The captivity of large, wild animals is accepted for theme parks all around the world. Tickets are sold for people to come and watch these animals live and even preform in an exhibit that almost resembles their natural environment. It is impossible for parks and zoos that use animals as attractions to provide the same resources and space they would have in the habitat they are usually found in. They can, however, help injured or ill animals that cannot survive in the wild. This is where I believe they should draw the line for keeping animals in captivity. SeaWorld has gotten a lot of attention in the last few years, especially since the Netflix documentary, Blackfish, was released. This film targets the company for the mistreatment of their orca whales. In particular, it told the story of one named Tilikum and shows the problems he and the other orca whales face while living under the care of SeaWorld. Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the director of Blackfish, released a statement about the issue that said “The whales aren’t happy and the trainers aren’t safe. It’s as simple as that.”
At 22 feet long and weighing around 12,500 pounds, Tilikum, also known as Tilly, is the largest killer whale in captivity. He was captured off the coast of Iceland in 1987 and was held for almost a year before he was moved to British Columbia, to a small marine park called Sealand of the Pacific. There, he was bullied by the two dominant females with him in the park. They would “rake” the sides of his body, which means they would use their teeth to scrape him. The whales were on a strict performance schedule and were forced to sleep in a small metal enclosure every night. This caused tension and frustration between the animals. In 19...
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...be for these animals to live in such a small environment. Wild orcas are used to swimming about 100 miles a day with their pods, an impossible task for SeaWorld and other aquatic parks like it.
Visitors to SeaWorld observe the display the company wants them to see. Wild animals being captured and forced to perform multiple times a day for human entertainment and profit is not a part of that image. By not addressing the obvious frustration of Tilikum and blaming Dawn Brancheau, SeaWorld is not at fault for what happened. Blackfish, the documentary directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, exposes SeaWorld’s true image and the covers made by their public relations. Tilikum is not the only captive killer whale to attack trainers. Other instances have occurred around the world where captive animals injure or kill victims.
The first victim, if you think about it, was Tilikum
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