The CEO of a toddler toy company named Munchkin Inc. has pledged $1 million to SeaWorld in an effort to have Tilikum the orca freed. Steven Dunn of Munchkin penned a letter to the controversial animal park, saying he aims to help fund an open-ocean orca sanctuary comprised of “sea pens in natural waters where individual whales and dolphins could live out their lives with more choices, more freedom and yet still be seen by visitors, ready to be educated about these amazing creatures.” In the letter, Dunn sets the release of Tilikum, the 33-year-old whale featured at the center of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, as a condition of the company’s contribution. He later told The Huffington Post that regardless of SeaWorld’s decision on the whale, Munchkin would move forward with the contribution—which may have to be the case following SeaWorld’s response. “SeaWorld and other science-based organizations are part of the solution, not the problem,” the company said in a statement. “Killer whales at SeaWorld are healthy and thriving, and through conservation and rescue efforts as well as significant work to advance the scientific understanding of orcas and other marine mammals, SeaWorld is a leader in protecting and preserving these species.”
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