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Sea World has ‘nothing to hide’ in its dolphin care
Stung by criticism of Sea World’s dolphin care and recent decisions by TripAdvisor and some major tour operators to include it in a ticket sale ban for attractions that feature whales and dolphins, Village Roadshow Theme Parks Chief Operating Officer, Bikash Randhawa has hit back at critics of the Gold Coast theme and marine park.
In a weekend interview with 7NEWS Gold Coast, Randhawa indicated that Sea World’s inclusion in the ban had been influenced by marine animal welfare groups, singling out NSW-based World Animal Protection for publishing information that is “malicious” and “deceitful”.
Sea World on the Gold Coast, which is widely regarded for its best practice in the care of its animals within the zoo and aquarium sector, is often confused with US-based SeaWorld Entertainment, the focus of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which told the story of a captive killer whale.
Despite the similarities in their brand names, the Gold Coast attraction has no links with the US company.
After several protests at Sea World over recent years by activists, World Animal Protection appears to have recently targeted Sea World over its animal protection, linking Sea World’s care to poor examples at overseas attractions.
Incensed by this, Randhawa went in front of the 7News cameras, suggesting World Animal Protection was displaying a “pattern of behaviour that is consistent with cyber-bullying, that is malicious … and is deceitful, making connections between a legitimate and accredited facility like ours … with others.
“They are fundraising through deceit … and this cannot go on anymore.”
In billboard advertisements and online posts, World Animal Protection has shown images of dolphins in small barren tanks, suggesting they are from Sea World.
In response, Randhawa stated “they make claims that our dolphins are suffering and are in barren concrete tanks … with no enrichment (and) this is not the case.”
“Sea World Gold Coast … does not have a back of house area, everything we do is in front of the public domain … we have nothing to hide.”
Randhawa also highlighted Sea World's extensive marine conservation and education work, citing its 40 years of experience in caring for its animals.
He also advised that the bans were not affecting visitation, adding “we are seeing good attendance coming through our parks (and) we have so much support.”
Village Roadshow Theme Parks has written to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission calling for the “corporate watchdog to prosecute an animal activist group for misleading the public by running ads saying the Gold Coast marine park doesn’t properly care for dolphins.”
It apparently also wants the organisation’s charity status stripped, because it claims it was “using lies to collect donations from unsuspecting consumers.”
Global advertising display firm JCDecaux has decided to remove World Animal Protection’s anti-Sea World billboards for “misleading’’ behaviour.
In response, World Animal Protection Head of Campaigns (Australia), Ben Pearson told the Gold Coast Bulletin “dolphins are intelligent wild animals. They belong in the wild, not captive in small, barren tanks.
“We want Sea World to stop breeding more dolphins for tourist entertainment.”
Sea World is currently home to 27 dolphins born over three generations.
Images: Bikash Randhawa (top), Sea World's dolphins (middle) and an animal rights protest at Sea World's Dolphin Cove in 2018 (below). Video shows Randhawa's 7NEWS Gold Coast interview.
7th October 2019 - Sea World hits back at TripAdvisor ticket promotion ban
11th September 2019 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks reveal schedule for opening of new Sea World attractions
30th August 2019 - Qantas to end promotion of attractions featuring captive cetaceans
28th August 2019 - Sea World team releases pair of rehabilitated green turtles
21st May 2019 - Sea World Cruises launch new whale watching vessel
28th April 2019 - Sea World polar bear cub celebrates second birthday
6th March 2019 - Sea World Cruises launched to enhance theme park visitor experience
14th February 2019 - Sea World’s oldest dolphin dies aged 55
15th December 2018 - Animal activists disrupt Sea World dolphin and seal shows
14th December 2018 - Sea World launches new attraction for peak summer season
3rd November 2018 - Sea World Resort retains status as ‘Best Australian Family Resort’
9th September 2017 - Polar Bear Cub Mishka makes her public debut at Sea World
23rd December 2016 - Sea World welcomes Baby Dolphin
6th December 2016 - Sea World Rescue Team rehabilitates injured dolphin
22nd April 2016 - Sea World to mark World Penguin Day
9th February 2010 - New Executive Assistant Manager for Sea World Resort
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