Just many reasons why the majestic animals that are kept in captivity should be set free.
|"Residents – The most highly studied whales of all, these orcas are divided into two groups: the Northern Resident community, which ranges from mid-Vancouver Island north toward the Alaskan panhandle, and the Southern Resident community, which typically ranges from mid-Vancouver Island south to Puget Sound in summer and fall and, in the winter and spring, as far south as Monterrey, California and also north of Vancouver Island. The two generally do not mix. These whales live in extremely stable and large groups, or pods, marked by tightly knit family units dominated by females. They communicate at a highly sophisticated level and eat mostly fish.|
Then there are the captive killer whales; miniscule in number when compared to their wild counterparts, but each one a political and emotional lightning rod. As of this writing, there were 42 captive orcas at theme parks and aquaria in Canada, France, Spain, Japan, Argentina, Holland, and of course the United States, which has 21 whales — 19 of them at the SeaWorld chain of attractions in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego.
People opposed to captivity include some scientists, academics and environmentalists, nearly all animal activists, a handful of former orca trainers, and a worldwide network of people who say that killer whales are too big, smart, sentient, mobile and close to their families to be kept in tanks and trained to perform for tourists. They assert that keeping killer whales in captivity is cruel and unusual, dangerous for animals and people, and should be phased out."
-Excerpt from "Death at Sea World: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity Written by David Kirby
The first point of animals in captivity that experience cruelty I would like to touch on, are the infamous orcas located at Sea World organizations.
-The average life-span for an orca in the wild is relatively similar to that of a human's. While they are held in captivity, Sea World killer whales have been known to have a life-span of 20 to 35 years of age. This is significantly lower than those who live in the wild.
-"Trainers routinely stuff the gills of fish with antibiotics, antacids and vitamins, and inject them with fresh water, because freezing, storing, thawing and processing fish reduces its nutritional value and fresh water content and stress is a constant concern."
-Overall, the lifestyle of orcas living in captivity is not nearly as good as when they are able to live in their natural environment.
Some people want us to fix their living conditions. But why not just let them go? Their animals just like us, they have thoughts and emotions that are similar, if not identical, to humans. Humans don't have to live in small cages, so why should animals be subjected to such treatment?
Ok, so maybe you've heard about this infamous orca trainer. The story that Sea World gave was a typical drowning. Various eyewitnesses however, forced the organization to alter their story to be a little bit closer to the truth.
The truth, was that Dawn was grabbed by the arm by an orca. This orca happened to be Tilikum; a very well-known, large killer whale. Tilikum was, at the time, a 12000 pound killer whale. When he was first brought in, he was a very gentle whale, and loved doing his 'job'. After spending enough time in Sea World's cramped enclosures, however, he became aggressive. As of today, he is responsible for a minimum of three deaths.
Sea World's first statement given, was that Dawn accidently slipped into the pool and drowned, it mentioned absolutely nothing about Tilikum. The second statement Sea World gave, was that it was Dawn's fault she was dragged into the pool. The report said that Dawn's ponytail was grabbed by the orca, and she was dragged to the bottom of the pool in an act of sporadic playfulness. Many former Sea World trainers have said that Tilikum was beginning to become agitated by the time Dawn was killed.
"The 40-year-old trainer was at ease with the killer whale and had just petted him on the nose. However, in a scene that horrified SeaWorld visitors, Tilikum grabbed her long ponytail when she turned her back, pulled her into the pool and began swinging her around in its mouth." - A report by ABC news.
Here it states that Tilikum grabbed her ponytail, but numerous video footage can be seen, showing the large mammal grabbing her arm instead.
"In 1991, trainer Keltie Lee Byrne fell into a tank holding Tilikum and two other whales at Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria, Canada. A homicide inquest found that the whales had prevented Byrne from climbing out of the tank and ruled her death an accident.
After he was transferred to SeaWorld in Orlando, Tilikum was again connected to the death of a person in 1999.
The body of Daniel Dukes, 27, was found naked and draped across the giant whale's body in July 1999. Dukes reportedly got past security at SeaWorld, remaining in the park after it had closed. Wearing only his underwear, Dukes jumped, fell or was pulled into the frigid water of Tilikum's huge tank.
An autopsy ruled that he died of hypothermia in the 50-degree water. Dukes' parents filed a lawsuit against the park that year but later withdrew it." - Excerpt from ABC news top cover story.
Because many whales are kept in one enclosure together, they do not have much room to move. If tension ever occurs, as a result, the whales do not have enough space to just take a breather. Many orcas have been injured, some have even died, due to this aggressive behavior.
Aggression doesn't just stay between the whales either. It is most likely because of this aggression, that senior trainers have been killed by orcas. These animals know what they are doing too, but they've been treated so horribly they just want to do it.
Even if you think you cant help this cause, the least you can do is spread the word. The more people who know, the more things may be done to help.
The killer whales at Sea World that have been kept in captivity are almost all of Tilikum's offspring. He is worth a lot of money due to his fame (positive) and his size. Tilikum's journey is coming to an end though, reports from Sea World have confirmed that his health is declining. After 30 years and multiple deaths, the tragic story of Tilikum is nearing its end. His offspring though, will make sure a legacy as 'great' as his lives on. As long as orcas are kept in a synthetic environment; as long as they are treated poorly, deaths like that of Dawn Brancheau and other trainers will continue to rein over the beautiful creature we call, an orca.
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