Despite the criticism it faces Sea World keeps it Orca whales in tanks.
The man who freed Keiko , the star of the movie ‘Free Willy’ is marine-animal expert Jean-Michel Cousteau. He feels that Sea World can successfully move its orcas to seaside sanctuaries without costing money.
Orcas at SeaWorld spend most of their time floating listlessly at the surface of the water with little to no shade from the hot blistering sun. In the wild, orcas spend up to 95 percent of their time submerged and would find shade in the depths of the ocean, but at SeaWorld their tanks are far too shallow. Their deepest tank is 40 feet deep—not nearly deep enough to save them from the harsh elements. Because of this, orcas have perpetual sunburns, which are shielded from the public eye with the help of black zinc oxide, which matches their skin.
Orcas in the wild have an average life expectancy of 30 to 50 years—their estimated maximum life span is 60 to 70 years for males and 80 to more than 100 for females. The median age of orcas in captivity is only 9.
In captivity, all male orcas have collapsed dorsal fins as adults, which is a sign of an unhealthy orca. SeaWorld claims that this condition is common and natural for all orcas. However, collapsed dorsal fins are caused by the unnatural environment of captivity and are rarely seen in the wild. Only 1 to 5 percent of male orcas in some populations (and none in others) have fully collapsed dorsal fins
SeaWorld confines whales and dolphins—who often swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild—to tanks that, to them, are the size of a bathtub.
Cousteau had told The Post that he is now working with the National Aquarium in Baltimore to move captive dolphins to a clean sea pen, possibly near Hawaii, but CEO Joel Manby answered back saying that “More than 80% of our whales were born in our care, and sea pens would be a poor choice for them,” Manby said “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.”
However many who have watched the documentary ‘Blackfish’ which showed the public how cruel it is to give these animals in captivity feel Manby to be deceiving. SeaWorld’s attendance and revenue has been declining. Animal rights groups have demanded that the theme park build sea pens and release the animals to a natural sanctuary but on Wednesday’s meeting, Manby reinforced the park stays committed to the plan of building them slightly larger tanks instead.