After CNN aired a documentary about SeaWorld and the park’s whales, celebrities rushed to announce their boycotts of the park. The documentary, Blackfish, purports to document the mistreatment of whales in captivity, and culminates in the death of Dawn Brancheau, a trainer at SeaWorld, who was drowned by Tilikum, the orca sh was working with at the time.
Tilikum has been associated with the drowning deaths of two other people before Brancheau.
The documentary’s creator, Gabriela Copperthwaite, says that the animals are bored and unhappy in captivity, and that their resultant stress leads to incidents like these three deaths.
Now, however, SeaWorld is speaking out to combat the accusations.
Their new ad, designed to counter the negative claims, says that they do not capture wild killer whales and have not for thirty-five years, and that whales in the park do not have shorter life spans than those in the wild.
It also denies allegations that baby orcas are separated from their mothers, except in rare situations where the mother cannot care for the baby.
Perhaps most importantly, SeaWorld stresses that its contributions to the study of these whales, as well as its work with government organizations to spread awareness and knowledge, have a larger positive impact, creating respect for the animals, a desire in visitors to do more to protect the animals and their environments, and better habitats.