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Still Waters

SeaWorld to redesign controversial whale tank

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US marine theme park SeaWorld has announced it is to build a bigger tank for its killer whales, amid criticism of its treatment of the animals.

But the Florida company said that the plans were not in response to last year's documentary film "Blackfish".

The film suggested that captivity and SeaWorld's treatment provoked violent behaviour in the killer whales.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...canada-28817407

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Sea World is screwed. The nails keep getting nailed in to its coffin and this gesture is last ditch attempt to appease animal rights activists. What they don't seem to understand is that things will never be okay. They never were. Blackfish exposed Sea World for the monster it truly is and all the "Sea World Cares" campaigns or promises of larger tanks will not dredge them out of the mess they are in. I sincerely hope they go bankrupt and close their doors.

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If it were not for zoos and aquariums, many people would never be exposed to animals. Zoos when I was growing up were often very cruel places, just iron cages and not zoos alone; I remember seeing the gorilla Willie B at a mall in Atlanta, Georgia in a tiny cage surrounded by glass in the center of the mall. His only stimulation: watching the people in the mall, day in, day out. Fortunately, this poor animal finally did get to experience something of the modern zoological park, an enclosure with sunshine, open air, grass, trees and most importantly, his own kind. Now we see animals in simulated jungle, savannah, and deserts, with water features, plants and trees, often interacting with other species from the same environment. It shows people the wonder of nature and lets them care about wildlife. Sadly, in some cases there are more animals of some species in zoos than in the wild because of habitat destruction, far from being just a cage, they have become an ark.

Orca currently are not unlike Willie B in the sense they are in a confined area, although they do have others of their kind to interact with and humans as well, that is still a far cry from a challenging and enriching environment. We can argue whether Orca should be in captivity at all. They are very intelligent, have huge ranges in the ocean and live in large family groups. It is difficult, if not impossible to replicate anything close to the ocean, unless perhaps you were to confine them in a huge bay. Many of these Orca were born and bred in captivity, they have never know the ocean and they have not proven easy to return to the wild once in long term captivity. Sea World may be bending to pressure in proposing this new habitat for its whales, and while it is not ideal, at least it is a larger, more stimulation environment for the animals and as long as Sea World is legally allowed to keep these animals, at the very least they will have improved living conditions.

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