Today, August 6th, I took a plane ride over Orlando, Florida and was able to snap some photos of SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Discovery Cove. Ironically, SeaWorld also announced its overall decrease in revenue and attendance for the second quarter of 2015.
Photo 1: Dolphin Plunge slide ride at Aquatica. The two Commerson’s dolphins, Pepe and Ross, were not visible in any of the photos taken, so presumably they were under the shaded area. It is very unnatural to stick plastic tubes with screaming people in the enclosure of sound-sensitive animals.
Photo 2: Discovery Cove swim-with-dolphins attraction. Some dolphins are seen with trainers or giving visitors rides, while others are kept in the back, hexagonal pools. This is where they are stuffed when they are not being used.
Photo 3: Size comparison of Shamu Stadium vs only a part of the “harbor.”
Photo 4: Tilikum swimming in isolation on the bottom right, while a young orca (likely Trua) is held in the med pool on the left and another unidentified orca interacts with a trainer at the top.
Photo 5: 5 of the 7 SeaWorld Orlando orcas can be seen in two separated pools, following the show.
Photo 6: An orca on the slideout.
Photo 7: The orcas’ toys.
Photo 8: The rescued pilot whales were held in the very back pool with a plastic ball. Rather than allow the animals to live out their lives in an ocean sanctuary environment or in a more realistic habitat, these whales deemed unreleasable are kept in barren pools with the occasional toy and appearance in the Blue Horizons shows. After being born and raised in the ocean, the pilot whales will never see it again.
Photo 9: One of the pilot whales looks through the closed gate of its pool.
Photo 10: 5 of the orcas (minus Tilikum and probably Trua) wave good-bye to the crowd, as many visitors had already filed out of the stands.
At the end of the day, you get to go home, but the animals do not. What you see is what they live in for their entire lives.
(All photos are mine, except for the orca on the slideout—in which case belongs to Lindsay Lee. Please do not remove this caption or reproduce without crediting this blog.)