Thriving, that is. Yet dozens of orca whale trainers have left the park in protest of the practice of keeping orca whales in captivity, many of them becoming outspoken activists against SeaWorld. One trainer recently described the company as having a "cult-like" atmosphere in which he felt obliged to stay in order to ensure the animals were being properly cared for.
"Government research shows they live just as long as whales in the wild."
The country's foremost oceans agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, reports that wild male orca whales typically live to 30 years old but can reach age 60, and females typically live to 50 years old by can reach 100 in the Pacific Northwest, where many of SeaWorld's early whales were caught. Marine mammal scientist Naomi Rose has explained that SeaWorld is "cherry picking data" when it claims that its whales live comparable life spans to those in the wild.
In contrast, SeaWorld representatives have been filmed repeatedly misrepresenting the age of orca whales in the wild.