SeaWorld is going to end captive breeding for Orca whales and put an end to all Orca shows in the next three years.
This is a huge step forward for Global Goal: 14 Life Below Water. It’s HU-Manatees’ responsibility to care for fellow humans, and all livings living both above and below the water.
For large animals such as Orca whales, captive breeding does not allow for a healthy and happy life. The world realizes this and the public for years protested against the captive breeding and use of killer whales in shows at SeaWorld. That’s part of why SeaWorld’s CEO announced the theme park will discontinue Orca shows in all parks from Florida to California.
Exposure in the media from the books such as Death to SeaWorld, and the film Blackfish revealed the dark side of keeping large mammals in captive breeding. Public opinion shifted to greater awareness to the cruelty of keeping Orca’s in captivity, and the danger to those working with these animals.
Proposed legislation from state lawmakers in Sacramento, California, and even national lawmakers in the US House of Representatives also gave the theme park the extra push to do the right thing and “Free Willy!”
There are other large animals still used for economic gain, and often abused in the process such as elephants in many parts of the world. (Note: Ringling Brothers Circus announced in January they would stop using elephants in their performances)
On a larger scale, the challenge with captive breeding is animals experience significant behavioral change to the extent where they can no longer hunt or forage for food leading to starvation. They can also be ostracized or rejected by other members of the species once released back.
This is part of the reason few captive animals survive once released into the wild.
However, this issue, unlike an Orca, is not simply black and white. Some species are too far gone though, and need protection because their natural habitats and environments are limited.
One way to fix this is to further efforts to protect forests, oceans and other ecosystems for both threatened and endangered species. There are so many innovative ways to do this, for instance check out these highway animal bridges.
Cutting down on meat consumption can help preserve ecosystems as well. Yes, you’re saving the cows but it will also prevent land being cleared to raise cattle – a decision poor farmers are often faced with for generating an income in some countries.
The end of an era at SeaWorld and a new beginning for Orcas is a strong example that this type of change is possible.