Adventure Student Travel—a company that helps to coordinate trips for students—continues to bill SeaWorld and the Miami Seaquarium as great places for students, Girl Scouts, and other groups to visit, despite learning that orcas and other dolphins at these parks are confined to barren concrete tanks and deprived of everything that's natural and important to them.
Like many humans, orcas love a real adventure. In the open ocean, they travel up to 140 miles a day in close-knit family groups, exploring together and sharing food. However, at marine abusement parks, life is anything but an adventure. More than 40 orcas have died at SeaWorld, and 20 are still suffering there, swimming in endless circles and breaking their teeth by gnawing in frustration on the concrete corners and metal bars of their cramped tanks. Other dolphins are being impregnated, sometimes forcibly after being drugged. At the Miami Seaquarium, the park's lone orca, Lolita, is suffering in the smallest orca tank in the world. She spends her life languishing in chemically treated water, without the companionship of any other member of her species. Her former orca tankmate, Hugo, died in 1980 after repeatedly ramming his head into the side of the tank.
Educational institutions such as California State University–Long Beach—along with Baylor University's alumni group and dozens of businesses—have cut ties with SeaWorld and other marine parks that keep orcas in captivity. Virgin Holidays recently ended sales to all parks that keep whales or dolphins captive, and British Airways stopped bookings to any facility with captive wild animals. Elementary schools have also canceled trips to places such as SeaWorld after learning about their inherent cruelty. Please tell Adventure Student Travel that there's nothing to be learned from watching frustrated animals being forced to perform pointless tricks and swim laps in cramped concrete tanks—then, forward this alert to everyone you know!