Having grown up in Orlando and having visited SeaWorld more times that I can count, I can't easily dismiss and discount the knowledge I have personally gained from the park about marine life, a great deal of which came from being able to see such unique animals close-up - the polar bear, the penguins, the sharks, the sea lions, the orcas, the stingrays- the list is goes on and on. SeaWorld has played a role in helping to foster in Ellison a deep respect for the amazing animals she sees in the park, as well an understanding of the interconnectedness of human and animal life. Each visit brings new insights, new interests and new perspectives on the natural world. I don't see what these animals are doing as degrading circus tricks. I see it as a display of their natural intelligence coupled with the hard work put in by their trainers and handlers, who clearly have a very warm, affectionate relationship with their creature cast mates. It takes money to conduct the extensive research, rescue and conservation efforts put forth by the SeaWorld organization. This money is generated by their theme parks, and the beautifully choreographed shows put on at those parks. Each visit provides funding for the thousands of hands-on rescues and rehabilitation work done by the SeaWorld staff each year - for a variety of animals, not just the most popular whales and dolphins.
See you back here soon!