"One can only hope any new CEO will recognize that the only way to right this ship is to make real operational changes, not simply refurbish the company's marketing," Rose told The Dodo. "SeaWorld needs to break out of the rut it's in and go in a new direction that de-emphasizes and even eliminates the animal shows."
Rose also noted that it's possible the company may simply relocate the source of backlash in the U.S.: its captive orca whales. SeaWorld has already announced plans for park expansion in Asia and the Middle East. Simply moving the orcas to international parks "would be disastrous for the animals," she said.
Jeffrey Ventre, a former SeaWorld trainer and whistleblower who appeared in the documentary "Blackfish," told The Dodo that SeaWorld's real problem lies in its hiring executives who believe the "happy Shamu image."
"They're the ones who have sold the idea to management that swimming with captive killer whales is safe, that killer whales thrive in their care, and that blame trainers for their own injuries and death when the animals go off behavior," he said. "Whether this is the beginning of the end will be determined by SeaWorld. The company needs to change or crumble."