a “new orca experience.” While the shows will most likely eliminate the trainer tricks, they will continue to splash, dance, and jump because — as Manby explained to investors — whales do all of those things in the wild.
So what about the ludicrously small tanks the whales are held in? Will those be upgraded? Expanded? The CEO described the modifications to the tanks as “minimal.” And as for criticisms regarding the company’s breeding program? It doesn’t look like those are going anywhere any time soon.
Is it just us, or do these new “educational programs” sound a lot like the old ones? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.