The SeaWorld announcement that it will stop breeding orcas in its parks puts pressure on Marineland, the Canadian theme park in Niagara Falls, to change its business model and look to rehabilitate the marine species.
On Mar. 16, SeaWorld Entertainment announced in a joint statement with the Humane Society of the United States, it will stop breeding killer whales in its theme parks.
The company said its theatrical whale show would be replaced over the next three years with “new, inspiring, natural orca encounters.”
The company said it will invest $50 million to focus on the rescue and rehabilitation of marine animals in distress, as well as raise awareness of the marine life threats.
Marineland should step up
Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of Humane Society International Canada, said that this is an opportunity for Marineland to change the way they treat animals.
“So we think that Marineland has every reason to transfer or to transform its business model into one that promotes the animal welfare instead of continuing to exploit the animal in the way that they are doing,” she said in a phone interview.
The SeaWorld announcement is also motivated by an economic model that could encourage Marineland to embrace a more human economic model.
“Seaworld is a multi-billion dollar corporation and it wont be moving in this direction if they didn’t make their business sounds as well as the animals welfare sounds,” explained Rebecca.
Currently the only captivity orca in Canada is “Kiska” who lives in Marineland.
Orca breeding moratorium may help save dolphins
The SeaWorld announcement encourages other environmental organizations to continue pushing for the protection of other marine species that are still in captivity.
Species such as dolphins and killer whales use to live in large social groups, so keeping them in captivity “is not in the best interest of the animal,” said Lance Morgan, President of the Marine Conservation Institute.
He said now that there is more information about those marine species, humans should raise awareness about the need to keep them in the wild.
Since May, 2015 Ontario has had a law that bans the buying, selling or breeding of orcas; however it is still the only province that allows wild-caught marine mammals.
The awareness about the lives of orcas gained attention in 2013 after the documentary Blackfish was released. The movie demonstrated how captivity encourages aggression in killer whales.