"It's safe to say that animals out here swimming probably spend close to 85 to 90 percent of time below the surface of water," Ventre said. "Those ones [at marine parks] are just exposed, baking in the sun all day."
3. The water isn't deep enough.
Wild orcas usually dive to depths of 328 feet, and can go as deep as 850, by SeaWorld's own calculations. Diving helps them get out of the sun, and shades their skin from UV rays. But SeaWorld's tanks are far shallower than orcas need them to be -- the deepest tank is 40 feet deep -- not even twice as deep as Tilikum, one of the park's most famous whales, is long.
4. They aren't afforded enough shade.
Captive orcas at SeaWorld parks get little -- if any -- respite from the heat. There is no shade structure in any of the five pools at their San Diego location, and only a limited shade structure in two of the four pools at the San Antonio park. This photo, provided by former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove, who also applied sunscreen to orcas, shows the lack of shade in startling clarity.