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Alex Wichert

@AlexWichert

https://www.facebook.com/alexwichertwords

Blackfish Cast Exclusive: Ex-Trainers Say SeaWorld Must Evolve Now

SeaWorld finally acknowledged “The Blackfish Effect” on August 13th, 2014, when the reporting of weak park attendance and distorted projections caused an abrupt decline in the value of their stock. In an effort to stave off proposed California legislation banning captive breeding and to shore up diminishing attendance and plummeting stock prices, SeaWorld recently announced plans to expand their killer whale tanks.

Moving whales to slightly larger tanks neglects the fundamental moral, ethical and health considerations that have caused the public to reject their business practices in the first place.

The proposal to build larger tanks is, as the saying goes, all sizzle. But, there is a simple and economically viable solution to the problem of SeaWorld’s growing exodus of paying guests. A solution exists that will allow SeaWorld to appeal to a society quickly evolving on the issue. Rather than glitzy gimmick and flashy advertising, SeaWorld must announce an end to the captive breeding of their killer whales. SeaWorld must market themselves as an improved company that focuses on accurate and innovative education and directs energy, effort and resources toward substantial marine conservation.    

This evolution would represent a monumental change in purpose as SeaWorld has never been about education or conservation. Clear evidence of the latter can be observed in their absent reaction to the Pacific Northwest tragedy they helped create. By supplying their tanks with so many whales captured from wild family pods, SeaWorld contributed to the current “endangered” listing of the Southern Resident killer whales. Despite this inconvenient reality, SeaWorld has never provided funding, personnel, expertise or resources toward saving the population they decimated.

The public is catching on to a company that has, until recently, enjoyed complete and total control of their message.

SeaWorld has benefited from genius marketing and communication programming, which has for many years served them quite well or at least until February 24, 2010 when trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by SeaWorld’s male killer whale, Tilikum. But the sizzle is waning, the steak is mostly absent, and the cat is clearly out of the bag. SeaWorld must chart a new course as a leader in marine issues. They have the resources, and the world’s oceans would benefit from strong corporate representation. Amazing progress could be made if SeaWorld aimed their lobby money, political donations, and part of their advertising budget at issues that truly helped the oceans. For example, SeaWorld could wield their political influence and monetary resources to assist declining salmon stocks in the Pacific Northwest. In short, SeaWorld could help save the very population of wild killer whales they’ve harmed. Such a gesture would warm the hearts of millions. The turnstiles would begin spinning again.

Alternatively, SeaWorld can choose to fade into irrelevance by failing to acknowledge the reality of their predicament. By redirecting their efforts and by announcing an end to captive breeding, and thus an eventual end to captivity, it’s our belief that a new respect for SeaWorld could be won. In the interim the parks could continue to profit from those whales already part of their collection.

Unfortunately, instead of evolving, SeaWorld has announced plans for expansion into overseas markets, including Russia, China, and the Middle East. They will soon take their show and their whales to places with fewer regulations, and for the time being, seemingly less negative public sentiment toward the practice. Precedent for this is demonstrated in their “arrangement” with Loro Parque in the Canary Islands. These endeavors may be financially lucrative for a while; at least until citizens in those countries also come to the realization that killer whales don’t belong in tanks. Like those currently held in U.S. facilities, killer whales in foreign tanks will also have broken teeth, chronic infections, collapsed dorsal fins, sunburns, shortened lifespans, and missing families. Young whales will still be separated from their mothers. Spin cannot replace reality, and the reality is that killer whale captivity doesn’t work for the animals, and it is becoming increasingly obvious that it fails as a sustainable business model. Our planet needs help and it is our genuine hope that SeaWorld will ultimately reject their current model, and instead evolve to meet the public’s diminishing acceptance of the unnecessary exploitation of killer whales and other animals.

The evidence to date, however, suggests otherwise.

7 Things I Learned from the Superpod Conference That Anyone Fighting SeaWorld Should Know

Conan O’brien jokes about SeaWorld’s planned habitat expansion

Our Work Against SeaWorld Is Not Nearly Done.

Posted by the Dodo, today. 

Published on Aug 20, 2014

Be an awesome person by sharing this video with the hashtag #SeaWorldSucks and wish me luck with the law! 

Steve-O

A Traumatic Look at Gudrun's Last Moments Alive at SeaWorld

SPEECHLESS (Excerpt Only) 

Outside Magazine article by Tim Zimmermann 

___________________________

Gudrun’s Terrible Death in 1996 includes SeaWorld RESPONSE: 

Labor Gone Wrong

In February 1996, Gudrun was pregnant again and went into labor. The calf was stillborn and stuck in the birth canal. SeaWorld’s vets and the animal care staff faced the difficult dilemma of figuring out how to save Gudrun’s life.


http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/nature/Inside-SeaWorlds-Most-Admirable-Traumatic-Job.html

 

Horton: With Gudrun, there had to be some point where the vet said, OK, we’ve got to pull this calf out. The reason why you have to do that is that the mom can go septic and end up dying. So the vets say, We’ve gotta do something to save the mother.


Gudrun was brought into the med pool. She was put into a stretcher and suspended from the crane over a lot of foam, so we could get to the calf. We put some chains or ropes around the calf’s tail to a come-along attached to a vehicle to winch it out.

We got Gudrun back in the water, and I think her uterus came out.

Gudrun died four days later. Coincidentally, in 2010, Taima, Gudrun’s first calf, also died from complications resulting from trying to give birth to a stuck and stillborn calf. 

Regarding Gudrun, Jacobs explained: “On rare occasions veterinarians have to help an animal pass a fetus. With very large animals like whales, elephants, rhinos, horses and cows, there are specifically designed veterinary obstetric instruments. The goal of any such procedure is to save the life of the mother and quickly ease any discomfort she would have as a result of the stillbirth. The tools used by SeaWorld are identical to those used by large animal veterinarians.”

Let the Girl Go (Free Lolita) – An Interview with Robbyne Kaamil

Published on Aug 10, 2014

A behind the scenes interview with Robbyne Kaamil, as she explains how she was inspired to write the song “Let the Girl Go: Free Lolita”. Lolita is an orca that was captured from Washington State on August 8, 1970 and has been living in a substandard tank at the Miami Seaquarium ever since.

Let the Girl Go: Free Lolita available now on CD Baby:http://bit.ly/1my3geF
A portion of all proceeds of the song will be donated to the Orca Network.

To learn more about Lolita and the Orca Network’s Lolita Retirement plan, visit http://www.OrcaNetwork.org

Watch the official music video for “Let the Girl Go: Free Lolita”:http://youtu.be/veaDS7U1h2g

Video produced by Daniel Azarian, http://www.DanielAzarian.com

Visit http://www.LetLolitaGo.com for more information

AB 2140 is The Cure For SeaWorld

All Eyes on California
 
The proposed Blue World Project is a media play. Plain & simple. 

[Rolled out to a live audience, with massive unveiling, and rumors planted the evening before, with some ball-park financial details provided to Wall Street]
To start, there is little public information on how the proposed “Blue World Project" will impact the Mission Bay ecosystem. As recently as 2012, SeaWorld was cited for polluting The Bay. It’s hard to believe that SeaWorld can just start digging a giant hole on city property, as well as add water treatment capacity, without due process; including environmental impact studies and approvals from various regulatory agencies, including the California Coastal Commission and the city itself. SeaWorld leases the land from San Diego. Check out this excerpt from Frank Gormlie of the  San Diego Free Press 23 October 2012:
SeaWorld is not just any corporate entity. Outside of the thousands of birds crapping in the water, one of the biggest polluters of Mission Bay is SeaWorld itself. Just earlier this year, SeaWorld was fined $6,000 for dumping excessive ammonia and animal waste into the Bay. (See Fox5 video here and “SeaWorld Cited for Exceeding Mission Bay Effluent Limits” in an article by Matt Potter, March 20, 2012 in the San Diego Reader.) 
SeaWorld is the largest discharger of water into the Bay and has been a known polluter of the body of water, as the bay has been on California’s list of impaired water bodies for several years as it does not meet the Clean Water Act standards.
Next, note the relatively long timeline for implementation, and also how it will happen one park at a time. This gives the #SeaCircus plenty of wiggle room and lowers risk. 

If AB-2140 passes, the San Diego “Blackfish puppy-mill idea” will likely evaporate, as breeding captive killer whales would then be illegal. Faced with that, SeaWorld could halt the plans, or even shift the project to Orlando, a site that makes more sense, once you remove the politics. I discuss this in a moment. 
In general, company officials have made it clear that expanding the breeding program is a big reason for the proposed addition. In regard to its business model, which includes the unethical  artificial insemination (AI) of unnaturally young female killer whales, CEO Jim Atchinson told The Today Show earlier this week… 

More at blog. 

Let the Girl Go (Free Lolita) – Official Music Video

Published on Aug 10, 2014

Music Video for “Let the Girl Go: Free Lolita” feat. Robbyne Kaamil,
available now on CD Baby: http://bit.ly/1my3geF


A portion of all proceeds of the song will be donated to the Orca Network.