After maintaining a long silence in response to "Blackfish," a documentary slanted to give a negative view of SeaWorld and its handling of its resident orcas, the park has finally responded via an open letter printed as an advertisement in many major publications.
The letter responds point by point to many of the film's assertions. However, even before it was published, SeaWorld Orlando took an opportunity to share information on its animal rescues at a media event celebrating its annual Christmas event.
Click the video accompanying this article to learn more about what the park's rescue team does to help a wide variety of animals. You can see some of the rescued turtles and manatees in the Turtle Trek attraction, and several pilot whales that were saved by SeaWorld can be seen occasionally in training sessions in the dolphin stadium.
Most of the park's orcas were born in captivity, although Tilikum, the main subject of the movie, and Katina, the matriarch of the pod, were both originally captured in the wild. Tili isn't kept in isolation; you'll often see him playing with his grandson, Trua, in the underwater viewing area, and he performs the big splash finale in the One Ocean show when he feels like doing it. If you want to see him, try to catch an early show as that's when the diva is most likely to be in the mood to soak the audience.
While most people associate SeaWorld's rescue efforts with larger animals and sea creatures like manatees, dolphins, pilot whales, and turtles, most of its work centers on another type of animal. Jump to the next article to find out which critters reap some big benefits from the park's work.
If you'd like to read the letter, you'll find it here.