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To wonder why people think Zoos are ok, but not Seaworld?

(48 Posts)
Charlilou490 Sun 04-May-14 18:08:37

I really cannot understand the views of some people on this site.
How can you condemn a place like Seaworld and other Aquariums, saying that whales, dolphins etc shouldn't be kept in captivity, but then say you have no problem with Zoos? In both cases animals are in captivity, NOT in their natural habitat.
Can anyone explain this to me, without bringing the Blackfish documentary into it.

feathermucker Sun 04-May-14 18:14:44

Most zoos, at least the ones I would go to, have multiple conservation projects and relatively decent sized enclosures. Seaworld and similar are geared solely towards entertainment, have less space for enclosures etc.

PrincessBabyCat Sun 04-May-14 18:17:14

I don't necessarily agree with them, but it probably won't stop me from taking my child to them either.

PitchSlapped Sun 04-May-14 18:18:30

None of the animal parks near me have any animals performing. They can get out of public view if they want to, and there is a conservation effort going on to get the animals back into the wild. They dont take animals from the wild. The enclosures are huge and full of environmental enrichment.

Now I know what goes on at Seaworld I wont set foot in one again. How can it be right to shut massive whales who travel hundreds of kilometres a year into what is essentially a very small bathtub?

newfavouritething Sun 04-May-14 18:20:43

Because they watched Blackfish and it's a popular viewpoint to have at the moment. Journalism and small-mindedness at it's worst.

meditrina Sun 04-May-14 18:20:48

Read Gerald Durrell's polemic on what makes a zoo a force for good in terms of conservation.

Not all places which display animals (whether furred, finned or feathered, or scaly) are good. But those which do proper conservation work (and all that entails, on site and in original habitats) are doing invaluable work to save species.

DandyDindie Sun 04-May-14 18:21:24

Because dolphinaria in Europe depend on harvesting dolphins from the Solomon Isles or Taiji (Japan where dolphins are also slaughtered) Most responsible zoos don't acquire their exhibits in this way as they are conservation-oriented and usually are able to provide good enough conditions to sustain captive breeding populations. Dolphins and whales do not breed well in captivity due to chronic stress and poor husbandry.
Zoos tend not to have animals involved in daily unnatural performances which involve social disruption - zoos phased out 'chimps tea-parties' years ago, recognising that they were neither educational nor respectful, but aquariums insist on their whales and dolphins performing unnatural tricks for entertainment.
The underwater habitat of whales and dolphins stretches for thousands of Km and encompasses significant environmental complexity in the form of thermal differences, currents, and social interaction. Commercial aquariums manage whales and dolphins in barren cement pools with little stimulation where the water has to be chlorinated (causing eye and skin disease).
Thee are basically no educational or conservation justifications for whales and dolphins in captivity - they are there for human entertainment.

steff13 Sun 04-May-14 18:21:40

I don't know much about Seaworld; I've never been, and I'm not really interested.

But, I do love my local zoo (Cincinnati Zoo). They aren't just keeping animals in cages, they are in habitats that are very similar to their natural habitats, and the zoo is very involved in field conservation and captive breeding programs.

newfavouritething Sun 04-May-14 18:22:33

If documentaries were made on any other species in captivity - including your pet dog, the results could look the same.

Thurlow Sun 04-May-14 18:22:38

This is a good question - but I don't think you can answer without bringing Blackfish into the debate, and the book Death at Seaworld, as they are hugely informative.

I definitely have a problem with orcas in captivity as research has shown that they are hugely intelligent, emotional animals who have reacted very, very poorly to being in captivity. They are not natural killers but if you see any of the attacks they have made on humans, they are very deliberate and calculating attacks, not simply lashing out, which in itself shows a high level of intelligence. There is one attack in particular on a trainer which was caught entirely on film where the orca was deliberately taking and rolling its trainer underwater but not for long enough to kill him, and this went on for about 10 minutes. The evidence to me seems quite clear that orcas are as stressed to being in captivity as a human would be, and their behaviour becomes very unnatural and deliberately violent.

The use of captive animals as entertainment I also find distasteful to the point of being upsetting.

Watching Blackfish has also made me question zoos. I want to do more reading about it. I believe some animals can be kept in captivity in environments which are almost identical to their natural environments, and their behaviour and quality of life doesn't suffer. But for other animals, larger animals, or more intelligent animals, they probably do feel as though they are captive, and that is wrong.

Though that captivity does need to be balanced against endangered species where captive breeding programmes are keeping them alive.

All round I am less happy about zoos than I was before I watched Blackfish.

gotnotimeforthat Sun 04-May-14 18:22:56

pitch elephants spend their entire lives traveling yet they too are enclosed in a zoo....

Charlilou490 Sun 04-May-14 18:24:29

But Seaworld do have conservation projects, it's just convenient that they have been forgotten about by the media, feathermucker and PitchSlapped.

I agree with you newfavouritething, it seems the popular opinion at the moments is to hate Seaworld. I bet most of the people joining in with that thought have never even been!

TequilaMockingbirdy Sun 04-May-14 18:24:45

Can anyone tell me if Chester Zoo is ethical, I mean as ethical as a zoo can be...

it's the only one I go to and love it there despite going during peak time and all the shops being shut

TheWholeOfTheSpoon Sun 04-May-14 18:24:47

Agree with Pitch. It's the performance aspect. And I felt like this long before Blackfish came along. I don't think being against a majestic whale being kept in a bathtub and being made to perform for its food is particularly small minded tbh.

meditrina Sun 04-May-14 18:25:20

Here is's page on their role in conservation

foolishpeach Sun 04-May-14 18:28:33

I hadn't really given either zoos or Seaworld type places much thought until I watched Blackfish. It has changed my mind so fundamentally that I find that I cannot morally justify either.

I just find it hard to understand why any animals are kept in captivity these days.

I used to go to zoos, particularly London Zoo, but these days I support conservation charities instead and watch wildlife documentaries where I can enjoy seeing animals in their natural habitats.

Charlilou490 Sun 04-May-14 18:29:00

But Dandydindie, the animals in Zoos came from the wild originally and we don't know how they are captured. No one would have known how Tilikum was captured if it wasn't for the documentary! For all we know Zoo animals are captured in this way too.
Thurlow, how do you know they are 'calculated' attacks? That whale may purely have been trying to play with their trainer, you do not know for sure.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 04-May-14 18:29:28

How can SeaWorld have conservation projects when the mammals they show are not endangered?

ClarksonsPerm Sun 04-May-14 18:29:54

I seem to remember Gerald Durrell explaining that in a lot of cases, an animal's territory is far smaller than we imagine. For instance some birds and small mammals can spend their whole life in one tree, or at least in a relatively small area. Even animals that we imagine to be far roaming, often aren't.

However I believe - happy to hear otherwise - that sea creatures can have territories/areas of activity that span miles and miles. I think it's horrifically cruel to keep them in what to them must be tiny pools.

Charlilou490 Sun 04-May-14 18:32:50

Itsallgoingtobefine, have you ever been to Seaworld?
They have huge conservation projects going on, the main one that sticks in my mind from my visit was Manatees. There are hundreds of manatees that are maimed and killed every year due to morons on speedboats. Seaworld in Florida rescue these manatees, nurse them back to health and re realase them into the wild. Those that are unable to be rereleased into the wild, stay at the park.

meditrina Sun 04-May-14 18:34:41

"For all we know Zoo animals are captured in this way too."

Zoos which carry out serious conservation work will have extensive records of how their animals are procured. Also hugely detailed family trees for all creatures bred in captivity as they need to minimise close inbreeding and maximise healthy gene pool

DandyDindie Sun 04-May-14 18:37:09

Charlie, we know that responsible zoos don't capture their populations from the wild because endangered species breeding records are kept by them in order to ensure they maintain genetic diversity. There will be occasions where they do take animals from the wild but this is usually for conservation purposes e.g. removing fungus-infected frogs from the wild so they can be treated and returned, rather than to make them jump through hoops to generate money. Again records of this are kept. Its a basic and fundamental difference between decent zoos and aquaria that exhibit dolphins/whales

foolssilver Sun 04-May-14 18:40:43

I don't agree with zoos personally but as I mentioned on another thread I think seaworld is more comparable to a circus rather than a zoo. Most zoos don't have performance animals.

Seaworlds alleged conservation in laughable. They have spent less than 1% of profts on conservation in the last 10 years. They also 'rescue' a number of stranded dolphins and whales which are viable candidates for refloating.

Seaworld and it's popularity also creates the demand for other marine parks where conditions are even worse and this demand means that drive hunts in Taiji and captures in Solomon Islands continues

DandyDindie Sun 04-May-14 18:43:46

Regardless of the significant welfare issues, live dolphin capture has been recognised as being against conservation
This is what you're supporting when you buy a ticket to ANY dolphin or whale show or aquarium that displays them sad

WooWooOwl Sun 04-May-14 18:44:05

Because they watched Blackfish and it's a popular viewpoint to have at the moment. Journalism and small-mindedness at it's worst.

Actually a lot of people have been campaigning against mistreatment of marine life for a long time now. If anything the more mainstream support began back when sharkwater was released.

Blackfish has been shown by the BBC so awareness is increasing, but that is a good thing and it's a put pathetic to criticise that and put it down to small mindedness simply because people didn't magically know about the issues without being told. It's also a bit pathetic to ask about a subject as the OP has done but then to ask that something that would half answer the question not to be mentioned.

Personally, I disagree with zoos as well as disagreeing with the likes of sea world, but animals in zoos are not forced to perform in the way dolphins and orcas at sea world are.

Wrongdoing in one place does not make wrongdoing in another place ok.

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