Sea World announced on Friday, that it will build new, larger environments for its whales and will fund in additional research on animals along with a program to protect ocean health and whales in the wild. The company’s shares have dropped significantly since they made their stocks public last year. Sea World has been heavily criticized recently because of a documentary called “Blackfish” which focuses on the death of a SeaWorld trainer who died as a result of aggression from the whale. The documentary suggests that captivity is not suitable for whales, they prefer their natural habitat and since their pools are inadequate in size they become aggressive towards each other. The captivity also makes them more susceptible to violence towards humans. Since the release of the documentary, many entertainers have pulled out of planned performances at Sea Worlds parks. Sea World’s longtime partnership with Southwest Airlines is ending too and the company reported disappointing second-quarter financial results.
Sea World claims that under its new announcement it will build a tank with 10 million gallons of water at its San Diego park, with a depth of 50 feet. This new environment will be called the Blue World Project, and it will include more stimulation for the whales like fast water currents to swim against. The facility will be open to public in 2018 after which Sea World will start to make changes in other states. The company reported the cost to be hundreds of millions of dollars but no specifics were mentioned.
”Blackfish” director Gabriela Cowperthwaite complained that these changes are inadequate to please the public and neither will the improve the lives of the whales. She explained that whales are aggressively bred in captivity, separated from their family and consequently fight constantly for dominance. She makes the suggestion the people are upset because whales are not meant for captivity. She also suggests that Sea World should make oceanic sanctuaries which will allow the whales to live out their lives in a natural environment.