And why you should avoid them at all costs.
An orca glides through the cool water at SeaWorld. The children look at the animal in amazement, as they look at the largest dolphin in the world. They would never have this opportunity anywhere else in the United States. But the dolphin’s dorsal fin falls off and has basically fallen off. The animal appears bored and continually swims in circles. Looking around, it becomes clear that these animals are trapped and their needs are not being met. Marine parks and aquariums harm and even kill endangered animals for entertainment purposes.
Marine parks like Marineland and SeaWorld have played a major role in the deaths of hundreds of animals. SeaWorld lies about the lifespan of killer whales. Killer whales live perhaps forty years in the wild. However, at SeaWorld shows, the trainers say the life expectancy is shorter than that. This brainwashes people into thinking it’s okay and natural for killer whales to die when they do at SeaWorld. SeaWorld no longer allowed trainers to enter the tank with the orcas after several deaths and serious injuries occurred. One might think that this is positive, that perhaps this is an attempt to treat these animals with more respect. However, this was just an attempt to make sure the trainers are safe.
If SeaWorld has cared about the welfare of its orcas, then they would not be forced to act. According to the SeaWorld of Hurt website, “More than 40 killer whales have died in SeaWorld parks.” Also at SeaWorld, people still have the ability to ride a dolphin. Eager guests grab the dolphin’s fin and are forced to drag people across the pool. The only reason this is allowed to happen is because a dolphin hasn’t killed anyone at SeaWorld. SeaWorld no longer allows orcas to be ridden because they could harm trainers, but it has no problem doing the same for its dolphins. According to PETA, mass graves containing decomposing bodies of orcas, deer, bears and dolphins have been found at Marineland. The water quality is also terrible. There was an incident at Marineland where dolphins were kept in the same small tank for almost a year without employees changing the water. They only changed it when the dolphin’s skin started to fall apart, because at that point they were no longer perfect enough for the show. These parks only keep animals alive enough to perform, and only protect their trainers, and sometimes they don’t even do that.
However, it is not just marine parks that should concern us. The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta has whale sharks that flew in from Taiwan. It is the only place outside of Asia that is home to these sharks (which are the largest fish in the world). They first caught the whale sharks when they were younger (easy to transport) and then moved them to the aquarium’s huge six million gallon tank. . The tank is also home to sea turtles, rays, and other sharks as well.
The Georgia Aquarium currently has two great white sharks in its tank. Two whale sharks have died prematurely due to lack of suitable conditions. The aquarium even claimed that they played a role in the death of these whale sharks. According to MarineBioRegarding one of the sharks, the aquarium “theorized” that a “chemical it no longer uses in the tank to treat parasites could have contributed to its loss of appetite and health problems.” These animals were brought to the aquarium in 2006 and 2007, and did not live as long as they would in the wild. These years are much more recent than SeaWorld, but it is overlooked because it is an aquarium that claims to be for educational purposes.
Both places (aquariums and marine parks) do not take care of the physical or mental health of their animals. There remains one captive orca in Canada, out of “2,360 captive cetaceans worldwide,” according to the Change for Animals website. Marineland, which is located in Ontario, has had several incidents involving the suffering and even death of animals. Killer whales live with other killer whales in the wild, and each “family” has its own way of communicating with the others.
Kiska the orca doesn’t have one more orca left. She has had several tank mates and has had five calves, but she has outlived them all. They leave her in her little tank with dirty, unfiltered water. She also has to deal with all the noise from the people visiting Marineland, along with the lights. And this isn’t unique to Marineland either; the animals in the aquarium deal with much the same thing. The only difference between the two places is that one is used more for entertainment purposes and the other is used more for “education”. Both excuses mask the true purpose of these facilities: profit. Nor can they replicate the complex and diverse nature of animal habitats. While both claim to help save species with rehabilitation programs, they capture and even kill more animals than they release.
Marine parks and aquariums harm the mental and physical health of these animals. Parks like SeaWorld and Marineland don’t even try to mask the damage they do to these animals; just placing them in concrete tanks with nothing else in them. At the very least, aquariums seem to provide an environment closer to the animals’ original. However, those decorations may be just for show and do little for the animals. Even if the place looks nice and clean, it could still be hiding something. It is best to avoid these places altogether. If you want to see these animals, try going on a whale watch or find a rehabilitation center near you!
Read about other cute animals that have visited DHS!