Oceanariums: Beneficial to the animals and the public

Essay by ChesnysGrlCollege, Undergraduate April 2004

download word file, 7 pages 3.3

Tuesday April 23, 1996 at approximately 8 a.m. Florida's Homosassa Springs Park was the sight of a joyous event. Sweet Pea, a wayward manatee rescued more than 900 miles from her home, was ready to be introduced to the wild. The 1,450 pound manatee was spotted near a municipal wastewater treatment plant in the Houston Ship Channel in Texas. She was rescued and rushed to Sea World of Texas for monitoring, tests, and round-the-clock care. After gaining more than 200 pounds, animal care experts at Sea World believed it was time for Sweet Pea to take another step closer to her eventual reintroduction. This manatee's story from Siren's Song (Sea World Education) ended in triumph but it also underscores the dedication of people who fight to save these endangered animals. Without successful rehabilitation programs such as the one above hosted by an oceanarium like Sea World, Sweet Pea and many other manatee's would die.

Oceanariums are moral and beneficial because they directly educate the public about conservation ecology, they provide suit habitats and environmental enrichment for all of their fish and mammals, and they perform research studies on social behavior and population that allow for new methods of treatment and understanding of marine life in the wild.

Undoubtedly, oceanariums remove marine mammals and fish from the wild and place them in captivity. It has been thought that "In captive killer whales, it [captivity] is the probable cause of dorsal fin collapse, as without the support of water, gravity pulls these tall appendages over as the whale matures. Collapsed fins are experienced by all captive male orcas and many captive female orcas, who were either captured as juveniles or who were born in captivity" ("Marine Mammals"). Critics have gone so far as to say that marine mammals are held in captivity...