Why we chose Sea World Australia...
Since announcing the location of our 2020 TCS Conference at Sea World Resort in Queensland, we have received so much positivity and excitement which makes our little hearts happy.
We really wanted to be able to share some of the background as to why we chose Sea World Resort as our location. For many people who grew up on the beaches of Queensland where Sea World rescue boats were (and are) a part of our daily life, the choice to hold a conference here is obvious. But we know that there are so many people coming from all across Australia and New Zealand who may be visiting for the first time, so we really wanted to share what we love about Sea World, our 2020 Conference location.
(Images are thanks to https://seaworld.com.au/conservation/our-mission)
Sea World Rescue
Here in Queensland, Sea World is a huge part of the health and wellness of our coastal wildlife and marine environment. Sea World has been responsible for the rescue and release of thousands of wildlife marine animals off the coast of Australia. We can call a direct line at any time of day or night to notify Sea World Rescue of an animal that has been hurt or endangered. Sea World will respond by dispatching a rescue boat immediately at no expense to the public (here’s a recent video of a Sea World rescue boat freeing a humpback whale from a shark net off the coast: https://www.foxnews.com/science/humpback-whale-shark-net-australia-video)
Sarah and I have been lucky enough to witness these rescues regularly. Sea World does not do this for the accolades – in fact, we couldn’t find a whole lot of evidence on the internet of their rescues at all. They haven’t even updated their rescue website since mid-last year (if you do want to see that website, you can find it here). We do, however, see it with our own eyes all the time. Sea World would be completely unable to finance this service without patronage to their theme park and resort. Contributions towards Sea World Rescue are then used to provide education and awareness to the public.
Sea World Research
To date, Sea World Australia has funded and/or been involved with over 180 research projects to help the welfare and future of marine life, including projects to fight marine pollution, provide appropriate tackle disposal units, and assist the conservation and protection of birds, dolphins, dugongs, fish, rays, sea snakes, seals & sea lions, sharks, turtles, and whales.
Historically, Sea World’s major attraction has been dolphins (of which the performances are focused around a discussion of conservation awareness and protection), however they are now putting steps in place to shift demand from this attraction to other attractions such as a Jellyfish Centre which houses an entire laboratory for Griffith University Jellyfish conservation research.
Sea World Animal Welfare
Though Sea World is a privately owned company, the decision for any animal to be kept at Sea World Australia is made by the Australian Government and is made in the best interest of the animal.
However, we do understand that, particularly for those who aren’t as familiar with Sea World, the concern for animal welfare under human care can definitely be a priority. We love that we have such an amazing community of people who really care so much about kindness to all living things and people.
We both agree that captivity is obviously not the most optimal outcome for previously wild dolphins, but we also have a deep understanding of how Sea World actually operates behind the scenes, when and why they have to keep a dolphin rather than release it, and the logistics behind, training for, frequency of, and incredibly strict restrictions of performances & patron interaction with their dolphins. We weren't even allowed to go near them when we asked to film next to them for the release video, hence the shot of them jumping separately to us. We had to film it in the crowd during a presentation because they are only allowed to be given commands a certain number of times in a week - whether they follow them or not is up to the dolphin.
Sea World vs. SeaWorld
It is very important to note that Sea World Australia is a completely separate company in no way related to SeaWorld (one word) in the United States, who have rightly come under fire for their practices and whose reputation is depicted through the recent documentary “Blackfish”. Sea World Australia is governed and regulated by several State and Federal Government agencies, as well as maintaining zoological accreditation under the Zoo and Aquarium Association. When looking at information online regarding Sea World, we would encourage you to ensure that you are not misguided by information regarding SeaWorld in the United States.
Additionally, Sea World Australia has joined international efforts to stand publicly against Taiji practices. We would strongly urge anyone concerned about the welfare of dolphins to educate themselves regarding Taiji and join this hugely important cause to stand against the cruel practices of dolphin hunting.
For us, the evidence has given a clear choice to support the message that Sea World Australia is trying to spread and their continued efforts to shift their income avenues in order to maintain the ability to finance their rescue work. We would encourage everyone to see for themselves the positive impact that Sea World is making to our coastline and its inhabitants, and we are so excited that we get to share the experience with you.
If you want to know more or want to share any information with us, please feel free to get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.