Whale Captivity at Sea World


Sarah Chimenti, Staff Writer

There is more than meets the eye at Sea World’s whale shows.

Sea World is an American theme park chain, and the largest operator of marine mammal parks in the world. The parks feature orca, sea lion, and dolphin shows and zoological displays featuring various other marine animals. Although it is interesting to see these shows, have you ever thought about what goes on behind the scenes? Do you ever wonder how the animals are being treated? Research shows that the living conditions at Sea World are unnatural and inhumane. Animals are being restricted into small tanks, when they could weigh thousands of pounds. 

The most striking treatment shown was for the killer whales. Sea World has been bringing in whales since its founding in 1965. The first whales at the park were two female killer whales named Shamu and Namu. In 2016, Sea World had announced that it would be eliminating their killer whale breeding program, and that it would be the last generation of orcas at the park. The decision came about after years of protesting from animal rights activists. They had argued that the whales were being held in captivity for entertainment purposes and were not being treated humanely. As of 2016, there were 52 whales remaining in SeaWorld. This includes orcas and belugas, and aside from whales, even dolphins. Over 150 animals have died in captivity under their care; they need to take responsibility for not properly caring for these animals. 

Animals that were kept in captivity have been shown to have aggression and stress issues, so ending of their killer whale breeding program is a positive outcome. Larger sea animals are better off in big bodies of water; they are not meant to be trapped in captivity where they cannot move.

* image from commons.wikimedia.org, Creative Commons License