We’ve heard the whispers, and today, the Orlando Sentinel confirmed it, SeaWorld Orlando has moved Pilot Whales from their home at Dolphin Stadium, and have been moved to the much larger pools of Shamu Stadium. In April, the long running Blue Horizons ended, and the all new Dolphin Days show was unveiled.
Since then, the Pilot Whales have been being prepped for moving to an all new home at Shamu Stadium. The new home would put the Pilot Whales and Orcas in the same area, and would provide a much larger home for the animals. The whales were moved on Friday, and have started their acclamation to the new waters. To get the tanks ready for the new residents, the water temps in Shamu Stadium were slowly raised to a level that would be comfortable for both the Pilot Whales and Orcas. Don’t worry, the animals both have habitats in the same areas of the world, so they are naturally both used to the same varying degrees in temps.
The Pilot Whales actually came to SeaWorld Orlando in 2012. Three of the whales were part of a mass stranding in which dozens of whales stranded themselves. SeaWorld helped in the rescue and rehabilitation of the animals, something they’ve been doing for over 50 years. The animals were then deemed by the federal government and NOAA to not be able to survive on their own in the wild. Since then, SeaWorld Orlando has been their home, where they have received around the clock care.
The current plan is to have the animals in the underwater viewing area of Shamu Stadium. There they will have a trainer talk about the animals, and share the story of how they were stranded. They will also talk about the differences between Orcas and Pilot Whales, and how they’re both in the same family as dolphins. The whales are also separated from the Orcas, in different pools. They will not be interacting in the same pools together.
While there are currently no plans for making the Pilot Whales part of the show at Shamu Stadium, Pilot Whales have been used in shows before at Dolphin Stadium. While SeaWorld says there are no plans, it would not surprise us if the whales are gradually introduced into the show, either as part of a pre-show talk, or as a show separate from the One Ocean shows. The whales could provide a new source of education for guests. Trainers are currently not allowed to perform with Orcas, but they have performed in the past with Pilot Whales. If SeaWorld introduces trainers and Pilot Whales together, it could bring back some of the more intimate animal connections that the park is known for. Again, this is not confirmed by the park, but our own speculation on what could happen eventually.
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