SeaWorld parks will feature their first new whale show in five years this spring and trainers are eager to return to the waters with Orca whales for the first time since the tragic drowning death of trainer Dawn Brancheau one year ago.
Since the incident, trainers have remained out of the water and on elevated platforms during all Orca performances.
With the emergence of the new show, however, trainers and SeaWorld officials are anticipating an eventual return to the water.
Officials stress that there is no timetable for a return to the water and they aren’t guaranteeing that it will happen at all.
Chuck Tompkins, curator of zoological operations for the SeaWorld stressed that the process would be very gradual, saying “We’re going to make sure every whale goes through a very basic program of understanding what to do. It’s going back and learning fundamentals again.”
SeaWorld has taken many safety precautions since the drowning, spending tens of millions of dollars on upgraded safety equipment, including rapid-rising pool floors that can lift whales and trainers from the water in seconds and portable oxygen bottles that trainers can easily carry with them.
Source: Washington Post