Release SeaWorld's orcas into a sanctuary

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You've probably heard of SeaWorld - the amazing sea life amusement park where you can see real-life orca whales preform? Or the cruel and prison-like jail cell for animals that were born to be wild? 

Everyone was intent on thinking the former up until 2010, when Dawn Brancheau was killed by Tilikum, SeaWorld's largest orca whale in captivity. Dawn was actually Tilikum's third victim - in his past years at SeaWorld and Sealand, he had claimed the lives of Keltie Byrne and Daniel Dukes. This whale clearly had aggressive genes - but is that all that's causing Tilikum's attacks? 

SeaWorld was quick to assure everyone that Tilikum's behavior was a fluke, and that he was just a particularly feisty whale. But upon further research by concerned spectators, it soon became clear SeaWorld was not a "World" for the sea life, but a jail cell. 

The orca whales at SeaWorld now live in much less than 1% of their natural habitat. It has been proven that, although SeaWorld claims their whales live lives equivalent to those in the wild, the captive orcas live to around 9 years old, while wild whales live from around 50 to 80 years. They almost always have sunburns, because their shallow pools are not deep enough to provide them adequate shade from the hot Florida sun. These burns are shielded from the public eye with black zinc oxide, which matches their skin, 

Soon it became obvious that SeaWorld's enclosures and care are nowhere near the living conditions provided by the vast and beautiful ocean, the orca whale's natural habitat. Shamu was reported as having eaten a pelican during a show, obviously stating that his natural hunting instincts had never left and were not being noted. Orca whales are also extremely social animals. Scientists who have studied their brains have reported that they are easily as complex and even more complex than the human brain, and as if not more intelligent. They are pod animals, and they are smart enough to develop true bonds. However, the true "killer" whale Tilikum was reported by former SeaWorld trainers as having spent most of his time alone. 

Clearly SeaWorld is not the wonderful world of Believe they claim to be. And their orcas are not given anywhere near the proper living conditions, forced to do show after show, trick after trick, and sometimes with no reward. These whales don't belong in pools - they belong in true oceans, where they can swim free and deep with straight dorsal fins and no trainers living their lives for them.

Several people and scientists are working together to build an orca whale sanctuary where SeaWorld's whales can retire. This will be the first permanent whale and dolphin reserve. Although SeaWorld has officially ended its breeding program, they refuse to release their whales in sea pens, saying that it would surely be a "death sentence," though other scientists and whale researchers say this is "utterly ludicrous." However, two former SeaWorld trainers, Naomi Rose and Lori Marino, created the Whale Sanctuary Project, working to provide the captive whales a safe sanctuary in North America.

Sign this petition telling SeaWorld where their whales really belong. 

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Phoebe Baisch needs your help with “SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment: Release SeaWorld's whales into an orca whale sanctuary”. Join Phoebe and 1,010 supporters today.