Welcome to the late update.
Today a Judge in Florida ruled that Seaworld Trainers are no longer allowed to "Dance" and "Play" with the Orca's in an open tank environment. It's official that the "Shamu" show has finally lost it's massive trademark of trainers within the water with the animals. The ruling stands that there should be a clear 'barrier' of some sort between trainers and whales during show times, however the judge also ruled that this doesn't apply to animal husbandry activities (such as animal healthcare needs).
This comes after Seaworld Orlando, the site of the 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau during an interactive session with Tillikum, one of the largest Ocras in captivity. Seaworld has spent a large chunk of change trying to install and perfect a "Quick Raising Floor" in the main exhibit tank to avoid another accident.
Picture from Orlando Theme Park News
Now, my opinion on all this?
It's complete CRAP!
I'm sure you all asking "Why?! OMG How can you say that!?" well it's easy.
I've worked for Seaworld, I've talked to the trainers. They LOVE their job, they love the close bond that trainer and animal have. It's a tight knit community, the trainers don't often have new blood come in. Simply because they LOVE their job, it's really once of the coolest jobs in the world. Who wouldn't want to swan dive off the nose of an Orca?! Seriously, it's cool and now no one else will ever see it.
These trainers aren't dumb folks, they know these risks yet they get in the water everyday and spend time with these creatures. Your not doing that if you don't love your job and the animals under your care. Now their may be a few odd ducks out there who simply find it a job but nearly all of the trainers I've ever talked to would rather be in the water with their "family" then doing any other job out there.
These are educated adults with years of training, they know the risks and choose to take them.
And I swear if I hear one more moron yelling about "Free Tilli" I'm gonna have to get my rant on in a highly series way. It didn't work for Keiko folks, it's surely not going to work for Tilli. Do you really want to sign his death warrant? Cause that's exactly what you'd be doing.