This week, Seaworld announced that it would phase out orca whale breeding and theatrical shows, their first substantial action since Gabriela Cowperthwaite's 2013 Blackfish sparked public outrage at the inhumane treatment of the marine mammals. This is big news for the GIF community, which frequently incorporates the majestic creatures into their work—particularly artists like Kyttenjanae and TJ Fuller, whose #seapunk influences are apparent.
The current generation of whales will be the last to live within Seaworld's plexiglass walls, and will no longer be subjected to the high stress of multiple daily performances. Working with the Humane Society, Seaworld has developed enclosures and routines influenced by whales' natural lives. Some activists, such as PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk, think this action must go further. She suggests the whales be completely extracated from the park into "sea sanctuaries," a theoretical concept for an underwater preserve devoted to protecting sea life. This concept is most seriously being considered off the coast of Vancouver, B.C.
If these efforts lead to more, safer, and healthier whales, then it's good news for GIF artists of future generations. These babies will be an artistic emblem and inspiration for years to come.
See more orca GIFs on GIPHY.