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Orca sanctuaries would be unsafe for animals, says SeaWorld CEO

SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby has addressed the possibility of seaside sanctuaries for its whales, stating that the “experiment” by Baltimore’s National Aquarium to move its animals into such an enclosure could cause health problems.

Speaking during a shareholder meeting, Manby said that SeaWorld had the “utmost respect” for the National Aquarium, adding that they would be providing the highest level of care for the cetaceans when they are moved in 2020.

"We certainly know they're going to take into account what we think are some health challenges of taking dolphins born and raised in an aquarium and placing them in an unfamiliar ocean environment,” said Manby. “But having said that, we know they intend to pursue this experiment in a very mindful way and to monitor the health of their dolphins as they move them."

When questioned about if the company would ever retire its orcas to ocean pens, Manby said the company didn’t believe it would be safe for the animals, who would be susceptible to things such as ocean-born diseases not encountered while captive.

"Could it be done to move whales to sea cages? Yeah, it technically possibly could be done," said Manby. "But is it the safest thing for our animals? We do not believe it is."

Despite making a number of positive moves to redefine itself as a park that cares and one that wants to create memorable experiences, SeaWorld suffered a disappointing first quarter this year, something Manby said at the time he expected to continue through the year.

Under much public pressure, SeaWorld said in March that it would stop breeding orcas and cease its theatrical shows, a dramatic shift for the company but one that won’t be happening quickly as SeaWorld has 30 killer whales in its care with a life expectancy as high as 50 years.

Orca  Killer Whale  SeaWorld  aquarium  zoo  ocean sanctuary  sea pen 
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SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby has addressed the possibility of seaside sanctuaries for its whales, stating that the “experiment” by Baltimore’s National Aquarium to move its animals into such an enclosure could cause health problems. Speaking during a shareholder meeting, Manby said that SeaWorld had the “utmost respect” for the National Aquarium, adding that they would be providing the highest level of care for the cetaceans when they are moved in
VAT
Sea pens have been suggested as an alternate solution to keeping captive orcas that cannot be released into the wild
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