Reports and interviews created during an investigation of SeaWorld’s Orca Training program by the federal department OSHA provides what might be the most in depth look at what dangers trainers face yet. The Orlando Sentinel has some of the details, but summarized it says that while the dangers are ever present, incidents are extremely rare.
I’m in the camp that believes that zoo’s and facilities like SeaWorld are playing an important role in conservation of our world’s shrinking resources. The Killer Whale training program is an important part of that program. I never want to see it go, until we no longer need to practice conservation, but instead have incorporated totally it into our daily lives. Looking at the nature of humans, I don’t ever see that happening.
I want to continue to celebrate the efforts by everyone who follows the AZA guidelines (and SeaWorld and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are two leaders in that program) and practices conservation awareness. If that requires the close interaction of a few brave trainers with animals they know are both playful and dangerous, then we should celebrate them too.