This incredibly monumental decision is being made purely for the well being of the dolphins. Tom Robinson, chair of the National Aquarium’s board states, "As we look at the future of the dolphins in our care, we are working very hard to provide them the best possible place to live out their years.” Unfortunately, not everyone is on board with this new method of caring for captive cetaceans. Eyes and ears turned to Seaworld when the National Aquarium announced that this sanctuary was in the works since Seaworld holds such an infamously large quantity of captive whales and dolphins in less than ideal conditions. Seaworld has officially announced that their orcas will not be released to the sanctuary for reasons that most people find to be very poor excuses.
While Seaworld has made some positive change recently by coming to the decision that they will no longer breed orcas (Which means the orcas currently in captivity there are likely to be the last) they are apparently only willing to change but so much. When outraged activists criticized Seaworld’s decision not to release their orcas into the sanctuary, they responded, "Critics want us to go further; they believe we should simply 'set free' the whales and release them into the ocean… We believe that would likely be a death sentence for our whales." They argue that they would be “sitting ducks” waiting for things like diseases, parasites, and oil spills.
As frustrating as it is that Seaworld is not going to take advantage of this incredible opportunity the National Aquarium is creating, we must keep in mind what inspirational steps forward have been taken. The orcas currently residing in Seaworld will likely be the last to inhabit this sheltered environment. There is also a great deal of hope that other aquariums around the country will perhaps release their cetaceans to the sanctuary, which the National Aquarium plans to have up and running by 2020. There is also always the hope that when it has been demonstrated to Seaworld that the sanctuary is, in fact, a safe environment they will release their orcas to the sanctuary as well. Baltimore’s National aquarium has undoubtedly opened many doors to the well being and happiness of countless cetaceans around the country.