SeaWorld is facing another nail in their coffin this week with a double-whammy of bad news. First was the revalation that orcas can live for over 100 years in the wild, compared to 20 years in captivity, and then New Zealand artist Lee Harrison and Indiana-based researcher James Wolf have released an info graphic that reveals the horrific history of SeaWorld’s captive whales.
The infographic “Who is Shamu?” has been picked up on social media and has helped to bolster the efforts of campaigners that are fighting to end SeaWorld’s use of orcas as entertainment.
Harrison and Wolf said that they “wanted to create a history of captive cetaceans that was neither complicated nor difficult for the layperson to follow”. Wolf said that both of them believed that “a simple visual medium would draw people in and keep them interested.” More importantly, he said, such pieces would educate the public while allowing them “to explore the issue for themselves.”
Interestingly, Harrison almost became a SeaWorld trainer in 2007 until he visited the park and was concerned at the treatment of the animals.
Speaking to Dodo.com, Harrison said, “Taima died days before I arrived in Orlando, and on my first day there, I shot this video of Kalina being attacked by Kayla,” Harrison ended up giving the footage to Tim Zimmermann, who wrote the article for Outside magazine that went on to inspire the documentary “Blackfish.”
When Kalina died just several months after Harrison had seen her, Harrison said it “completed my transition from supporting SeaWorld, to wanting to do something to stop it.”
“Who is Shamu?” was created “from the desire to show people that many, many orcas have died under the name Shamu and been forgotten,” Harrison explained. Wolf added that the Shamu series sums up, “the history and nature of the marine park business so well. It’s like a journey down the rabbit hole,” he said, “there is always more, and it is always worse.”
Via The Dodo