"It's difficult to imagine a more direct conflict of interest."
Orca Research Trust founder Dr. Ingrid Visser expressed similar concern. Dr. Visser has studied the orca for over 20 years and campaigned for the release of SeaWorld captive orca, Morgan.
In an interview she said that "WWF [is] refusing to look at the fact that SeaWorld doesn't meet the internationally accepted 'five freedoms' for captive animals," and that "[It] needs to ask itself and its members if it will continue to accept funding from a corporation that other non-governmental organizations, and high-profile individuals are distancing themselves from."
Samantha Lipman, U.K.'s Orca Aware zoologist and marine mammal medic, questioned if SeaWorld had an agenda in WWF's campaigns, saying that a number of supporting members and campaigners have already directed their concerns to WWF, but that it "never fully addresses the issue" over its partnership reasons.
"The money [WWF] receives from SeaWorld has been made from the exploitation of dolphins, orca and porpoises. [WWF is] turning a blind eye to the suffering of 53 individual orca currently in captivity, and at the same time, is fighting to save 55 individual Maui's. WWF is sending out a conflicting message," Lipman said in an interview. "They don't address the issues. They do not answer the question that is being asked and people are becoming frustrated and angry because of this."
"They want a real answer, not a corporate one."