When people think of the animals who suffer at SeaWorld, they often picture orcas. But did you know that the marine park also keeps many other species locked up so that it can make money?
Dozens of beluga whales have died at SeaWorld parks. While those in the ocean can live as long as 50 years, many of those kept in SeaWorld’s cramped concrete tanks have died much earlier than that.
Here’s an interesting fact: Orcas are actually a type of dolphin! Sadly, SeaWorld also imprisons other kinds of dolphins. They’re forced to do tricks in shows, day after day. The park makes some of them spend time with humans in petting pools or “swim with dolphins” experiences. People—even kids—have been bitten by the animals during these activities. Nearly 300 dolphins (not including orcas) have died at SeaWorld.
The penguins’ living areas at SeaWorld are cramped and dirty. A lot of people throw litter into them, and the birds often eat it. One diver who worked there said, “They have penguin surgeries all the time [to remove the objects from the birds] … it’s horrible.”
At SeaWorld, there’s not much shade above or below the surface of the water to protect animals from the sun. The lack of shade plus the fact that animals are forced to look directly into the sunlight when begging for fish mean they have a higher risk of suffering from eye damage and disease, which are common in captive seals and sea lions. Walruses at SeaWorld have suffered from eye problems, too. One, named Obie, went blind. He also seemed to have been driven insane by captivity. He and another walrus would press their mouths against the glass of the tank, purposely throw up their food, and then re-swallow it—over and over again.
While we only use five senses, sharks use between eight and 13! This means that living in small touch tanks at SeaWorld is stressful and confusing for them. They want to avoid contact with humans and don’t want to be touched, poked, and prodded.
Even though dozens of stingrays at a time have died in touch tanks at other parks, SeaWorld lets visitors hand-feed rays in a touch tank. This puts the rays in danger and teaches people that these shy animals are here to entertain us, which is just plain wrong.
SeaWorld also uses alligators, manatees, otters, and sea turtles to entertain people.
If you care about animals, please don’t visit SeaWorld or any other place that puts them on display to entertain humans.