In the mist ongoing controversy US amusement chain SeaWorld has opened a new park in the United Arab Emirates, its first outside the US, for its treatment of aquatic animals.
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, located in the UAE capital, is a $1.2 billion investment. Although there are no killer whales in the park, Associated Press Large marine mammals such as dolphins and seals have been reported here.
The new facility is part of an ongoing push by Orlando, Florida-based SeaWorld to improve its image “after years of criticism and allegations of animal cruelty,” according to the Associated Press.SeaWorld’s choice of Abu Dhabi may have been intentional – according to UAE newspapers, the city’s tourism industry is growing and Abu Dhabi will welcome 24 million visitors by the end of 2023 the whole country.
The opening of the Abu Dhabi park comes 10 years after controversy over SeaWorld peaked following the release of the documentary Blackfish.The film examines Tilikum’s lifea 12,000-pound captive orca has been involved in three deadly attacks on humans.
Blackfish concluded that orcas became more aggressive when kept in captivity, and that Tilikum’s behavior was due in part to having been in captivity nearly his entire life. John Hargrovethe former Orca trainer told National Geographic He “saw the physical and psychological trauma of captivity”.
SeaWorld denied the claims, but the video caused “attendance at SeaWorld America’s three parks to plummet,” according to the Associated Press. In 2020, SeaWorld paid $65 million A lawsuit was settled over a lawsuit that lied to investors about the film’s impact on the park’s profits.
SeaWorld ended its orca breeding program in 2016 as criticism of its captive orcas continued. An Associated Press reporter’s request to visit the Abu Dhabi park was reportedly denied.
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