SeaWorld in Jeopardy After Blackfish Popularity
Finally finish Breaking Bad or Orange is the New Black and searching for a new feature on Netflix? Look no further.
The sensational CNN documentary Blackfish, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite follows Tilikum, a SeaWorld orca whale that has killed three trainers. After watching Blackfish, I’m boycotting SeaWorld for good.
Similar to the dolphin exposé The Cove, Blackfish highlights the tragic lifestyle of orca whales in captivity. One SeaWorld trainer attributes captivity to the development of a psychosis, which may lead to the aggressive behavior of captive whales. There are no documented cases of orca whales being aggressive towards humans in the wild.
Blackfish has lead to an eye-opening uproar from activists and ordinary viewers alike. Between an elementary school making the news for canceling their overnight trip to SeaWorld and multiple musicians canceling performances, the ripple effect is undeniable. SeaWorld has denied all of the film’s claims from decreased orca lifespans in captivity to the origins behind dorsal fin collapse.
Financially, SeaWorld has been suffering. Attendance in the second quarter, including part of the summer months, declined 9.5%. Although an increase in ticket prices helped compensate for the deficit, the marine park’s outlook is certainly drowning.
In an effort to improve their reputation, SeaWorld was recently caught tampering with an Orlando Business Journal online poll. The heavily skewed results (in favor of Seaworld) seemed fishy. An investigation exposed that 54% of the votes came from a single IP address — SeaWorld’s.
The biggest catastrophe exposed in Blackfish is an absence of communication between SeaWorld and trainers regarding the dangerous gamble when swimming with orca whales. Trainers lacked access to information after the deaths and injuries of others. After highly-esteemed trainer Dawn Brancheau’s tragic death in 2010, the marine park was hit with limitations on how trainers interact with the whales. Now, a physical separation between trainers and whales will help prevent future incidents.
Blackfish accomplishes what every documentary should — catalyze a change in public opinion. Future generations may ask us why we shackled animals in captivity at all. Here’s an interesting CNN interview with Cowperthwaite detailing the reasoning behind her film Blackfish:
Readers, have you seen Blackfish? Has your opinion of SeaWorld shifted?