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SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

P. 266: Reef Plunge and more announced for Aquatica!

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To me this is an incredibly selfish way of thinking. What kind of real connection are you able to get with an orca whale in a gigantic arena with thousands of other people? One could also argue that these "scant few regions of the world" where you can see orcas or other whales in the wild are as or more accessible than 3 land locked SeaWorld locations in the USA. Also, if you think what you are seeing at SeaWorld or any zoo/aquarium is seeing "the real thing" than I'm not sure what to say... I have seen many shows on tv or youtube that are far more insightful and educational than anything I've seen at a zoo or aquarium.

 

While I don't disagree that there are significant issues with the way our world is being consumed by humans, I'm don't think this is a very good argument. With your logic, you might as well say that humans would be better off in solitary confinement in jail. It would remove issues of violence, hunger, health care, etc..

 

I think there is a place for zoos, aquariums, and SeaWorld, but to act like the removal of the orca shows is the end of happiness as we know it is incredibly selfish and short sighted. I love all of the research and rehabilitation SeaWorld does, but thousands of people aren't sitting in an arena to watch science and research. The patrons are sitting in the arenas to be entertained and splashed by mammoth creatures living in captivity.

 

I can understand your point of view, but I also disagree with it. I did not become interested in aviation from reading aviation books (and I read plenty of them) and watching TV shows growing up. I became interested in it because my dad took me to airshows and plane spotting at airports. I didn't become interested in science from reading books about physics, etc. I became interested from building and launching model rockets, remote control airplanes, doing chemistry experiments, etc. There is no argument that can be made against seeing things in person, being close, and even better direct physical contact. That type of connection cannot be made, not even close, through a television or on paper.

 

SeaWorld provides that type of direct connection with orcas, dolphins, sharks, etc. that many people would never otherwise have the opportunity to get. I agree that there are those that are there for the sheer entertainment of it - heck, I'm entertained when I go. But there are those (myself included) that are utterly fascinated by it on a level far above sheer entertainment. You cannot deny that the experience that some (if not many) people get at SeaWorld has an incredible and tangible positive benefit.

 

The experiences I got growing up from direct connection to science and nature made me interested in medicine, and I now routinely care for patients ranging from 23 weeks gestational age to the elderly in intensive care units. Taking away access to experiences such as those that SeaWorld provides will have a detrimental effect on our society, I have no doubt about it. Needless to say, I am disappointed in the announcement and hope that it will soon be reversed. In the meantime, I am glad I can take my boys there and see them before they're gone, if it reaches that point. I was able to take my oldest there this past summer and seeing his reaction was priceless - I couldn't help but imagine the completely innocent fascination, wonder, and awe he felt there.

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If there was no SeaWorld, would any of us have EVER seen an Orca in person? I know I wouldn't have. Sure, we could spend thousands of dollars to cruise Alaska to hopefully see one, but who can really afford to go out and do that? SeaWorld has provided a way for MILLIONS to see, and appreciate, amazing creatures that they would not have seen otherwise.

 

How do you expect people to appreciate not only the ocean, but these animals, if you never get to see them up close and personal? Otherwise it's all videos, photos, images on the internet that will NEVER compare to seeing one in real life. SeaWorld provides that for the public! And they do their best to research and take care of these mammals the best they can.

 

While I agree, these big fellas are not supposed to be in a tank, I feel having a couple of them in captivity to allow millions of people to see them in real life, and appreciate their majestic beauty, serves more good than bad. These dumbass activists against the park don't seem to realize that.

 

When you take away peoples ability to see these orca's firsthand, and appreciate them, you're really not helping anything, in fact, you're taking away the possibility of appreciation that would protect the rest of them around the world.

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The whole thing is insane. Working for the company that owns our Sea World in Australia I know that a balance of entertainment and education can work really well.

Having said that, our Dolphin habitat is larger than what Seaworld in the US has for its Orcas. That I don't agree with, but what is crazy is PETA basically shut down your Seaworld expanding the Orca pools!!!

What else is just stupid from Seaworld's point of view is that this 'natural environment' they recon they are making looks all nice from the outside, but inside the pool it's still just a concrete tank. So it's hardly changing anything.

 

Just let Seaworld expand the pools to a more suitable size, and focus on a decent whilst entertaining show (I am very vey against that Shamu Rocks show which really did look like it was exploiting the animals). As everyone has said that engagement is what makes humans care about animals plight. It might be wrong that people don't give a shit about things they can't see in a zoo but it's the case. So to lose that engagement and thus care of the animals plight, it's a real tragedy. Especially because these captive animals don't know are meant to be out in the ocean. They just don't. Raise a child and never let them see the outside world, they won't know it exists.

 

What is hilarious about PETA is that they are focused on shutting down Seaworld which cares and loves it's animals, all the while we still ignore hundreds of dolphins slaughtered each year in Taiji.

 

This is the problem with an increasingly dumb, Facebook educated society where everyone jumps on a cause in ignorance.

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It'll be 30 years before there are no orcas at the parks. In the meantime, they'll be presented improved enclosures and won't largely be seen just as props in a show. Half the people here will be dead before the orcas at Sea World are no more. I'm alright with this, definitely.

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I was just at SeaWorld a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed One Ocean but I believe Blue Horizons is a better show. The reason is because trainers are still allowed in the tank with the dolphins where they are not with the killer whales. I've seen the show about 4 times. The best was when I saw it back in 1998. The next time was in 2011. The show just lost a lot when trainers stopped going in the water. Now seeing it two weeks ago, I could tell it had lost even more...The show just isn't what it used to be and I have no problem with it ending. If it can't be "Blow your mind amazing" like it used to be, then just go ahead and put it out of its misery and do something else. I support SeaWorld on this decision. Also while they are at it, they need to do something about the new clyde and seamore sealion high show...It was horrible. I miss the old show...it was so much better! But whatever, I still love SeaWorld. I can't wait to return and ride Mako when it opens. That coaster looks amazing!

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The whole thing is insane. Working for the company that owns our Sea World in Australia I know that a balance of entertainment and education can work really well.

Having said that, our Dolphin habitat is larger than what Seaworld in the US has for its Orcas. That I don't agree with, but what is crazy is PETA basically shut down your Seaworld expanding the Orca pools!!!

What else is just stupid from Seaworld's point of view is that this 'natural environment' they recon they are making looks all nice from the outside, but inside the pool it's still just a concrete tank. So it's hardly changing anything.

 

Just let Seaworld expand the pools to a more suitable size, and focus on a decent whilst entertaining show (I am very vey against that Shamu Rocks show which really did look like it was exploiting the animals). As everyone has said that engagement is what makes humans care about animals plight. It might be wrong that people don't give a poo-poo about things they can't see in a zoo but it's the case. So to lose that engagement and thus care of the animals plight, it's a real tragedy. Especially because these captive animals don't know are meant to be out in the ocean. They just don't. Raise a child and never let them see the outside world, they won't know it exists.

 

What is hilarious about PETA is that they are focused on shutting down Seaworld which cares and loves it's animals, all the while we still ignore hundreds of dolphins slaughtered each year in Taiji.

 

This is the problem with an increasingly dumb, Facebook educated society where everyone jumps on a cause in ignorance.

 

This is the exact reason why I don't support animal rights groups. While I do think adequate treatment of animals in captivity is important, I feel that groups like PETA spend more time shaming major companies than focusing on much more serious matters. I'm fairly certain various countries in Asia have illegal whaling activity, yet activists gloss over that and complain about how horrible it is that Seaworld owns orcas.

 

In addition, many animal rights groups, espescially PETA ,have very odd ways of garnering support for their cause. For example, PETA went as far as to make flash games about Nintendo characters(Mario and the cast of Pokemon) abusing animals.

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I think the best solution would have been to just end shows and bring in their new education experience, gradually expand the tanks and make them more natural and finally I would just take out artificial insemination and just let them breed naturally. I think the combination of these things would have taken a huge weight off of their shoulders. To make such a BIG announcement out of thin air is really dangerous and as others have said, who really knows where in 30 years this proposition will be. It could just be changed with the next CEO.

I agree with all of the above, especially since that they were already planning to cancel the orca shows. But what about those tank expansions the park announced about a year ago? Is there any info on that?

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What is hilarious about PETA is that they are focused on shutting down Seaworld which cares and loves it's animals, all the while we still ignore hundreds of dolphins slaughtered each year in Taiji.

 

Exactly right. It's like folks who want to rant and rave and create laws against pollution in the US because of all the damage it's doing to the environment. But all you have to do is look across the ocean and see, it doesn't matter how much regulation or effort we put into fixing the pollution problems in America, if other countries around the globe are going to keep on doing what they're doing.

 

These activists have a hard time looking at the big picture. And instead of looking at the big picture, like to think they're making a difference by hurting the people and companies who really are very humane compared to what is going on around the rest of the globe.

 

Does shutting down Sea World stop the slaughter of Orcas, Dolphins, and marine environments around the world? NO. Does it prevent pollution and plastic from entering the oceans? NO. So why don't you focus on that, PETA, actually making a difference instead of constantly ripping farts and making everyone who's trying to do good smell them.

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What is hilarious about PETA is that they are focused on shutting down Seaworld which cares and loves it's animals, all the while we still ignore hundreds of dolphins slaughtered each year in Taiji.

 

Exactly right. It's like folks who want to rant and rave and create laws against pollution in the US because of all the damage it's doing to the environment. But all you have to do is look across the ocean and see, it doesn't matter how much regulation or effort we put into fixing the pollution problems in America, if other countries around the globe are going to keep on doing what they're doing.

Not exactly. The US is still the second most polluting nation, after China. Even if China does nothing, reducing pollution here does a lot of good, and many times can be done without any adverse effects. For example, replacing incandescent light bulbs with LEDs reduces energy use, which on a large scale reduces the amount of power generation required.

 

A better analogy would be people wanting to shut down the wind farms because occasionally a bird flies into them. Overall, these wind farms reduce pollution substantially, and that good is threatened by idiots who protest birds flying into turbines while ignoring that birds fly into buildings all the time. It's this propensity of activists to selectively choose only facts that support their cause that perpetuates ignorance.

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What is hilarious about PETA is that they are focused on shutting down Seaworld which cares and loves it's animals, all the while we still ignore hundreds of dolphins slaughtered each year in Taiji.

 

Exactly right. It's like folks who want to rant and rave and create laws against pollution in the US because of all the damage it's doing to the environment. But all you have to do is look across the ocean and see, it doesn't matter how much regulation or effort we put into fixing the pollution problems in America, if other countries around the globe are going to keep on doing what they're doing.

 

These activists have a hard time looking at the big picture. And instead of looking at the big picture, like to think they're making a difference by hurting the people and companies who really are very humane compared to what is going on around the rest of the globe.

 

Does shutting down Sea World stop the slaughter of Orcas, Dolphins, and marine environments around the world? NO. Does it prevent pollution and plastic from entering the oceans? NO. So why don't you focus on that, PETA, actually making a difference instead of constantly ripping farts and making everyone who's trying to do good smell them.

 

Usually activists who promote a number of similar messages will be branded as extremists regardless of how seemingly moderate any of those individual opinions might be. If you're against whaling and dolphin hunts, overfishing, poaching, and burning down the rainforest for farming, the average SeaWorld fan who keeps complaining that a multi-ton animal jumping in synchronicity with music isn't stimulating enough without someone riding them like a bronco or being launched 40 feet in the air will consider them some sort of crazy treehugger anyhow.

 

Let's face it: either you want to see performing animals or you have some moral consternation about it. Forget the arguments for ecology here for a moment: no one arguing on behalf of SeaWorld is even slightly trying to take that tact in this thread, at least not in any seriously measured way. It comes down to that simple question about animal performance and nothing else. Always has, always will.

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Interesting take on this decision from the Orlando Sentinel

 

"Anti-zoo proponents will surely claim credit for SeaWorld's announcement, but as species after species cease to exist in the wild, time will turn their credit to blame. It will not be immediately obvious, though I am confident history will look back on this period, this film and the people seeking to destroy parks like SeaWorld as being culpable agents in what will become known as the most destructive era in animal conservation. Without our zoos, we don't stand a chance of preserving our wildlife, killer whales included."
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Definitely a sad piece of news. I doubt anything less than the removal of all animals from the park will make the animal rights groups happy.

 

While that's undoubtably true, I doubt the phasing out of orca breeding has to do with Blackfish, and more to do with a business model that's no longer working for SeaWorld.

 

Blackfish was very much like Michael Moore's documentaries in that it preached to the choir. Meaning that if you were inclined to see Blackfish, then you were already inclined to view the subject of cetacean captivity as wrong, and you were ALREADY not inclined to go to SeaWorld, anyway.

 

I'm trying to keep my personal politics and beliefs out of this post, but I'll own up to belonging to that group, in that I already wouldn't go to SeaWorld because it just seemed...off...to me. But, I was already in that group that wasn't attending SeaWorld, anyways.

 

To equate this to a real-life issue, one can take Texas and their education system (where the textbooks have been rewritten in, ahem, interesting ways,) their assault on abortion rights, and their anti-gay stance (see: Houston.) I personally would have difficulty living there and feeding into that states' taxation pool, but plenty of people just don't care as much about the politics of the place as much as they do about the inexpensive costs associated with Texas. So, I'm already in the group that "isn't attending Texas," for example, but my youngest sister and my parents are certainly in the "don't especially care enough" about these things camp.

 

From a purely business standpoint, the primary issue with SeaWorld involves increased, resurgent and highly capitalized competition that either wasn't in the market before or wasn't presented to the market in an effective way, the former being Legoland along with other Merlin Entertainment attractions, the latter being the poorly launched Islands of Adventure, greatly course-corrected in the past few years via Potter and the rest of the gang.

 

I truly don't think Blackfish has nearly as much to do with this as either the promoters or the detractors say, because if the orca shows were still acting as a flagship attraction and driving strong attendance, there would be more of a fight to keep them, regardless of how some people feel about them.

 

The issue with SeaWorld is structural; in a marketplace looking for themed, immersive, ideally franchise-oriented amusement park experiences, SeaWorld is lacking. They know this themselves, partnering with DreamWorks for the Madagascar characters, for example.

 

I'd also go so far as to say that the issue with SeaWorld is that they are, in effect, offering the same 'premium regional theme park' experience to both the regional theme park market, where a trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg is infinitely more complete (and clean,) than going to SixFlags, and to the Orlando/Southern California markets, where especially in Orlando, customers are looking for a grander experience. For a long time, orcas doing tricks was that grand experience. But I think the times have changed.

 

To equate this to another industry, look at Volkswagen in the United States. The big news about the company is the diesel software, designed to trick emissions testing. That has certain people up in arms and vocalizing loudly against the company for their deception, much like PETA and the Blackfish folk expressed their distaste against SeaWorld loudly.

 

But...much like SeaWorld, the issue with VW isn't really the bad press and likely economically punitive measures because of the diesel software controversy; it's structural. VW, in today's market, isn't selling what the market is looking to buy. It's not that VWs aren't good cars (the Golf is pretty much the ideal way to move around five people in comfort, economy, and driving dynamics ability...ever,) it's just that Americans really don't like hatchbacks en masse, and they really want an SUV in their garage. It's not that Americans don't view Volkswagen as a brand that offers them more than the competition, it's that they don't think that VWs offer ENOUGH more than the competition to warrant the Acura/Audi/Buick prices.

 

At the end of the day, Blackfish is a scapegoat for fans of SeaWorld and detractors of the people who believe in the message of the movie. It's dangerous, in that it detracts from the structural issues affecting SeaWorld--with or without Blackfish. Or, to put this another way, if there was no Blackfish, SeaWorld would still be the big loser in the theme park marketplace in Orlando, because people would still being choosing Potter/Simpsons/Transformers for their vacation dollar (and, of course, Disney World, as their primary reason for visiting in the FIRST PLACE.)

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Interesting take on this decision from the Orlando Sentinel

 

"Anti-zoo proponents will surely claim credit for SeaWorld's announcement, but as species after species cease to exist in the wild, time will turn their credit to blame. It will not be immediately obvious, though I am confident history will look back on this period, this film and the people seeking to destroy parks like SeaWorld as being culpable agents in what will become known as the most destructive era in animal conservation. Without our zoos, we don't stand a chance of preserving our wildlife, killer whales included."

 

You can't argue that SeaWorld's orcas are incapable of ever being returned to the wild and then in the same breath suggest that such presentation as their's is required for conservation. It isn't a coherent viewpoint. Some animals simply aren't going to benefit from the Species Survival Plan; right now aquatic ones of all sorts seem to be in that situation.

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I'd also go so far as to say that the issue with SeaWorld is that they are, in effect, offering the same 'premium regional theme park' experience to both the regional theme park market, where a trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg is infinitely more complete (and clean,) than going to SixFlags, and to the Orlando/Southern California markets, where especially in Orlando, customers are looking for a grander experience. For a long time, orcas doing tricks was that grand experience. But I think the times have changed.

 

To equate this to another industry, look at Volkswagen in the United States. The big news about the company is the diesel software, designed to trick emissions testing. That has certain people up in arms and vocalizing loudly against the company for their deception, much like PETA and the Blackfish folk expressed their distaste against SeaWorld loudly.

 

But...much like SeaWorld, the issue with VW isn't really the bad press and likely economically punitive measures because of the diesel software controversy; it's structural. VW, in today's market, isn't selling what the market is looking to buy. It's not that VWs aren't good cars (the Golf is pretty much the ideal way to move around five people in comfort, economy, and driving dynamics ability...ever,) it's just that Americans really don't like hatchbacks en masse, and they really want an SUV in their garage. It's not that Americans don't view Volkswagen as a brand that offers them more than the competition, it's that they don't think that VWs offer ENOUGH more than the competition to warrant the Acura/Audi/Buick prices.

 

At the end of the day, Blackfish is a scapegoat for fans of SeaWorld and detractors of the people who believe in the message of the movie. It's dangerous, in that it detracts from the structural issues affecting SeaWorld--with or without Blackfish. Or, to put this another way, if there was no Blackfish, SeaWorld would still be the big loser in the theme park marketplace in Orlando, because people would still being choosing Potter/Simpsons/Transformers for their vacation dollar (and, of course, Disney World, as their primary reason for visiting in the FIRST PLACE.)

 

I get your argument here (Autoextremist much?) but the core problem is that until recently, there was no reason to believe that either VW or SeaWorld had a product that the market lacked interest in. This isn't like Knott's having 20 years of largely stagnant or reducing attendance until the Ouimet Era. Let's use VW for a moment: the obvious force leading to VW's decline in sales if we assume your position is correct is an external cause: reduction in fuel costs that came with the oil bubble finally bursting. Fundamentally then, the purchasers of vehicles wanted larger cars in the United States, and went to manufacturers that provided them. F-150s for all, right?

 

SeaWorld, on the other hand, also has an external force playing part in the difficulties it had in your model: Harry Potter. Thus, since neither Harry Potter nor the oil bubble are things caused internally at SeaWorld, they are comparable. But they aren't. And here's why: the car market didn't fundamentally change. Buyers gravitate towards smaller or more efficient vehicles when oil spikes in price; it was like that in the 70s, it is like that now. As such, trucks will always be popular in the US. There is an image with trucks that is unbreakable with the American working class. For that reason, none of the manufacturers would ever abandon trucks or suggest a future without them. It would be foolhardy to do so, and so trucks are altered in order to better fit the needs of the external market forces that would otherwise make them undesirable (made more efficient, lighter, etc). SeaWorld, as suggested, has always had Orcas as a base. Even if they added nothing, a "floor" number of guests would come to see the orcas. And you're right; they would have fought like mad if they believed that they were so utterly important and irreplaceable to their brand as that.

 

Where you err here is that they did fight like mad, and in doing so, they saw that floor lower itself and the support they believed they always had vanish when the fighting only made them look worse in the public eye. The only reason they'd come to the conclusion that they did is that the theme park market, the one they are a part of, changed and that they needed to change with it. This is unlike the VW situation; SeaWorld blamed the weather and the economy, but ultimately was forced to blame themselves by not bringing a product to market that the public wanted, and that was because the public was beginning to reject the orca shows - their mid size truck. VW made a gamble their market was changing and lost out at least in the short term (at minimum, assuming you don't believe in brand damage). SeaWorld, on the other hand, stuck to the 2 back formation into the era of the 4 WR spread then blamed the game for its own obsolescence.

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This is unlike the VW situation; SeaWorld blamed the weather and the economy, but ultimately was forced to blame themselves by not bringing a product to market that the public wanted, and that was because the public was beginning to reject the orca shows - their mid size truck. VW made a gamble their market was changing and lost out at least in the short term (at minimum, assuming you don't believe in brand damage). SeaWorld, on the other hand, stuck to the 2 back formation into the era of the 4 WR spread then blamed the game for its own obsolescence.

 

I'll agree with that. Great post, all around.

 

With regards to VW, a great deal of what's happening there certainly does involve how different (re: bat feces insane) the American market is with regards to the rest of the world. Even during lean times, we tend to like bigger cars and SUVs, and that makes it difficult for a global automaker to find a strategic solution to this market difference. Difficult, but not impossible. Ford, for example, is basically making the same car in many different forms, all to keep costs down and to deliver the vehicles to the markets that want them. The Escape is basically the Focus jacked up a half-a-foot off the ground, and the Escape is the B-Max Hybrid identically, but with a gas engine and at a normal height. VW just didn't find these solutions to their product mix in the US, and what's worse, made some insane bets we all knew weren't going to pay off (the new Passat? Seriously.)

 

At the same time, due to globalization of the manufacture of automobiles, it's really only a matter of time before we're all driving Euro-Asian small(er) cars in the form of the Golf or the Focus, and while you can never underestimate the stupidity of the American Public, eventually they catch up and they'll realize they're paying a 25% premium over the car variant. Or that SUVs aren't "cooler" than wagons: THEY ARE WAGONS!

 

(Sorry! Off topic!)

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This is unlike the VW situation; SeaWorld blamed the weather and the economy, but ultimately was forced to blame themselves by not bringing a product to market that the public wanted, and that was because the public was beginning to reject the orca shows - their mid size truck. VW made a gamble their market was changing and lost out at least in the short term (at minimum, assuming you don't believe in brand damage). SeaWorld, on the other hand, stuck to the 2 back formation into the era of the 4 WR spread then blamed the game for its own obsolescence.

 

I'll agree with that. Great post, all around.

 

With regards to VW, a great deal of what's happening there certainly does involve how different (re: bat feces insane) the American market is with regards to the rest of the world. Even during lean times, we tend to like bigger cars and SUVs, and that makes it difficult for a global automaker to find a strategic solution to this market difference. Difficult, but not impossible. Ford, for example, is basically making the same car in many different forms, all to keep costs down and to deliver the vehicles to the markets that want them. The Escape is basically the Focus jacked up a half-a-foot off the ground, and the Escape is the B-Max Hybrid identically, but with a gas engine and at a normal height. VW just didn't find these solutions to their product mix in the US, and what's worse, made some insane bets we all knew weren't going to pay off (the new Passat? Seriously.)

 

At the same time, due to globalization of the manufacture of automobiles, it's really only a matter of time before we're all driving Euro-Asian small(er) cars in the form of the Golf or the Focus, and while you can never underestimate the stupidity of the American Public, eventually they catch up and they'll realize they're paying a 25% premium over the car variant. Or that SUVs aren't "cooler" than wagons: THEY ARE WAGONS!

 

(Sorry! Off topic!)

 

Nah, there's some applicability here. VW was attempting to use the high cost of fuel as a method to further penetrate the US market via exploiting an inefficiency which the major US automakers were infamously slow to adapt to. The Big 3 didn't make small cars because profit margins weren't as good, and whoosh - two of them ended up bankrupt and one is now a quasi-Italian company now. But I digress: VW in this relationship saw their blue ocean product being the TDI line, which provided seemingly magical solutions to a litany of issues - noise, emissions, fuel efficiency, and engine reliability. And it worked! Until it turned out that some of those solutions were in fact smoke (pun!) and mirrors. Exacerbating this is that the illusory properties of the engine are the ones that allow it to be sold in the United States and in other emissions sensitive regions, which is crushingly bad for resale and makes their cars even more of a liability than automobiles already are. Even under the best conditions, sales weren't going to benefit from this.

 

(FWIW I would suggest that increasing income disparity, particularly in the US, is going to lead to record low numbers of car sales among future generations as public transport as produced by the private sector becomes more and more accepted and expected. For those still buying, they'll be the sorts who are still believers in the suburban & rural housing dream, and those people will still love them some trucks but may want them to be gas/electric hybrids. We're literally just a couple years away from combis/collectivos filled via ride sharing technology appearing in US streets. It will happen. I guarantee it. If you can code, we should work on it and get rich.)

 

SeaWorld is not a radical company in this sense looking to see immense growth following tremendous risk. They're a deeply conservative company, and not just because Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock are the kind of acts they haul in for Blues, Brews, and BBQ (I'm on fire today w/these btw). When Blackstone spun the company off into the private sector and saddled them with a butt ton of debt, the plan as best I can tell was the usual cut costs/increase prices method of revenue growth in a mature industry and build semi-occasionally. Orlando got a pair of rides, San Antonio's log flume closed and is rotting (but they got a water park), and San Diego got Manta and, uhhh, I guess it kinda got a water park? So yeah, they made crappy capital investments, cut operating costs at precisely the wrong time, and they might have gotten away with all of it if not for that pesky documentary film. Damn kids.

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You can't argue that SeaWorld's orcas are incapable of ever being returned to the wild and then in the same breath suggest that such presentation as their's is required for conservation. It isn't a coherent viewpoint.

 

Says who? It's perfectly coherent to suggest that SeaWorld's orcas can't be returned to the wild or else they will most likely die (fact), and that presenting these animals to the public is of enormous benefit to the cause of conservation. Both are absolutely true.

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You can't argue that SeaWorld's orcas are incapable of ever being returned to the wild and then in the same breath suggest that such presentation as their's is required for conservation. It isn't a coherent viewpoint.

 

Says who? It's perfectly coherent to suggest that SeaWorld's orcas can't be returned to the wild or else they will most likely die (fact), and that presenting these animals to the public is of enormous benefit to the cause of conservation. Both are absolutely true.

 

Direct species survival and re-population vis-a-vis breeding programs is all but impossible for wild orcas. "Education," although meaningful and certainly helpful, doesn't guarantee survival at all. All the Zoobooks in the world aren't gonna stop poachers armed with .50 machine guns and night vision goggles.

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^Right. Humans are going to be terrible humans no matter what. It's seeing an Orca or Dolphin in person that creates the emotional connection for someone to want to actually take action and care. As of now, there will only be a couple generations left that get to experience that connection.

 

It's easy to say now that this is no big deal because the actual end of Orca presentations at Sea World is still so far away. But what scares me is that we don't know what the future holds for the wild orca population. People will still poach, pollution is still going to be everywhere, fishermen will still overfish, global warming will continue to screw with habitats...worst case scenario could be that the "safe" confines of their tanks at Sea World may be crucial in their survival if we keep destroying things as we have been.

 

To me, this is nothing more than pandering to try to generate business because they haven't invested enough in their parks to stay competitive in what is now the beginning of another arms race between theme parks.

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^Right. Humans are going to be terrible humans no matter what. It's seeing an Orca or Dolphin in person that creates the emotional connection for someone to want to actually take action and care. As of now, there will only be a couple generations left that get to experience that connection.

 

It's easy to say now that this is no big deal because the actual end of Orca presentations at Sea World is still so far away. But what scares me is that we don't know what the future holds for the wild orca population. People will still poach, pollution is still going to be everywhere, fishermen will still overfish, global warming will continue to screw with habitats...worst case scenario could be that the "safe" confines of their tanks at Sea World may be crucial in their survival if we keep destroying things as we have been.

 

To me, this is nothing more than pandering to try to generate business because they haven't invested enough in their parks to stay competitive in what is now the beginning of another arms race between theme parks.

 

Emotional connections, truthfully, are worth just about nothing. For all the grandstanding about what these places mean, I've never met anyone who actually considered changing their diets or consumption habits after visiting a zoo or aquarium for any serious length of time. We can't buy our way out of these problems and save these animals. If the scenario is that killer whales are so endangered that SeaWorld becomes their last hope for species survival, then we have far greater issues in our world than whether or not Shamu Rocks! will be happening 4 times a day.

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It's easy to say now that this is no big deal because the actual end of Orca presentations at Sea World is still so far away. But what scares me is that we don't know what the future holds for the wild orca population. People will still poach, pollution is still going to be everywhere, fishermen will still overfish, global warming will continue to screw with habitats...worst case scenario could be that the "safe" confines of their tanks at Sea World may be crucial in their survival if we keep destroying things as we have been.

 

To me, this is nothing more than pandering to try to generate business because they haven't invested enough in their parks to stay competitive in what is now the beginning of another arms race between theme parks.

Exactly. It's sad, but I can see a world in the future where many species only survive in zoos. To name a few: tigers, gorillas, orangs, elephants, rhinos etc. I know about a bit about the plight of these animals from my summer at Busch Gardens. I believe BG is doing everything they can to educate the public and save these species, but until we stop consuming palm-oil (many of your snack foods contain it), cell phone batteries, paper products, etc. and we convince other peoples to change their cultural practices that have them using rhino horns to "cure" diseases and poaching animals for sport or just because they want money and don't care, then these animals will continue to be killed until they no longer exist. There are something like only 500 of each tiger species left, and many previous species of tigers have already gone extinct. Busch Gardens might not be able to single-handedly save the tigers in other countries that might be resistant to change, but BGT at least has a healthy population of tigers and good relationships with other zoos such that I believe we could see tigers at Busch Gardens for years to come...regardless of what is happening to wild populations.

 

Orcas are a very resilient species so I don't think they will die out as quickly as other species would, if they die out at all. However, as other people have mentioned, orcas are kind of the cornerstone for Seaworld as a whole and something that makes Seaworld unique to a lot of other parks (animal and theme parks included). I just don't see how letting the orca era end is going to help the company as a whole. And if the company tanks because people no longer care about Seaworld without orcas, then what is going to happen to the other parks, like Busch Gardens? And from there, how about all the other zoos?

 

I just see it as all interconnected and discouraging. I hope the coming years prove me wrong.

 

 

^Right. Humans are going to be terrible humans no matter what. It's seeing an Orca or Dolphin in person that creates the emotional connection for someone to want to actually take action and care. As of now, there will only be a couple generations left that get to experience that connection.

 

It's easy to say now that this is no big deal because the actual end of Orca presentations at Sea World is still so far away. But what scares me is that we don't know what the future holds for the wild orca population. People will still poach, pollution is still going to be everywhere, fishermen will still overfish, global warming will continue to screw with habitats...worst case scenario could be that the "safe" confines of their tanks at Sea World may be crucial in their survival if we keep destroying things as we have been.

 

To me, this is nothing more than pandering to try to generate business because they haven't invested enough in their parks to stay competitive in what is now the beginning of another arms race between theme parks.

 

Emotional connections, truthfully, are worth just about nothing. For all the grandstanding about what these places mean, I've never met anyone who actually considered changing their diets or consumption habits after visiting a zoo or aquarium for any serious length of time. We can't buy our way out of these problems and save these animals. If the scenario is that killer whales are so endangered that SeaWorld becomes their last hope for species survival, then we have far greater issues in our world than whether or not Shamu Rocks! will be happening 4 times a day.

Actually, quite a few of our Busch Gardens campers took a lot away from the time they spent with us. If even one thing clicked after they left (like recycling or avoiding products with palm oil) and they pass that on to their friends, who knows the effect it can have. It's certainly much better than ignoring the problems and assuming they'll go away.

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^^well, Donald trump is well on his way to being the republican presidential nominee. So my faith in our ability to not kill a species is not that great.

 

I hate the shows. I like the move to bigger tanks and presentations as opposed to the awful storylines they create for the shows. I do think the emotional connection means something (it certainly worked for me as a kid---see my story in a previous post) not just for the kids but also for the animal rights activists. It's their battle cry too. I'm sure they'll move on to the next species, but killer whales are the marquee animal for their cause too.

 

Ultimately I think it's too soon to know if this is truly the best thing to do. I'm not an expert by any means, so I can only offer my thoughts. My gut feeling is no, but I get that they had to make a business decision after they failed to defend themselves against blackfish (and in retrospect, should have been more aggressive and proactive years before blackfish---the tank expansion was the right thing to do all along) and didn't invest enough in their parks to keep them competitive in markets that are only going to keep adding attractions. I think properly cared for animals in captivity, especially ones as majestic as orcas do have a place in our society as an important educational and research tool, but that's just my opinion.

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