MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) – Mention the aquarium and whales and an opinion is often not far behind.
“If the tanks are to their liking than it’s not a problem,” said Masashi Azuma of Simsbury.
Whales are fun to watch and for more than half a century its the killer whales, also known as orcas, that have been synonymous with a company called SeaWorld. But that may soon be changing as Thursday officials with SeaWorld posted a message on their website informing fans that the killer wales currently in their care will be the last generation of the animals to live at their water parks as SeaWorld is ending their breeding program.
“I can’t speak to whether they made the right or wrong decision as their decision was made for their business purposes,” said Andy Wood, a spokesperson for Mystic Aquarium.
You won’t find any killer whales at Mystic Aquarium, however, Wood says their spot is home to three beluga whales. Wood also tells News 8 their organization has no plans to stop being the place where people can come and see whales.
“Our business model is to focus on what we provide everyday,” said Wood.
SeaWorld has been a center of controversy in recent years, most notably after the documentary “Blackfish” was released, which raised questions over how they treated their killer whales. Wood thinks what differentiates Mystic Aquarium from SeaWorld the most is that their mission is primarily based on scientific research.
“Our scientists are actually studying belugas in their natural environment,” said Wood. “They receive exceptional veterinary care everyday.”
In a letter sent to the Los Angeles Times about the change, SeaWorld’s CEO said the company is partnering with the Humane Society of the United States. He says one of the things they’ll be doing with them is raising awareness about animal welfare.