SeaWorld's newest park is to be built in Abu Dhabi and won't contain any killer whales.
After the documentary Blackfish made its debut in 2013, hundreds of thousands of people began to boycott the marine park SeaWorld. This was because the film portrayed orcas, specifically killer whales, living in conditions that are both abnormal to it species and inhumane.
In fact, the backlash over the entertainment park’s practices halted the development of other parks elsewhere, particularly outside of the U.S. Only after SeaWorld announced that it would end its Orca breeding program and phase out whale shows did its reputation (and profits) begin to improve.
Now, according to CNN Money, the park is planning to open its first park outside of the U.S., and no killer whales will be part of the show. The announcement was made after authorities of the park came to an agreement with Miral Asset Management. Said Mohamed Al Mubarak, chairman of Miral Asset Management:
“This announcement reflects the emirate’s ambition to create a sustainable, diversified economy, with tourism as one of its core pillars.”
To open in 2022, the whale-free park will be located on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. It’s worth noting that the site will include the UAE’s first-ever marine life research and rehabilitation center.
Some suspect that the business venture is an attempt to regain face in other areas of the world, where fewer activists have watched or been exposed to the teachings shared by Blackfish. However, animal rights advocates might agree that SeaWorld keeping its newest park whale-free is a positive development.
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