Orca Finale: Sea Mammals Freed from Showtime
The California Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement Act, sponsored by Congressman Adam Schiff, is aimed to end the famous SeaWorld orca shows. “It means no more wild capture, no more breeding. We would essentially phase out the captive orcas that are currently in these water parks,” says Schiff. This means that SeaWorld must end their Shamu shows by the end of this year. However, the animals already at the San Diego park will continue to live there. Parks in Orlando and San Antonio will end their shows by 2019.
Under pressure from activists and faced with declining ticket sales, SeaWorld is now moving to end its theatrical orca shows and breeding program. They announced the unveiling of a new attraction this summer, Orca Encounter, as an educational experience.
Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of the documentary film Blackfish, says that the new show is designed to make the audience feel better, not the animals. “The trainers aren’t safe, and the whales aren’t happy,” she states. “They’re still just doing manic circles around concrete swimming pools.” The company is developing its first SeaWorld park without orcas in the Middle-Eastern country of Abu Dhabi.
This article appears in the August 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.