Killer whales are unexpectedly weak, despite being the ocean’s most potent predator.
The new SeaWorld chairman and chief executive insisted that releasing their captive orcas, also known as killer whales, would mean a death sentence if they are released into the ocean sanctuaries.
SeaWorld shareholders on a Wednesday annual meeting were informed by CEO Joel Manby that, “More than 80 percent of our whales were born in our care, and sea pens would be a poor choice for them.”
He added, “Uncontrollable exposure to pollution, ocean debris and life-threatening pathogens in ocean waters are just a few of the factors that make sea pens an unhealthy living environment for any of our animals.”
Taking the helm on April 7, Manby responded to a query whether the company had the capabilities and scientific knowledge for its animals to be relocated to sea pens.
A damaging documentary “Blackfish” resulted in the marine park chain to be pressured to stop its killer whale shows as the company is accused of mistreating the animals. The criticisms damaged the marine park’s reputation, adversely affecting the park attendance and stock price.
PETA, the animal advocacy group in particular, has waged a forceful campaign and calls for the creation of seaside sanctuaries for the whales.
Jean-Michel Cousteau, the marine-animal expert, who successful release Keiko, the “Free Willy” star into a seaside pen (before he died in the wild), said it is highly possible to keep orcas in an open area.
Cousteau said, “The problem I have with SeaWorld is they are looking for all kinds of excuses to keep doing what they are doing.”
SeaWorld declared to stick with their plan to double the orca’s tank size.