Why I Don't Support #EmptyTheTanks
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Why I Don't Support #EmptyTheTanks

SeaWorld isn't as bad as you'd think.

Why I Don't Support #EmptyTheTanks
Andrea Drumbore

Most people are under the assumption that SeaWorld is hell for sea life. They believe that the whales should be taken out of the tanks and plopped right back into their home oceans. To the majority of these people, no animals should live in a zoo and those that are in zoos should be freed to their natural habitats. Some people might even abhor going to zoos and wildlife parks altogether. However, I am here to share my quite unpopular and unheard opinion.

First of all, you can’t just release all the animals back into the wild. It never works like that. To be perfectly clear (and blunt), the animals would die. The majority of animals in zoos and game preserves are unable to fend for themselves. They don’t know how to hunt or defend themselves from other predators. They would quickly starve themselves or be killed. Some animals need to be taught how to do natural behaviors that you would believe they would instinctually know how to do. For example, most large felines need to be taught by their mothers how to hunt. Another animal that needs to be taught valuable life skills are river otters. When born, they do not know how to swim, so their mothers grab them and drag them under the water repeatedly. Their seemingly harsh version of swimming lessons will eventually teach the young one how to swim and the same technique will be passed down to their own offspring.

For those that believe that SeaWorld does harm to all animals that come into its care, which simply isn’t true. SeaWorld has a side that no one often sees or even knows about. They have a pretty substantial wildlife rehabilitation group. If you don’t know what wildlife rehabilitation is, it’s basically where injured wildlife (regardless of species) are brought in, repaired, and released back into the wild, so long as the animal is fit to live a life back in the wild. This sort of work takes a lot of soul as the caretakers often may get attached to the animals they help and release back into the wild. It also takes a lot of compassion and a desire to help. However, we do have to discuss the whales, because they are not going to leave the tanks. And that’s okay.

Everyone knows that orca whales live a long time, swim hundreds of miles in a day, and live in their own family groups in the wild. Orcas are also extremely smart and can learn how to kill different species of animals in order to get their daily lunch. Of course, there isn’t much to do in the tanks at SeaWorld and these whales don’t have much social stimulation or even environmental stimulation. However, the point I’m trying to get to is that these tanks are all they can have. It isn’t exactly feasible to have a tank hundreds of miles long so the orcas can swim the same amount in captivity that they do in the wild. While this is disappointing for many people to hear, this will be the last generation of orca whales in captivity. SeaWorld has stopped their breeding efforts in the recent years and hasn’t captured a wild whale in over a decade. While this very last generation of whales will remain in these tanks for the rest of their lives, no additional whales will be born or captured. Isn’t that what should matter?

Now for a shameless advertisement. For those parents who want their kids to see Shamu, but don’t really support SeaWorld’s treatment of the whales, take them to Washington state (Anacortes, to be specific) and take them on a whale watching tour. On this tour, they’ll be able to learn accurate facts about orca whales, see a wild family group of whales, and see additional wildlife in the natural habitat like harbor seals, larger whale species, and bald eagles. I highly recommend it. They’ll be able to remember that trip for a lifetime when they are old enough to form such long lasting memories.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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