When is a tank not a tank – when it’s a tank?

SeaWorld’s attempt to reverse its downward fortunes by announcing plans to construct multi-million dollar bigger orca tank may be too little, too late!

Despite a massive decline in their stock price in the last 12 months which some, including Standard & Poor’s, the ratings agency, directly attribute to the “Blackfish Effect”, management of the struggling entertainment company claim that the decline in attendance is “temporary”.

However, the film, Blackfish, appears to have irreversibly tarnished SeaWorld’s “enduring brand”, by exposing the truths behind the captive cetacean industry: the horrors of wild capture,  dubious animal management and, reportedly, one hundred incidents of trainers being attacked. Since orca were first displayed at SeaWorld, San Diego, 15 orcas have died.

I think SeaWorld needs to completely review their entertainment offering, abandon the display of orca and other cetaceans and embrace a new vision based on compassionate conservation and supporting the keeping of wildlife in the wild. In my view, their current proposal is simply throwing good money after bad.

A popular internet meme following the anouncement

SeaWorld San Diego’s ‘bigger tanks’ announcement claims that the new facility is “not just larger but more dynamic”, adding that it will include “a lot more of the kind of mental and physical stimulation that we know is so important for overall health and well-being”. But representatives were quick to clarify that this was not an admission that current housing is too small.

The reality is that no matter the size of a man-made tank, it will still be a fraction of the size of the wild range of orca, for an intelligent, gregarious marine mammal which can swim 150 kilometers a day.

SeaWorld may consider the announced changes as “revolutionary”, but Born Free cannot agree. Monies injected into trying to improve the customer experience does not change the orca’s experience. SeaWorld must realise that the use of animals in circus-style tricks is not conservation, nor does it demonstrate the “relationship between humans and animals” as SeaWorld claims. The practice of keeping wild animals in captivity is outdated and morally wrong. It should be consigned to the history books.

If SeaWorld would like to talk to me about a new future where freedom, respect, compassion, conservation and education are components of a vision we can all be proud of then call me, my door is always open.

Blogging off,


P.S. read about the amazing work Born Free Foundation is doing to end the keeping of cetaceans in captivity

13 Responses to “When is a tank not a tank – when it’s a tank?”

  1. Rachel bland Says:

    Sea world you are a joke. These are beautiful wild animals that have the right to live there lives out in open waters just like we expect to explore the world in our life time. If you could feel the pain and suffering these animals go though. Would you still look upon your decisions the same. You have allowed these beautiful animals to be captive for so long can’t you see that this is over just let these animals be free. Have some humanity. You are killing. You are murders. I hope one day we will have justice and what some peoe see as entertainment will soon be closed and never re opened let these animals have some happiness to the end of there lives. You have destroyed so much for them. A tank is still a tank no matter what size. I can not express how sick it makes me to say or hear the word seaworld. We as humans want a world of freedom animals deserve just the same. How can we move forward if seaworld wont make a positive change just except it’s over and give these animals freedom. The perthetic idea of improving the tank size not only is that a waste of time but you expect these animals to wait a further three years for a space that will allow them to turn around with out touching the sides. Within three years many of these animals will die. Make a change: Let these animals be alowed to see open water where they belong.

  2. Joana Mata Says:

    In the past men walked about 40 miles a day to hunt. Now we walk only 5 miles a day…
    I think we are hapier nowadays than then.

  3. Lisa Tamlin Says:

    Very very well said. Clear, concise and not emotional. I am a massive supporter of Born Free and am so glad there are high profile folk like yourselves out there to keep this momentum going. Seaworld are so so wrong. I personally will keep going until they change so thank you and keep at it,

  4. Alison Says:

    I believe this is a con from Seaworld to get their share prices up–well I hope it is, thankfully it will not stop for us to get these beautiful creatures released. I hope more”top” people like yourself would get on board –Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Holidays –thats what we need. Will please invite him to lunch

  5. Victoria Anderson Says:

    Well said Will… I’m so glad Born Free are behind this. You do great work and I just hope one day marine entertainment parks are a thing of the past.

  6. julie Says:

    the end of orca captivity has begun.

    all thanks to Tilikum.

    SeaWorld have got 20 years max at keeping orca in captivity.

  7. Susan Rini Says:

    Their doors and profits should be shut down, and they should be forced to care for the remaining Orcas in captivity under close supervision for the remainder of their lives. They can no longer hunt and they won’t survive if placed back into the ocean.

  8. Anne Says:

    Keep going Will, what these beautiful intelligent marine mammals are going through is just heartless and is for pure greed. I have just seen a video of Albino Dolphins in a tank and I really want to scream. Humans think it is so funny to see them crash up against the glass, making strange noises and trying to mimmick us humans. If only people would stop and think How intelligent is this and join in to try to save these mammals. Let them go and scream around their own underwater world.

  9. Scott Says:

    Animals are not for human entertainment. Period. Nothing turns my stomach more than watching ignorant and/or selfish people having a good time and laughing while watching animals being held captive and being treated like prisoners…

  10. Gill Gilbey Says:

    This is disgusting.There is a tank big enough for these wonderful creatures,I’m surprised sea world haven’t heard of it,its called THE OCEAN!!!

  11. Meme Says:

    It shocks me that we are living in a world that does this to wild animals in the name of profit. The capturing of cetaceans from their home environments and families and the long term torture of these intelligent creatures is criminal. I am ashamed to be part of a race of ‘civilised’ creatures that does this.

  12. wendy butler Says:

    I wanted Seaworld closed years ago. Please keep trying Will. I spoke to your mother at tha Kent sanctuary a long time ago about the white tigers in Las Vegas and she told me how hard it is to change things especially where the god money is involved. Good luck.

  13. Clive Martin Says:

    Double the size of a prison cell…it still remains a prison.