Illustration by Chéri Hérouard for the cover of La Vie Parisienne c. 1924
Since the release of Blackfish, a documentary which chronicled the troubled life of the orca Tilikum (above), in 2013, the percentage of Americans opposed to cetacean captivity has risen to 50% (up 11% from a 2012 poll). SeaWorld’s attendance has dropped 13% in the first quarter of 2014, with earnings down 11%. The Blackstone Group, which purchased SeaWorld in 2009, reduced their holdings of SeaWorld’s stock to 25%. The National Aquarium in Baltimore is now considering ending their practice of displaying dolphins and retiring their animals to a sea pen. The ‘Blackfish effect’ has changed so many lives, but what about its star, Tilikum?
Despite a year of SeaWorld’s costly PR campaigns, YouTube videos and commercials touting their exceptional animal care, Tilikum and the other orcas at SeaWorld’s parks haven’t seen any real improvement in their lives. Their tanks haven’t been expanded, broken family bonds have not been repaired and Tilikum the deadly 12,000 pound bull orca is still floating like a cork in the dank pool that made him famous. After a year of protests, reduced turnstile clicks and constant attacks on their social media platforms, SeaWorld still hasn’t gotten the message and Tilikum, the one being whose existence should have been impacted the most by the Blackfish effect, remains untouched by its message.
SeaWorld is never going to volunteer to do the right thing by Tilikum or any of their 28 other whales, it’s up to us to #emptythetanks.
welcome to hell
photos by jeff cremer of orange julia and sulfur yellow butterflies drinking the salty tears of a tracajá turtle in the peruvian amazon. sodium is a scarce resource in the western amazon, where there is little mineral content to rain water, so the butterflies have learned to get it where they can. luckily for the butterflies, the turtles don’t much mind, despite deriving no reciprocal benefit themselves. (see also: previous turtle posts)