Animal Care Angst

Animal Care Angst. Jim Horton Explains.

AC HortonNursing

Over the past month I’ve been digging into the lives of former SeaWorld Animal Care workers, and publishing their stories (here, here, and here). Many of their experiences seem shocking to people unfamiliar with animal care work, and how difficult it can be. And it is easy to see how the stories can fuel an anti-SeaWorld sentiment.

Jim Horton, one of the three former Animal Care workers I…

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A (Not Atypical) Moment In The Life Of A Cyclist

When I started cycling a lot about seven years ago, the relationship between drivers and cyclists seemed in flux.

UK’s Guardian Looks At The Future Of Marine Parks

UK’s Guardian Takes A Good Look At The Future Of Marine Parks

Seems like everyone is trying to peer into SeaWorld’s future these days (and they should be!). But Will Coldwell of the Guardian does a really nice job of picking up all the trends in play right now:

While SeaWorld continues to dig its heels in – pointing out that tens of thousands of visitors are in its parks right now – others are responding more progressively. In 2012 the National Aquarium in…

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NPR Takes A Look At SeaWorld’s Post-Blackfish Troubles

#SeaWorld’s Chris Dold defends SW staff agst #Blackfish. Problem is not the staff (mostly), it’s the business.

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Greg Allen, NPR’s Miami reporter got in touch earlier this week while reporting a story on SeaWorld’s efforts to rebound from its post-Blackfish malaise. Here’s the story Allen aired on All Things Considered this evening.

It’s interesting to note that SeaWorld seems to have decided that its head vet, Chris Dold, is SeaWorld’s most effective spokesperson (when I did my Shamu Stadium tour, in…

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Animal Care Chronicles Wrap-Up

Animal Care Chronicles Wrap-Up: And Irate Dolphin named Ralph, And the Traumatic Death Of A Sea Lion Called Eric.

King Ralph

The final installment of my conversations with former Animal Care workers Jim Horton, Cynthia Payne, and Krissy Dodge is now up on The Dodo. (Previous conversations are here and here).

In this round, Jim and Cynthia talk about what it was like to try and dive the dolphin feeding pools to keep them clear of objects that either fell in or were thrown in by guests. And Jim explains the…

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More Animal Care Chronicles: Into The Dolphin Feeding Pools

Krissy Dodge feeding the dolphins at SeaWorld San Antonio.

Over the past year I’ve had some fascinating and revealing conversations with three dedicated former SeaWorld Animal Care workers: Jim Horton, Cynthia Payne and Krissy Dodge. Their experiences have given me a much deeper understanding of the lives of the animals at marine parks (and the lives of the employees!), and last month I published…

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Zoos Couldn’t Save The Passenger Pigeon

There are lots of interesting lessons (most of them cautionary) in the extinction of the passenger pigeon 100 years ago, and most of them are raised in Carl Zimmer’s excellent story about why it happened and what scientists are doing to try and bring the species back (did you know social media played a role in wiping the passenger pigeon out?).

But here’s a point that really caught my attention:

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Quote Of The Day: Pope Francis on humanity and the environment.

“I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?’”

Quote Of The Day: Pope Francis on humanity and the environment.

“I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?’”

Sylvia Earle Does Not Eat Fish. Here’s Why.

And here she explains why: Except for those living in coastal communities — or even inland if we’re talking freshwater species — for most people, eating fish is a choice, not a necessity.

Documentary Watchlist: Cows, Pipelines and Dams

One of the interesting insights I came to through my involvement in Blackfish, is that in the age of infotainment and cable-news superficiality, documentaries are filling an increasingly important niche. They are increasingly the best format to learn about almost any subject you choose. Not only are documentaries proliferating as film-making technology becomes more affordable and sophisticated,…

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Kahana And Kenau: Two Orca Deaths Deconstructed

Kahana Rising

The analysis of how and why orcas die in captivity provides interesting and often surprising insights into how they lived. So orca necropsies (which are the equivalent of human autopsies) can make for interesting reading. However, you need a specialist to interpret their meaning. So when I saw that the FOIA document dump from NMFS that Russ Rector securedcontained two full orca…

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Threat Assessment Gone (Very, Very) Wrong

So, we are filling our oceans with plastic:

I have just returned with a team of scientists from six weeks at sea conducting research in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — one of five major garbage patches drifting in the oceans north and south of the Equator at the latitude of our great terrestrial deserts. Although it was my 10th voyage to the area, I was utterly shocked to see the enormous…

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