Margaret Thompson
Dr. Trogan


In the article “SeaWorld’s troubles increase as the public learns about plight of orcas”
Carl Hiaasen talks about how the documentary Blackfish is destroying the attendance at
SeaWorld parks around the country. He talks about the main character in the film: Tilikum, the
six-ton orca whale who is the largest in captivity and who is responsible for three deaths.
Hiaasen reports after the 3rd death by Tilikum. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
ruled that SeaWorld puts its trainers in danger and must install barriers in between the whale and
the trainers. He tells how Tilikum is a depressed, basket case that is unpredictable and can strike
at any moment. Carl Hiaasen makes a compelling argument about the documentary Blackfish,
and how it’s ruining SeaWorld’s business. But, he falls short of compassion for the main
character, Tilikum, the killer whale trapped inside a giant pool for the rest of his life.

Carl Hiaasen first puts a giant blame on the whale Tilikum, who is just a wild animal who
was put in a pool the size of a bathtub for an orca whale. Tilikum was taken from his pod when
he was just a baby, and now Hiaasen says he has depression and anxiety after killing three
trainers. Tilikum is a wild animal, and after about 33 years of being fed buckets of fish he never


learned how to fend for himself so he cannot be released back into the wild. In my opinion
Hiaasen did a great job when referring to SeaWorld’s crazy remarks on the orcas “how they like
to do stunts every day”, maybe someone could take that too literally and might go jump onto a
killer whale in the wild. Hey, they like when people jump on their nose, right?

Hiaasen states that SeaWorld attendance has been decreasing for the first half of the year.
He also states that since the attendance has been decreasing, it’s time for SeaWorld to stop
treating orcas like poodles and come up with a new act”. In my opinion SeaWorld has been open
for decades and now when a documentary comes out people open their eyes and think, has this
just starting happening? If blackfish was never created would this be such a big deal? Tilikum
has killed three people in the last twenty-five years, and why has there not been such a giant
outcry for freedom, until now? Hiaasen tells the story of the whales being captured and now
having to do tricks the rest of their lives. The attendance has dropped partly because of Blackfish
but also because the trainers can’t go into the water, so all you see is a giant orca come up and
splash a few times. It’s not very satisfying for almost a hundred dollars a ticket. The attendance,
has also probably dropped because it’s the same act since they have first opened. All the other
theme parks move and recreate rides almost every three years. It gets boring after about 30 years.

Hiaasen finally talks about SeaWorld’s arch nemesis OSHA. OSHA is the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration, and they are the ones who said after the 3rd killing; there
should be no more trainers in the water with the orcas. I agree with OSHA's argument but what I
don’t agree on, is that why did it take this long to put this act in place. Three innocent people had
to give up their lives for this? OSHA should have moved faster after the first or second killing.


Hiaasen states that OSHA can set stricter rules, what is more of a stricter rule than not being in
the tank with the orcas? Hiaasen reports that California is debating on whether or not to even
keep the orcas in captivity. Where are they going to go, they cannot go back into the wild and
releasing them to another park is just as bad as keeping them in the san Diego park.

Finally, Carl Hiaasen wrote a very compelling article on SeaWorld and the documentary
blackfish. After reading all the facts, Hiaasen, should determine whether he is on the animal or
the human corporation side. He is a very detailed writer but has some confusing points on both
sides. This article tells the sad story of a poor lonely killer whale in captivity that has killed three
trainers. He shows how the documentary Blackfish is ruining the attendance at SeaWorld and
how everybody should see for themselves what is going on behind the scenes at SeaWorld.


Works Cited

Hiaasen, Carl. “SeaWorld’s Troubles Increase as Public Learns about Plight of Orcas.
Miami Herald. 16 Aug. 2014. Web.21 Oct. 2014.