Tag Archives: animal treatment

Analysing The Impact of Blackfish on SeaWorld’s Orca Program

Nature documentaries as catalysts for change: Mapping out the ‘Blackfish Effect’ (2021) Boissot et al., People and Nature, https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10221

The Crux

Wildlife documentaries generally have the best of intentions, but our ability to determine their actual impact is limited at best. There have been attempts to analyse a documentary’s content or impact before, but they’re few and far between (outside of financial success).

Blackfish is a 2013 documentary which brought to light the poor treatment of orcas at SeaWorld, in particular the whale Tilikum, who killed three people while in captivity. Blackfish received widespread publicity, and in the years following its release, SeaWorld saw an enormous drop in attendance. They also saw a huge drop in stock price, redesigned their orca show to focus on conservation, and ceased their orca breeding program.

Today’s researchers wanted to investigate how closely the release of Blackfish was linked to the negative impacts and subsequent revamp that SeaWorld’s orca program underwent.

Read more