In January, orca lovers the world over celebrated as SeaWorld San Diego officially ended its “One Ocean” orca performance show. We knew at that time that SeaWorld had other plans for its resident orcas that would not include freedom or transfer to a proper sanctuary, like these emotionally complex beings deserve. What we didn’t know then is that, at least in the interim, these plans would involve non-stop performances for the public as part of a special all-day behind-the-scenes look at how these whales are trained.
The new program, called “All Day Orca Play,” doesn’t improve upon these orcas’ situation at all. They remain captives in small tanks with little to no proper exercise or mental stimulation, despite their yearnings to travel long distances and hunt and play as they would in the wild. They remain separated from their pods, despite the robust family bonds for which their hearts ache, and are instead forced into difficult cohabitation circumstances with whales from other regions, which frequently leads to aggressive conflicts between these animals. And, despite all of SeaWorld’s talk of doing away with its performance show, these highly intelligent beings are still being coerced to perform silly tricks for the public, though now this will take place for hours upon hours on end, instead of a few split hours each day.
These are largely the same conditions that caused Tilikum to go insane and for trainers to be killed. And now it’s all being played out for children to witness first hand. Contact SeaWorld today to let the park know that this is not only unacceptable, but also very dangerous and cruel, and to demand that “All Day Orca Play” be canceled at once.
Image source: Jen Helton/Shutterstock