This post was most recently updated on March 27th, 2019
This post was NOT solicited by SeaWorld San Diego nor am I being compensated for my time.
I love SeaWorld. As someone lucky enough to grow up in San Diego, I looked forward to the trips to this wonderful place where I could be face to face with a killer whale or feed the dolphins. As a little girl, I always wanted to be the one chosen to be kissed by Shamu. Now I am angry about the portrayal of the parks in the movie Blackfish, comments from people that have never been to the parks or who are unaware of the efforts of SeaWorld San Diego and all of the SeaWorld parks in animal conservation, education and animal rescue. It would appear that only the detractors are getting heard and I wanted to express my views and support.
It’s Hard to Love What You Can’t See
Why do people care about orcas? Because of SeaWorld parks. Long before Free Willy came to the screen, there were SeaWorld parks with millions of visitors each year. Young children that are now adults that marveled at these wonderful creatures. Visiting SeaWorld made orcas, dolphins and other sea creatures real and precious to us. Shamu became the face of the orcas and gave us a reason to care. It takes a great deal of work, care and attention to detail to take care of an animal such as a killer whale. Yes it the purpose of the parks to make money, but money cannot buy the love and devotion shown to the orcas by their trainers and caretakers. Just ask a trainer after a show.
A visit to a SeaWorld park is also an education in how our actions such throwing trash in the street, oil in the sewer drains, wasting water and pollution in the water affects not only us but our marine friends as well.
The SeaWorld Bush Gardens Conservation Foundation
The SeaWorld Bush Gardens Conservation Foundation is partnered with the World Wildlife Fund, Inc. (WWF), the Nature Conservancy and the National Audubon Society just to name a few organizations, working around the world to support conservation education, animal rescue and a global awareness of animals and their worth. Since the Foundation began in 2003, it has given out over $11 million in grants. In addition SeaWorld Parks have given over $50 million dollars to wildlife organizations. The foundation helps not only marine animals but all different types of animals.
Applications for funding for 2019 are now being accepted. Applications received by April 30, 2019 will be considered for funding in the last two quarters of 2019.
In 2014 foundation grants will support the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leon; Painted Dog (also known at the wild African Dog) Conservation in Zimbabwe; SANCOOB working with African penguins in South Africa whose population which has lost 98% of its population since a 1930 count of breeding pairs; Ecology Project International (EPI) which will work to protect leatherback sea turtle populations by working to reduce the illegal harvest of nests and improving nesting habitats. 100% of the donations to the SeaWorld Bush Gardens Conservation Foundation are used for conservation. The costs for the administration of the fund are picked up by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
Animal Rescue, Rehabilitation and Return to the Wild
“Who you gonna call?” While researching this post, I visited the SeaWorld Cares web site and learned that SeaWorld was instrumental in helping in the rescue of Winter, the dolphin in Dolphin Tale. And that the parks have been responsible for rescuing and caring for 23,000 ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned animals in its 50 year existence. SeaWorld staff are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to assist with animal rescue.
SeaWorld is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In order to be accredited SeaWorld must meet certain standards and undergo reviews by teams of experts from the association.
My Conclusion about the SeaWorld Parks
I wanted to write a piece from my heart to share my love of SeaWorld and to let the staff know that there is support for the parks and their efforts . I also don’t like the movie Blackfish. I found that the movie was very one sided and negative. In researching for this post I found a link to the SeaWorld document which provides details and links to more than 60 inaccuracies in the Blackfish movie. I hope you will take a moment to look at the document. It is easy to read, concise, and contains links to their supporting documentation. Among other things, the SeaWorld document refutes claims that they separate calves from their mothers. The orca ‘calves’ referred to in Blackfish were 4 1/2 years old and 12 years old respectively. Or that SeaWorld obtains its orcas from the wild, a practice that ended in 1979 over 30 years ago. Having orcas in a setting such as SeaWorld is akin to having animals in a zoo. A very emotional issue. But if SeaWorld had not brought us face to face with these magnificent creatures, would we care so much about them today?
In my case I am looking forward to more visits to SeaWorld San Diego. Thanks for reading.
I couldn’t watch Blackfish because I just can’t do animal films in general. I have always thought that both the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld along with the Monterrey Aquarium were some of the best animal advocates this country has. They have great parks – but they are so much more than that!
Thank you for sharing more light on SeaWorld. I am going to read more on the document you shared since I have also seen Blackfish.
I grew up going to SeaWorld Orlando, so I was devastated when I watched Blackfish. The director and producers of the documentary did have some thought-provoking points within the film, but I certainly know that there are always two sides of the same story. I’ll have to check out the documentary that you’ve recommended! I definitely appreciate the conservation efforts that the SeaWorld brand makes across the world!
Thanks for sharing! I have heard good things about Sea World San Diego.
I admire your passion. I haven’t seen or heard of the movie Blackfish. This post is making me want to look into it further.
Thanks for sharing the info! I’ve never been to one of these places before (SeaWorld) so it brought some stuff to my attention…
Have an awesome weekend!
I went to SeaWorld in Florida a few times as a kid and watching Blackfish did make me see Sea World in a different light if I’m being honest. I love the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, my thing is I just want to make sure the animals are getting the care they need <3
I love SeaWorld, and I love that you wrote this post out of pure love for the park! <3
I’ve never seen Blackfish but I’ve always loved Seaworld! I think there is too much controversy out there about to really know what is true in the movie or what is true about what Seaworld says.
I have to say, I have never seen Blackfish, but you definitely have me interested now. I have never had an issue with Sea World. Living in Southern California, I see all the work that they do to take care of their animals and how they give back to the organizations who help and rescue them from horrible situations. Thank you for sharing.
I have not heard or even seen the Blackfish but now I am eager to read the document and also see the movie to understand your point of view.
I have a soft spot for animals. I am all about conservation.
I have not been in so long 🙁 But I really want to take my boys sometime soon.
As a fellow San Diegan I love Sea World as well. They might not be perfect but they do a lot of good.
I’ve never been there but it has always been on my list of places I want to visit. Great post.
I’ve always loved Seaworld too. I was discouraged by the movie of course, so it puts us in a hard spot. Our closest is Seaworld Orlando though which is SO fun and I love the dolphins!
This definitely gets me thinking and wanting to do more research. I have seen Blackfish, and it was very disturbing to me. I’m not usually one to be able to “do” animal documentaries, but this time I made an exception. I’m looking forward to reading the inaccuracies.
Thank you for sharing your opinion! I find that I have a very hard time expressing mine on this particular topic.
i’ve never seen the movie. I tend to stay away from films that appear slanted in view. Your post sheds a positive and supportive light on Sea World. Thank you for the info.
I have never seen Blackfish but have heard about it. There are two sides to every story and a lot of times documentaries will stretch the truth to make their point. Thanks for bring some awareness to this issue!
I love Sea World. This was so interesting to read and learn more. Thank you for sharing.
Very interesting read! I really need to watch Blackfish!
I’ve never been to SeaWorld but I’ve always wanted to go. I really appreciate this post because there is so much negative out there about zoos and the like – but I think they do so much good!
Never been to SeeWorld and I love love that they are advocating of animals. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for sharing this! I hate that these parks get bad reps when there is SO much to them!