SeaWorld’s profits drop after documentary on death of killer whale trainer
More woe for SeaWorld with profits and attendance dropping. The impact of the film Blackfish is held responsible, along with a movement of greater awareness among the public of how dolphins and whales potentially suffer in captivity. This story from the Daily Express:
The 2013 film Blackfish examined the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by a performing whale named Tilikum at SeaWorld Orlando in 2010.
It also raised questions about the ethics of catching killer whales and keeping them in captivity.
SeaWorld has since seen a 28 per cent drop in their net income in a three month period to the end of September, falling to $87.2m (£55.5m) from $120.7m (£76.8m) at the same time last year, according to City AM.
Overall profits revenue dropped by eight per cent for the quarter, and attendance at the parks fell by five per cent, it has been reported.
Experienced trainer Dawn Brancheau died after being pulled underwater by a whale
Although SeaWorld did not directly cite Blackfish as a explanation for the fall in attendance, they did highlight “negative media attention in California” as a contributing factor.
SeaWorld has issued a statement describing Blackfish as “inaccurate and misleading” and accused the film of exploiting Ms Brancheau’s death.
Tilikum, a 32-year-old whale weighing 12,000 pounds, has been involved in as many as three deaths, but returned to performing in March 2011 after killing 40-year-old Ms Brancheau.
The park was fined for three safety violations in 2010, two of which related to Brancheau’s death.
However, her widower did not take legal action against the park.
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