Sea World has hit back at TripAdvisor over the travel platform’s decision to stop selling tickets to the Gold Coast theme park.
The online booking company caved to pressure from animal rights activists, announcing overnight that they will “no longer sell tickets to, or generate revenue from, any attraction that continues to contribute to the captivity of future generations of whales, dolphins and porpoises”.
“As a result, any commercial facility that either breeds or imports cetaceans for public display will be banned from sale on TripAdvisor and Viator,” the company said in a statement.
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Sea World says the decision is extremely disappointing, considering the theme park’s “long-term and ongoing commitment to assisting marine animals.”
“Sea World contributes millions of dollars to research and rescue each year and is not constricted by a budget, when an animal is in need, we do everything we can to assist,” Sea World said in a statement to myGC.
“Throughout our history, we have conducted rescue operations on animals in need all over Australia, and while the goal with every rescue is to rehabilitate and release, this is not always the case and Sea World is a sanctuary for rescued animals.
“As part of these operations, we have and will continue to invest heavily in designing specialist rescue equipment, internal and external training and the purchase of state-of-the-art veterinary equipment.”
However, TripAdvisor says they decided to ban the sale of tickets following an extensive consultation process with a range of experts.
“The extensive evidence presented to us by the experts was compelling, President of TripAdvisor Experiences and Rentals Dermot Halpin said.
“Whales and dolphins do not thrive in limited captive environments, and we hope to see a future where they live as they should – free and in the wild.”
Full statement from Sea World:
Sea World has a long-term and ongoing commitment to assisting marine animals. This means undertaking hundreds of marine rescues a year – not just dolphins but also sea birds, dugongs, turtles, whales and sharks – for no benefit except animal welfare. Sea World contributes millions of dollars to research and rescue each year and is not constricted by a budget, when an animal is in need, we do everything we can to assist.
In the past five years, Sea World have assisted in over 600 rescues of marine animals. Throughout our history, we have conducted rescue operations on animals in need all over Australia and have even ventured to Vanuatu to rescue a pod of dolphins. While the goal with every rescue is to rehabilitate and release, this is not always the case and Sea World is a sanctuary for rescued animals. As part of these operations, we have and will continue to invest heavily in designing specialist rescue equipment, internal and external training and the purchase of state-of-the-art veterinary equipment.
Sea World is one of the only operators in Australia that has the facilities, expertise and resources to undertake marine rescues and rehabilitation. Sea World has a dedicated Animal Care team, consisting of Veterinarians, Veterinary technicians and Science graduates, who have more than 500 years of accumulated marine animal care experience. This team is on call 24 hours every day, 365 days per year should a marine animal need rescuing. All the animals at Sea World are cared for in a professional and respectful manner with their health and wellbeing the highest priority.
The not-for-profit Sea World Research & Rescue Foundation seeks to encourage and assist marine sciences and to date has supported over 200 research projects relating to aspects of the biology of marine vertebrates selected by our Scientific Advisory Committee. Every time Sea World is involved in a rescue, a contribution is made to public awareness and scientific knowledge. This program also helps Australian scientists with their research into marine life. Sea World also works closely with Queensland Universities and conducts in-kind support to dozens of research trips every year, including an annual Dugong and Dolphin survey in Moreton Bay.
Sea World understands the importance of education in building a community that are passionate about and dedicated to helping the environment. Over 10,000 students participate in educational programs at Sea World each year. In addition to this, our social media channels facilitate engagement with over 200,000 people around the world. Every week we share information about marine animals, research funded by the Sea World Research & Rescue Foundation, rescues and what we are doing to be part of creating a better future for marine life.