Its animals are dying
In just eight months, five marine mammals have died at SeaWorld, including two dolphins, two beluga calves and a young orca named Unna. But perhaps the most widespread shock came last week, when SeaWorld announced that Tilikum, its most famous whale and the star of "Blackfish," was ailing from an unidentified lung disease. At first glance, the decision to end the captive breeding program seems like a fitting tribute to what could be the end of the iconic orca's life. But Tilikum is also a key player in SeaWorld's breeding program - taken from the wild at the age of 2, he's fathered more than half the captive-bred whales at SeaWorld and has often been referred to as the park's sperm bank.
It remains to be seen if this latest PR move can right the ship - and if SeaWorld's really changed its stripes. But while there are still a lot of questions waiting to be answered, the change is a welcome bit of news for SeaWorld's orcas and their supporters around the world.