So far, the petition has received nearly 2,300 supporters. "I hope the idea will continue to resonate, and that people will find a way to make SeaWorld financially responsible for the damages," Calloway Whiting said.
SeaWorld did not respond to a request for comment.
"I think at the very least the idea is out there, and in light of how other industries are forced to pay for damages, it's only a matter of time before legal action is taken," Calloway Whiting said. "What I am hearing repeatedly is, ‘Why didn't anyone think of this before?'"
Animal-welfare activists applauded the petition. "I can't remember feeling more satisfied signing and sharing a petition," said Lindie O'Brien, an activist in Ontario, Canada. "If something isn't done to make SeaWorld pay for their malignant past, and they move their devastating business model overseas, what's to stop them from decimating more wild orca populations?"
Howard Garrett, co-founder of the Washington State-based Orca Network, said he hopes the petition will motivate a legal effort to bring the issue to court. "It seems a bit novel to actually win in court, but I'm not an attorney," he said. "SeaWorld has been horrifically detrimental to these whales and has not acknowledged that fact."