Aquatic shows – yes or no?

Summer is here and we are all planning to have a fun holiday and make the most out of our free time. However, as we discussed in the blog post about being a sustainable traveler, today’s blog post is just another reminder that you can have as much fun as you want as long as it is not harming or affecting in any negative way, other people or animals. So, in case you are planning to go to an aquarium or to a marine show this summer, or know someone who wants to, here are some things you should have in mind.

Do your research on the aquarium or marine park you want to visit, see what kind of reputation they have, find out if they treat their animals in a good way, see if the animals’ tanks have appropriate sizes and try to find out how these animals are trained for the shows. Use the information you find as a criteria for evaluating the marine park or aquarium you want to visit. If they don’t seem to pass the test and don’t treat their animals right, then it is not worth spending money on an entry ticket. A good example is the case of the Killer Whale, Tilikum and other whales like him.

Tilikum is the biggest killer whale in captivity and he was captured and taken away from his family at the age of two, near Iceland in November 1983. At the beginning of his life in captivity, he was kept in a cement holding and later he was transferred to an aquarium in Canada, in a 35 ft deep, 100-foot-by-50-foot pool. He was bullied by the other whales and he was forced to give eight shows per day, seven days per week and if he wouldn’t perform correctly, he wasn’t getting any food that day. Later, he was transferred to another aquarium, but life in captivity caused him physical and mental health problems, such as stomach ulcer and abnormal repetitive behavior, including chewing on metal gates and the concrete sides of his tank. All this, led to the development of an aggressive behavior which led to the loss of three human lives, of instructors which fell into the Killer Whales tank. There are certain animals who simply can’t adapt to life in captivity, especially big sea mammals like whales, which are even given antidepressants  sometimes – they are that sad!

What you can do to discourage animal abuse is: do your research, as mentioned above and make sure you don’t attend shows for which animals have to suffer. Have fun but don’t forget to think about the fun and well being of the people, animals and the environment you come into contact with.

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