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“We surf it. We explore it. We live it.” That’s the opening line of SeaWorld’s new From Park to Planet advertisement. The “it” that the company is referring to is our oceans, yet the dolphins imprisoned at its abusement parks don’t get to surf the ocean’s waves. The orcas held captive there don’t get to explore the vast ocean. And the sharks SeaWorld forces to exist in tiny tanks certainly don’t live in the same reality as their wild brethren. The ad shows a world that animals at marine parks will never know unless they’re moved to sea sanctuaries.

As for the company’s conservation efforts, since 2010, SeaWorld has spent only about 3 percent of its profits on conservation, and whatever efforts it has made to help animals have been far outweighed by the staggering number of deaths at its theme parks. More than 40 orcasdozens of beluga whales, hundreds of other dolphins and whales, and countless smaller animals have died, many of them prematurely.

SeaWorld also claims that the measly 3 percent that it donates to other organizations is for conservation work. But what it doesn’t tell you is that this money often goes toward research that’s geared toward animals in captivity—apparently, it can’t tell the difference between contributing to ocean conservation efforts and contributing to its own bottom line. So while the company’s execs pat themselves on their backs for helping “to save our planet,” the animals trapped at its theme parks continue to suffer and die in captivity.

If SeaWorld truly wants to contribute to ocean conservation, it should rescue the animals held captive in its own parks from the suffering that they endure there every day. In August, we released disturbing photos of Makani, the 4-year-old orca who was orphaned when his mother, Kasatka, died at SeaWorld San Diego. The photos show that his body is covered with deep rake marks, injuries caused by other orcas’ teeth. Shortly after that, a study published in Archives of Oral Biology revealed that orcas held captive at these parks had significant damage to their teeth. The painful damage included drilled holes and extreme wear from chewing on tank walls and gates, none of which affects wild orcas.

Thankfully, this deceitful campaign doesn’t seem to be fooling many. Even experts are wary—theme park analyst Bob Boyd told The San Diego Union-Tribune, “I think people will take a skeptical eye if it’s too over the top, and it’s right on the border in my view of not feeling as genuine,” adding that SeaWorld is “probably not going to save the planet.”

Speaking of not being genuine, former SeaWorld Vice President of Communications Fred Jacobs e-mailed another public relations staff member after Willie Nelson announced on CNN that he was canceling his scheduled performance at the park, and in that e-mail, which recently became public, he wrote, “This whole f***ing thing pisses me off. What relentless amateurism we’ve shown in booking these f***ing people and managing the whole f***ing chocolate mess. All of this could have easily been avoided.” He closed the message with the statement “God, we look like idiots.”

Other correspondence that has since been made public makes it clear that SeaWorld employees were told to try to rig an online poll about the company, proving once again that it can’t be trusted and that it certainly doesn’t care about saving the planet. This company cares about one thing—its profits—but recent layoffs, horrendous earnings reports, and record-low stock values prove that it can’t even save those.

True conservation is about helping animals in their own environment, not imprisoning them for entertainment. If SeaWorld cared about animals at all, it would devote its resources to building seaside sanctuaries rather than to multimillion-dollar public relations campaigns that try to distract the public from the abuse that its parks inflict on animals every day.

SeaWorld’s Conservation Efforts May Be Phony, but You Can Make an Actual Difference

This is your chance—tell SeaWorld to put its money where its mouth is. Click the button below to urge the company to establish a firm and rapid plan to release the orcas into sanctuaries where they’ll be given some semblance of the natural life that they’ve been denied for so long.

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