Anonymous said: Hi, not big cat related, but how do you feel about seals performing shows for the public? I've seen you say that it's cruel to make animals perform, but the AZA accredited zoo near me (national zoo) has seal/sea lion shows if I'm not mistaken (there's an amphitheater by their enclosure) thanks!
I actually don’t know enough about these shows to know how detrimental they are. I definitely don’t like the ones that are super circus-y that I’ve seen, and in some cases the performers just live behind the scenes in pretty poor enclosures. In those cases this is definitely not okay, but I can see ways where less demanding behaviors could be considered enrichment. Any of my followers know more about this topic?
Zagreb Zoo has a kind of a sea lion show thing, which is pretty great. Basically, the trainer asks the sea lions to perform simple tricks (respond to their names, get out of water, ‘shake hands’, get in the transport cage, give him a kiss…). They are rewarded with fish (this is their feeding routine). All the while the trainer talks about sea lions, their personalities, positive reinforcement training, behavior in nature, etc etc
100% enrichment with an added bonus of educating the public and making them more interested and thus sympathetic to these creatures