Rose believes the move is less about SeaWorld leadership having a change of heart and more a business strategy to avoid further backlash, which has been mounting in recent years.
"They're not actually saying that capturing these animals from the wild is wrong, they're just saying they're not going to do it anymore," said Rose. "They're hoping people will read into it like they're doing the right thing. It's a bit of a stretch for them to argue that they are against it morally, since they signed onto the importation plan just a few years ago."
In any case, however, the announcement of SeaWorld's "evolution" in this matter shows that the pillars of the marine park's business model - namely, keeping intelligent marine animals in captivity at all - could one day evolve as well, which some say it must do to stay in business.
"I'm a realist, I'm not an optimist in terms of this being a sign of changes to come," said Rose. "I will believe they can change when new changes are announced."