My Holiday Message to Aquarium Magnates Everywhere
Save Your Business & Save the Whales!
The recent firing of SeaWorld Busch Gardens CEO got me thinking. Hopefully, they won't be replacing him with another like-minded individual, who wants to push harder to make the same mistakes. They really need someone with the creativity to incite a new, innovative business model - not just for SeaWorld, but the animal entertainment industry as a whole.
Similar to Kodak, who had a monopoly on the camera and film industry, but chose to milk their safe business model instead of venturing into uncertain waters. They eventually succumbed to the incredible competition of other companies who chose to invest in the digital future. Ironically, and sadly, Kodak was the original developer of the same digital technology.
These aquarium magnates are doing the same thing. Thinking only of making a quick dollar, they are missing a huge opportunity to invest in their futures and completely turn the industry around.
The Miami Seaquarium has a whale that's drawing more bad press than good. Lolita has been in captivity for so many years that it's unrealistic to think that she could be released at this point, but her quality of life has to be improved.
The National Aquarium in Baltimore has hinted at the construction of a sea sanctuary; whether they're serious about doing it or not, is uncertain.
The Vancouver Aquarium is receiving tons of bad press because, on the one hand they claim to be world leaders in Beluga and cetacean research, yet on the other they are buying council votes to allow them to continue their in-house Beluga breeding program. However, they have received millions of dollars toward an expansion, and a sea sanctuary is not such a far removed idea, with the right motivation.
It seems that there is an opportunity here for these floundering businesses to put some sparkle back in their tarnished reputations, rebuild their companies, and actually help the mammals that they're exploiting.
The First Step
Vancouver, Baltimore, Monterey, or any aquarium that cares, steps up and constructs a proper retirement habitat for whales and dolphins who can't be released into the wild. They actually become industry leaders and set an example for other aquariums to follow.
Now, those same hordes of protesters who were picketing at their gates may actually pay just to sit and watch the whales enjoying the rest of their lives in peaceful surroundings. I know this writer would be first in line.
Miami Gives Up Lolita
Then, the Miami Seaquarium steps up to the plate and unselfishly donates Lolita to the aquarium with the new sea sanctuary. Maybe they get a percentage of the admissions, but it doesn't matter how they actually get paid. The public sees them making an effort to redeem themselves. What happens to the Miami aquarium afterwards? They'd probably make more profit turning it into a water park with slides and spray guns.
Bottom line - it's a win, win for everyone. Whales are happier, SeaWorld type parks are no longer perceived as the devil, and we start a new trend for animal conservation/education entertainment.
So, to all you aquarium magnates, think outside your greedy little boxes and spread a little Christmas cheer. After all, this is the season for giving.
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