Today SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. released its third quarter earnings report and, as many suspected in the activist and business worlds, it was bad news for the marine theme park. Attendance was down 6 percent over the same period last year and adjusted revenue was down 18 percent. This was during the height of the summer season for theme park attractions.
While some animal advocates may see this situation as a positive for the orcas, it has some significant negative aspects as well. As I have said repeatedly to those who will listen, I do not want SeaWorld to go out of business; I simply want it to change its business model. Going out of business will leave many animals – not just the 29 orcas that SeaWorld owns, but other whales and dolphins, seals and sea lions, sharks, sea turtles, birds, the list goes on – in the lurch. Who will pay for their care? Who will look after them? Even if some other corporation buys out SeaWorld, will it see captive marine wildlife in the parks' future? Or will it simply put these animals up for sale to the highest bidder, who could be anywhere, even as far away as China?