For all of the wrong things Seaworld has done both to its orcas and their trainers, it has also done a lot of good and must be given credit for its earlier work in research and education in helping to dispel the myth that these are vicious, man eating killers we should fear at all costs.
It took giant leaps in marine mammal training and within a relatively short space of time, took the ocean’s top predator and turned the world’s opinion full circle.
Then it stopped. It failed to really progress much further and the bigwig bosses saw the financial gain and got stuck. We may as well still live in a world that thinks killer whales roar like lions (as seen in the dire movie “Orca!” which was so bad I literally belly laughed)
Seaworld could still manage to claw its way back and turn public opinion around once more if bosses were willing to put both hands up, admit there have been some appalling policies, procedures and general practice but pledge to put all their time, effort and money into righting wrongs and hatching plans that will actively work towards doing something with killer whales rather than allow them to float aimlessly in tanks and wither away.
It might even be able to retain some of its shows and public displays as well provided they aren’t done so often on a daily basis and for the sole purpose of entertainment. Whilst the remaining orcas are suitably placed and rehabilitated for example, members of public could maybe still view trainers as they are working with them.
I would love to see killer whales up close and personal from behind the safety of glass but only if those on the opposite side weren’t languishing as a result of my own selfish and personal greed. Until then I’m planning to bob about on the open ocean and spew buckets / hurl my guts up over the side and wait until these creatures decide to show up and allow me the honour of seeing them at home.
Alongside concerns that Seaworld isn’t doing right by its animals my next worry is for young and aspiring trainers because bosses care even less for them than they do the killer whales. It feels like nobody is looking out for the whales apart from the trainers and fewer people are looking out for the trainers trying to look after the whales.
Sadder still is the trainers clearly dote on these animals and you get the sense they all form particularly strong bonds and close friendships because of the way in which they all work together.
Beautiful beyond words to see these huge, powerful and immensely intelligent creatures carefully gliding through the water with and alongside humans and seeing the trainers playing hide and seek with what appears to be genuine affection.
On the other hand it’s tragic that we had such an amazing opportunity to develop a deeper understanding and friendship that should and could easily have been but somehow managed to lose along the way.
You catch glimpses of some truly beautiful moments in this video which is so bittersweet because it’s both breathtaking and heartbreaking all in one go.