SeaWorld has been shrouded in controversy in years, especially since the documentary film, Black Fish, was released. Happily, they have now confirmed that they will not accept whales “stolen” from the wild.
In these years, they have been subjected to increasing pressure to change their animal captivity policies.
A few years ago, 18 Beluga Whales were captured in Russia. SeaWorld competitors, Georgia Aquarium, have since been trying to get the whales into their marine park but, due to legal complications, have been denied the rights.
Meanwhile, SeaWorld, who were liable to receive some of the whales down to a breeding agreement, have confirmed that they will not be accepting the belugas as they have said the company is in the midst of “an evolution”.
An official statement confirmed this, saying:
SeaWorld has informed the Georgia Aquarium that we will not accept any of the belugas listed on their NOAA Fisheries import permit application. The Marine Mammal Protection Act supports the collection and importation of animals for public display in accredited zoological facilities, and SeaWorld’s decision on this matter does not in any way reflect judgment on those facilities leading or participating in this beluga whale conservation effort. Rather, it reflects an evolution in SeaWorld’s position since this project began more than eight years ago.
Despite their efforts to “evolve” many believe that, rather than being done for the greater good, captured whales are not being accepted by SeaWorld as a PR stunt. Just a way to avoid a media and public backlash…
It’s surely a step in the right direction for animal rights, however some could argue that, since animals are still being captured, it seems irrelevant. The eighteen Beluga Whales will continue to live in captivity and, more likely than not, in worse conditions than if they were at SeaWorld.
It is imperative for animal conservation that capturing these animals becomes completely illegal.
Tell us your thoughts in the comments!