Reuters reports that aquariums and marine parks are on the rise in China, leading to an increase in the number of live cetacean shows.
It comes during a time of widespread opposition in the West to live cetacean shows.
Marine parks are opening monthly in China, with over 36 large-scale projects planned for the coming two years.
Haichang’s Shanghai Ocean World and Chimelong’s Ocean Kingdom are both preparing live orca shows for the first time in China. This may create a demand for orca shows across the region.
Reuters released a graphic on ocean parks in China, and report that Chinese audiences seem to be more accepting of cetaceans in captivity and performing in animal shows.
The documentary Blackfish (2013), accusing SeaWorld of mistreating its killer whales, severely damaged the company’s reputation. Last year, the company cut 350 jobs and invested in marketing to revive its flagging performance.
This week, SeaWorld was fined $5 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to disclose the negative impact “Blackfish” was having on its business.
SEA LIFE Trust beluga sanctuary
Merlin Entertainments has a policy against keeping cetaceans in captivity. In 2012 the company purchased Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, China, which included two beluga whales.
In response the SEA LIFE Trust is to build the world’s first open water sanctuary for beluga whales. Work is already underway on the ground-breaking marine welfare project in Iceland, and the plan is to transport the animals to Iceland in 2019.
The aim is to provide the whales with habitat more akin to their native environment. The bay extends to around 32,000 sqm and has a depth of up to 10m.
Merlin owns SEA LIFE which has partnered with Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) to create the SEA LIFE Trust.
Image courtesy of skeeze via Pixabay