For many families, it was a day of fun with the sea animals. But for some, it was a day to raise to awareness.
“Why are you guys here today?” KHON2 asked.
“Today we’re here at Sea Life Park to send a very clear message that we’re sick and tired of seeing dolphins enslaved for human entertainment,” said Deborah Bassett, crew member of The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
It’s all part of the campaign called, Empty the Tanks Worldwide. Their hope is to have all marine life released from captivity.
One of the activists we spoke to says he worked at Sea Life Park for 17 years.
“You mentioned when you were at Sea Life Park, you felt the animals were well taken care of. Has that changed?” KHON2 asked.
“Yes. It’s gone downhill. There’s no improvements on the facilities. The animals are bored. They’re under-stimulated and they’re old,” said John Oakley, a former trainer at Sea Life Park.
Officials with Sea Life Park didn’t want to talk to us on camera, but provided a written statement. In it, it says that they are dedicated to the highest standards of care for marine animals.
The company also says the animals receive constant attention, along with the best food, shelter, and veterinary care.
A couple we spoke to says the animals appear to be in good condition.
“Overall you think they look pretty healthy and happy?” KHON2 asked.
“Yes. Yes. Overall, they’re how they’re supposed to look. How we always see them,” said Nathaniel Dionisio, a Sea Life Park visitor.
Other families say coming to the park is their only way to get an up-close look at the animals.
“Why do you come to Sea Life Park?” KHON2 asked.
“My children want to see the dolphins up close and we don’t have a boat, so we can’t go out to go see it. And it’s a lot less costly to just come and see them. And it’s a good time to educate them,” said Akiko Nouchi, a Sea Life Park visitor.
Sea Life Park has been part of East Oahu for the past 50 years.