July has been a nightmare for SeaWorld!
On July 2nd, David Kirby’s “Death at SeaWorld” in paperback hit bookstore shelves. It quickly sold out on Amazon UK and went into its second printing.
The new, controversial documentary, “Blackfish,” was released to select theaters in the US on July 19th, and in the UK on July 26th. In spite of SeaWorld’s statement to critics that the film is “inaccurate and misleading” The release was met with glowing reviews including a 97% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and an 83/100 on Meta Critic. The film did so well that greater international release is planned for Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Spain, Iceland and France. A new trailer was also published in preparation for a wider theatrical release across the US. “Blackfish” even generated Oscar Buzz!
A few days after the big theatrical release of “Blackfish”, this video was posted on Youtube from a guest at SeaWorld Orlando. The footage depicts a pilot whale, beached and struggling on a slideout. According to Carlo De Leonibus, the man who taped the incident, the pilot whale was struggling for a full 20-25 minutes as the crowd in the bleachers cried out for its rescue. It was finally pushed in by two trainers. This video quickly went viral and SeaWorld issued a statement saying:
“The pilot whales come out on the ledge all the time and always get back into the deeper water without any problem. The animals seem to enjoy it and it has no effect on their health or well-being…”
Former trainer John Hargrove agreed that the pilot whale was not in any immediate physical danger, but noted that the animal was definitely in distress and trainers should have reacted faster. It’s also been pointed out that this particular pilot whale was rescued from a stranding, which could have made this event even more traumatic for him. Carlo De Leonibus says that he had always thought highly of SeaWorld and its animal care, but he is now against the company. Witnessing this incident has encouraged his young daughter to dedicate her life to saving marine animals.
Another blow has been delivered to SeaWorld today by PETA. They have just published this video depicting a dolphin laying on the ground outside of a petting pool at SeaWorld San Antonio. The dolphin allegedly jumped out of its tank during a public feeding session and what appears to be blood is underneath of its tail flukes as it struggles on the concrete. We will have to see if this video goes viral as well.
As the public becomes aware of the cetacean captivity controversy, they will begin to question these tragic events that they see taking place at marine parks and will demand answers from the industry. This attention is exactly what is needed to push SeaWorld toward change and a greater future; for them and the animals that they keep in captivity.