Sea World issues statement to counter ‘inaccurate reports’ in wake of backlash

Sea World Parks and Entertainment issued an open letter Friday explaining the work of its parks and people in an effort to set the record straight and counter what it deems “inaccurate reports” in the wake of major backlash over the CNN documentary, “Blackfish.”

According to multiple reports, SeaWorld ran ads in several national newspapers defending it staff and park, although it made no mention of the film.

With over 1,500 people it calls “animal advocates,” Sea World’s staff are on call 24/7 to care for animals in its parks and are available to rescue injured animals in the wild. The company employs scientists, researchers, veterinarians, trainers, marine biologists, aquarists, aviculturists, educators and conservationists, according to its statement.

The statement also said:

  • SeaWorld does not capture killer whales in the wild. Due to the groundbreaking success of our research in marine mammal reproduction, we haven’t collected a killer whale from the wild in 35 years. In fact, only two of the whales in our care were collected by SeaWorld and they continue to be in our care today. In addition, our research has led to a much greater understanding of whales in the wild, giving researchers important scientific insights surrounding marine mammal reproduction.
  • We do not separate killer whale moms and calves. SeaWorld recognizes the important bond between mother and calf. On the rare occasion that a mother killer whale cannot care for the calf herself, we have successfully hand raised and reintroduced the calf. Whales are only moved to maintain a healthy social structure.
  • SeaWorld invests millions of dollars in the care of our killer whales. In the last three years alone, we have invested $70 million in our killer whale habitats and millions of dollars annually in support of these facilities. Our habitats are among the largest in the world today. They are state-of-the-art, multimillion-gallon environments of cooled and filtered water that allow for the highest and safest standards of care. We give our animals restaurant-quality fish, exercise, veterinary care, mental stimulation, and the company of other members of their species.
  • SeaWorld’s killer whales’ life spans are equivalent with those in the wild. While studies continue to define the average life span of killer whales in the wild, the most recent science suggests that our killer whales’ life spans are comparable — indeed, five of our animals are older than 30, and one of our whales is close to 50.
  • The killer whales in our care benefit those in the wild. We work with universities, governmental agencies and NGOs to increase the body of knowledge about and the understanding of killer whales — from their anatomy and reproductive biology to their auditory abilities. Some populations of wild killer whales have been classified as endangered or threatened, demonstrating the potential critical nature of these research opportunities. This type of controlled research and study is simply not possible in the wild, and has significant real-world benefits to the killer whales that live there.
  • SeaWorld is a world leader in animal rescue. The millions of people who visit our parks each year make possible SeaWorld’s world-renowned work in rescue, rehabilitation and release. We are constantly innovating when it comes to this care: Our veterinarians have created nursing bottles to hand-feed orphaned whales, prosthetics to save sea turtles, and a wetsuit to help injured manatees stay afloat during rehabilitation. Whether it’s the result of natural or man-made disasters, SeaWorld is always on call and often the first to be contacted. We have rescued more than 23,000 animals with the goal of treating and returning them to the wild.

Naturalist Baba Dioum put it best when he said, “In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we have been taught.”

At SeaWorld, this has been our calling since we first opened our doors 50 years ago. It is a responsibility we do not take lightly. More than 400 million guests have visited SeaWorld. We are proud that their experiences here have a lasting and positive impact on them, and on the world in which we live.

The truth about SeaWorld is right here in our parks and people. Our guests may enter our gates having never given much thought to the remarkable animals in our oceans. When they leave with a greater appreciation for the importance of the sea, educated about the animals that live there and inspired to make a difference, we have done our job..

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  • Jan McMullen

    Kudos Seaworld!

  • KingofThings

    Pretty much none of us would know squat about them without this method.

  • Candice A Wright

    Do you people really think Sea World is going to come right out and say they are guilty of all of the above???? take a look at our politicians and obummer — there ya go…

  • Candice A Wright

    IN MY OPINION IT’S WRONG TO CAPTIVATE ANY ANIMAL –SEA WORLD AND OTHERS NEED TO RELEASE ALL THE ANIMALS BACK INTO THE WILD————- INHUMANE TREATMENT TO ANIMALS …………

    • Chip Bailey

      But putting Halloween costumes on them for your entertainment is fine

      • Spank

        BWAHAHA

    • Arden Hale

      No, no it isn’t. It helps to educate the public and endear them to the animals. That helps in their conservation. And you want to release animals which are in essence domesticated into the wild where they will die?

    • Bob61

      I’ve been captivated a few times in my life,I like it.
      It’s the talking afterward that’s the problem.

    • JaundicedView

      Were you paying attention about the all-caps warning? I suggest you do so, if you don’t want it reported to this board’s moderators. Using caps for emphasis is fine, but a shouted screed is not. You are almost certainly old enough to know better. Shame on you.

    • Margie

      First lets close down all the zoo’s and don’t forget Disney’s Animal
      kingdom. Oh, then all the programs that help wild animals and
      domesticated kitties and puppies. Oh then there are the programs for
      orphans and the old and sick. Every program does good in some fashion.
      Every program does bad in some fashion. Death is a normal process, if
      you want to go after someone, go after the whalers who purposely state
      they “Kill whales to gain knowledge of them”.

  • Debbie Eggers

    It’s great what you do for animals in the wild but having whales and dolphins in tanks and doing tricks, mistreated is totally wrong. BOYCOTT SEAWORLD!!

    • Chip Bailey

      Educate before you pontificate

      • Kansan

        Take your own advice…
        Go to the Orca Project website to get the links referred to below:

        In all, 37 orcas have died in captivity at SeaWorld’s 3 parks (plus 1 at Loro Parque). There have been 30 live births at the 3 parks (plus 1 at Loro Parque) …10 of which are deceased as well as 10 of their mothers and numerous unsuccessful births.

        Click HERE to view The Orca Project’s collection of SeaWorld orca necropsy reports for deceased orcas

        Click HERE to view The Orca Project’s collection of SeaWorld’s orca profiles (their own internal documents).

        For a collection of documents from the investigation of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau’s death including autopsy report, Orange County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Report, USDA-APHIS and OSHA freedom of information act documents, click HERE.

  • Arden Hale

    Sea World preserves whales. There’s nothing wrong with that. It also endears the public to these animals. There is nothing wrong with that either. Not sure exactly what the objection is to having these animals in captivity. The wild is harsh, cruel and unforgiving where animals frequently succumb to starvation and predation. And while we’re on the subject who accused CNN of accurate reporting anyway?

  • Arden Hale

    Yeah, I’ve watched this documentary Seaworld should make one of their own putting in the information that CNN left out.

  • Kansan

    Not a single word about the three people this psychotic killer whale has killed. Not a word about him being kept in what is tantamount to solitary confinement for much of his life, which drive the best-adjusted humans mad as well. He is being kept because he’s a prolific breeder, just like a prize bull, and his semen is extracted in a similar way, so that most of the killer whales at Sea World share his killer genes.

    http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/nature/The-Killer-in-the-Pool.html

  • Si Simmons

    I will not visit SEAWORLD again, this year!

  • John Basford

    The low information crowd loves this crap, produced, & bankrolled by the 2nd most dishonest media organization in the US, CNN. FYI: Release back to the wild is a death sentence from the know nothing idiots. How many animals has SeaWorld rescued treated rehabilitated and returned to the wild? What is Seaworlds annual budget they spend on what should be profit preforming these rescues? Who pays for the treatment, surgeries and often round the clock care of these rescued animals? Who gets custody for rehabilitation and treatment of rescued marine animals from the US government as the leading authority in the marine world? With all the things that are being to the citizens in the country, perhaps finding out some actual truth about SeaWorld might help direct you know nothings to spend your time finding out about the IRS targeting of citizens, the NSA spying on citizens, Benghazi, fast & furious, WAKE THE HELL UP PEOPLE