I have what some would say is an unhealthy love for graphic T’s. Especially old’school vintage T’s. So recently while surfing the web (does anyone say that anymore), I saw a vintage-style SeaWorld T-shirt — and in an instant I was transported back to my childhood, and the SeaWorld of old.

The SeaWorld that showcased humans doing ticks and teaching the masses with killer whales. I learned Killer Whales have unique dialects that are considered a form of culture that is unrivaled by any species other than humans. Seaworld turned animals from abstract MPC’s to real live personalities. This SeaWorld that proudly displayed Shamu. Everyone loved Shamu! For decades SeaWorld was famous for awe-inspiring interactions with trainers in the water with sea lions, dolphins, and of course killer whales.

SeaWorld San Diego ends its killer whale show | The Independent | The  Independent

Caught a body bout a week ago

All that stopped in 2010 after the death of Dawn Therese Brancheau a trainer. She worked with orcas at SeaWorld Orlando for fifteen years. The Killer Whale Tilikum murdered her. I say murdered because the whale new exactly what it was doing when it grabbed Ms. Brancheau’s hair and pulled her and held her at the bottom of the pool. That is a horrific accident.

Then when you find out that this is this animals 3rd body. All non-provoked and vicious. You start to think to yourself ” WTF are these people doing in the water with these KILLER WHALES?! They’re killers!!” SeaWorld agreed (publicly) and aligned itself with the animal activist organization the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and ended its killer-whale breeding program. When the movie “Blackfish” came out in 2013, SeaWorld hired a crisis management firm to salvage its image, but the damage was done. Seaworld would never be the same again. But the ops weren’t done.

PETA

PETA is calling on the USDA to investigate SeaWorld for holding animals in conditions so stressful they would lead to horrific attacks and reminds families to stay away from any park that imprisons orcas or other animals. Orca Nakai was involved in a similar incident in 2012, when he was kept in small concrete tank with (“incompatible orcas” – SeaWorld Statement) and sustained puncture marks and jaw injuries. Free orcas are among the fastest animals in the sea — they can swim as far as 140 miles in a day and dive deeply. But at SeaWorld, they swim in endless circles in small barren concrete tanks.”

Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. PETA

The animal activist group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is accusing the park of federal Animal Welfare Act violations over housing incompatible animals together. PETA has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, calling on the agency to investigate SeaWorld San Diego after a recent Orca incident.The filing came about, after a park-goer sent in video of a clash among orcas the attraction. The SeaWorld visitor told the organization that blood could be seen in the water and that bites and other injuries were visible on the orcas that was under attack. The accusation followed the death of Nakai, an orca at SeaWorld San Diego the very day before. Nakai, born at the park in 2001, died of an infection, officials said. Making it 2 deaths in the year 2022. SeaWorld later issued a statement calling the video and conclusions drawn from it by PETA “misleading.”

The video released by PETA is misleading and mischaracterized. In fact, it shows common orca behaviors exhibited by both wild populations and those in human care as part of natural social interactions. During the interaction, one of the orcas sustained some minor and superficial abrasions that pose no serious health risk. Numerous scientific papers have been published about these behaviors among wild orcas. The papers include documented physical evidence in orcas that resulted from these same types of interactions in the open ocean.

SeaWorld

Despite the changes in breeding, SeaWorld still keeps animals in captivity — which is why PETA has long encouraged people to not support SeaWorld by abstaining from attending the parks. wild orca pods’ unique dialects, are considered a form of culture that is unrivaled by any species other than humans. Free orcas are among the fastest animals in the sea — they can see as far as 140 miles in a day and dive deeply. But at SeaWorld, they swim in endless circles in small barren concrete tanks.”

Blackfish

Pressure has been on SeaWorld since the 2013 release of the documentary Blackfish, which focused on Tilikum, a captive orca who performed at SeaWorld Orlando. The exposé on the treatment of the killer whales made many people protest SeaWorld, and during the aftermath, the then-CEO stepped down as a result of a decrease in profits, which many saw as a response to the outrage following the critically acclaimed documentary.

The name Shamu has become almost synonymous with the captive whales, which explains why the company has sought to eliminate the name from the attractions. The original Shamu was caught in 1965, and died after six years performing at SeaWorld San Diego. After trademarking the name, SeaWorld kept promoting Shamu and Shamu performances with “baby Shamus” until 2016, when they announced their plans to end their orca breeding program. 

The Seaworld Re-Brand : We whale never mention it again

SeaWorld has since tried to save face by rebranding itself in a new image. One that has nothing to do with to do with Shamu – the world famous moniker once beloved by Adult and child. The company placed an emphasis on its rescue program and focused on new non-animal attractions to lure guests to the park. Million-dollar roller coasters dominate the park. The world famous Shamu logo is virtually eliminated from the park, and it might surprise guests to learn there are actual killer whales at SeaWorld, since there are virtually no advertisements featuring them.

The Shamu Express — a whale-themed roller coaster at SeaWorlds San Antonio and Orlando — has been rebranded as Super Grover Box Car Derby. The change comes as part of a Sesame Street attraction in the Orlando park. SeaWorld Orlando rebranded “Dine With Shamu” as “Dine With Orcas.” Additionally, in Florida, the “Shamu Emporium” has been reintroduced as the SeaWorld Store. In San Diego, the former “Shamu Stadium”is now Orca Stadium and none of the animal shows feature humans in the water with animals. SeaWorld ended its practice of riding on dolphins — a decision made as a concession to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Back to the Future

SeaWorld needs to — adapt or face obsolescence. I don’t mean adapt to eschew activist concerns — I mean adapt to get back to its former self, the venerable SeaWorld of yesteryear. When I was a kid, SeaWorld was the Harvard of marine mammal training. No one questioned that the animal trainers were experts in their fields, and the animals that called SeaWorld home were ambassadors for their species. Live animal shows were a prominent staple of the park. At its core, SeaWorld is an animal park that has some cool roller coasters. The problem is that currently, SeaWorld is a roller-coaster park that has some cool animals.

Alternate view of Vintage SeaWorld Logo Classic T-Shirt Essential T-Shirt

When it comes to Seaworld,going eco-friendly is good for the animals and good for business. Artificial rivers that the Orcas could navigate strewn through or around the park ( whichever way is budget friendliest) so the can stretch and not be on top of each other. These artificial bays could also act as viewing areas and/or staging grounds. I have seen great use of biodiversity and eco-friendly commerce in major parks before. See Xcaret in Mexico for a prime example. We need places to help educate and empathize the public to nature, while also respecting it. And let people swim with killer whales if they want to, this is America, we should all have choice unless it harms others. (oh Yeah, I bought the shirt)

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