Since the last "Death At SeaWorld" blog post, I have read another 20 chapters. That being said, this time around will be more of a reflection than a summary. If you have yet to read this book, I would highly recommend reading it or at least read it up to chapter 27 before reading this blog post!
I am not someone who particularly enjoys reading and at times this book is challenging for me to continue. It's not that the book is "bad" or anything close to it; there is just a lot, and I mean a lot of background information I was not expecting. I know as I am reading this that everything is going to connect and all the information will be appreciated by the end of book.
Since the last blog, I have learned more about Naomi Rose's journey as a marine biologist and her study of the resident killer whale population in British Columbia. On the other side, I have also been educated on the "behind the scenes" of SeaWorld through Jeff Ventre's journey as a killer whale trainer. Although the book jumps from one person's story to another almost every chapter, I really enjoy the constant contrast between captive orcas and wild orcas.
I was surprised to learn that Jeff was fired from SeaWorld. I had assumed he had chosen to leave the company due to his conflicting feelings of the place. The book does go into detail about his thoughts and changing feelings towards SeaWorld leading up to him being fired.
I remember reading that SeaWorld indirectly stopped outside research of wild killer whales presumably because they did not want anything conflicting with the so called facts they were feeding their employees and paying customers. This astounded me because here is a company that claims to support research and marine mammal education for the public yet it undermines the attempts to get solid research on Orcas in the wild.
I was excited when I reached a chapter entitled " Free Willy ". This chapter dove deep into the struggle of freeing the real "Free Willy", Keiko. I watched the film "Keiko's Journey Home" and I found that the film made it seem a lot easier than it really was. The film made it seem as though Keiko's only obstacles were his health and funding. David Kirby tells a different story through Naomi Rose's perspective while working with the Humane Society of the United States. Prior to being released to the ocean, Keiko first had to be rehabilitated and improve his deteriorating health. Like the film depicted, Keiko was moved to a $7 million rehabilitation center that was built specifically for this cause. After being moved, his health improved and he began catching and eating live fish. As everything was pointing towards Keiko being released, the rehabilitation centre in Oregon slowed the process. The centre was making a lot of money off of Keiko and it was getting in the way of the reason he was there to begin with. Its just a sad reminder that everything in this world revolves around money.
There is so much more that I have read about in these last 20 chapters including details about the numerous incidents that happened at SeaWorld parks which involved Killer Whales and their trainers. It really amazes me how hard SeaWorld fights to keep their trainers in the water with these creatures. Again, just goes to show money is more important than the "education" this place is so proud of giving. More importantly… how much more money means to them than not only the life of an orca, but the life of a human is to them.
Until next time, thanks for reading! Please share your thoughts and opinions with us as you read "Death At SeaWorld" by commenting below, sharing with us on Facebook and on Twitter!