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An Open Letter to Scott Ross

by Jenna Deedy 8 months ago in feature · updated 7 months ago
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Considering SeaWorld’s potential takeover of Cedar Fair, here’s an open letter to SeaWorld’s Scott Ross.

Meeting Luna the beluga at SeaWorld San Antonio in 2009.

To Scott Ross,

My name is Jenna Costa Deedy and I am a SeaWorld-Busch Gardens Adventure Camp Alumni from 2006 until 2010. As a camper at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and at the SeaWorld Parks in Orlando and San Antonio, I got to learn about and work with a variety of animals from terrestrial birds and mammals such as parrots, giraffes, gorillas, and rhinos to several species of marine animals such as sharks, stingrays, dolphins, penguins, and orcas. In addition, I was lucky enough to work alongside various zoo and aquarium professionals who served as my mentors through college.

Today, I currently write about marine wildlife, zoos and aquariums, and on various zoo professionals. I also volunteer as a marine educator at the New England Aquarium.

Ever since you took over the SeaWorld parks in 2015, you, along with Joel Manby, have done more harm to SeaWorld’s animal communities than good. For example, when you and Manby teamed up with the Humane Society of the United States, not only did you two decide to “ban” the breeding of orcas, social marine mammals whose lives are centered on calf rearing, but you also influenced the state of California to ban all facilities in its state to do the same thing.

Rather than listening to people who have been caring for these animals for their entire lives, you caved into a group of extremists who have little-to-no animal care experience with marine mammals in a zoological facility. This includes the disgruntled ex-trainers who got themselves “famous” thanks to a “documentary” whose claims have long since been disputed by the same park you now serve.

If caving into the demands of extremists and their porn star allies wasn’t enough, you got lazy over SeaWorld’s animal care program in favor of building roller coasters and other rides that have nothing to do with animals. Seriously, SeaWorld is a marine mammals facility, not a park dedicated to bizarre roller coasters. As a result, some of the animal habitats are at a point where they need long-term renovations that would help improve the welfare of the animals that call the park home. These improvements go far beyond pool expanding but modernizing the habitats that are already there.

Instead of investing in animal habitats, you choose to make an attempt at buying out Cedar Fair for $3.4 billion so you can now turn SeaWorld into a Six Flags competitor? What the heck, Scott? Do you want to know what that money could be better spent on?

  • Improving existing animal habitats
  • Increasing wages for all staff, including those in the zoological departments.
  • Expanding and improving existing wildlife rehabilitation facilities.
  • Improving all animal programs, including all programs that involve orcas and other marine mammals (this includes keeping breeding programs intact).

While I have no issue with adding a SeaWorld park in Abu Dhabi, if you’re insisting on it not having orcas, please make it more of a working animal hospital and less of an indoor theme park. There are several wildlife issues in both the Red Sea and in the Mediterranean Sea that need to be addressed and there aren’t that many facilities for sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals can go to if they were to become sick, injured, or orphaned out in the wild.

There are several wildlife issues in both the Red Sea and in the Mediterranean Sea that need to be addressed and there aren’t that many facilities for sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals can go to if they were to become sick, injured, or orphaned out in the wild. By making the indoor SeaWorld facility in Dubai a working animal hospital where animals can go for rehabilitation and using whatever habitats as a permanent home for the “non-releasable” residents to live out their lives, you would be during great service not only for the wildlife found in those regions but also for the zoological community in North Africa, Southern Europe, and Southwestern Asia.

There should be no rides allowed at this particular location.

The reason I write this open letter is that I love SeaWorld for all it does for animals and their habitats but please for Pete’s sake, can you use your role as a major stockholder to focus more on improving the animal care programs at the park and not on building roller coaster after roller coaster to please a few animal rights extremists? Remember, SeaWorld has and will always be about animals, not extreme theme park rides.

Yours Truly,

~Jenna C. Deedy~

Correction: I accidentally wrote in the caption of my photo with Luna that it was dated back to 2009 when it was actually taken in 2008. Sorry for this error.

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About the author

Jenna Deedy

Zoo and Aquarium Professional, Educator, Cosplayer, Writer and B.A. in Psychology whose got a lot to share when it comes to animals, zoos, aquariums, conservation, and more.

Instagram: @jennacostadeedy

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