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Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

February 21, 2014 09:18PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 8,648

it would have more impact if they did no harm. just like the anti abortion protesters who bomb and kill.

other than that i agree with what you have posted. these things are atrocious and need to be stopped

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

February 22, 2014 09:22AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Thank you!

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

February 25, 2014 06:19AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Did a Wild Orca Really Attack a Diver in New Zealand?

Marine mammal experts aren't so sure.

An orca dragged a diver in New Zealand below the ocean's surface for more than 40 seconds earlier this month, a newspaper in that country reported Sunday. Though local media characterized the harrowing incident as an “attack,” many people who work with wild orcas are not so sure.

On Feb. 10, free diver Levi Gavin, 23, was collecting crayfish and sea urchins in Horahora Estuary, near the city of Whangarei in far northern New Zealand, when a killer whale grabbed a catch bag tethered to his arm and yanked him into the sea.

The diver thought he’d taken his last breath. “I went to go open my eyes but all I could see was little white bubbles so I just closed my eyes and tried not to use my energy,” he said to The New Zealand Herald.

But the rope came loose, and Gavin, after removing his weight belt, floated to the surface. Aside from temporary numbness in his arm, Gavin was uninjured.

So was it an attack? Many experts are skeptical.

“I think it's been a pure accident and not an attack of any kind,” Jo Halliday, cofounder of New Zealand’s Whale Rescue, told The Herald.

The cetacean was probably “panicked from the feel of the line and the man got dragged along with it,” she added. Local orcas have occasionally grabbed bags in the past, she said, but she doubted this was a case of “whale attacks man.”

Halliday speculated the whale itself may have severed the line, and noted that when Gavin’s bag floated to the surface, it was dragged back down underwater. “There was a real concern the orca could still have the line attached,” The Herald reported.

It’s also possible that the whale was simply playing with an unexpected toy.

“There's a lot of room for interpretation in terms of the whale's intentions,” Howard Garrett, cofounder of the Orca Network in Washington state, wrote in an email. “According to the story, the whale never actually touched the guy.”

The article doesn’t indicate the length of the rope, “so we don't know the distance between him and the orca, but he says there were too many little white bubbles to be able to see,” Garrett said. “Those bubbles would also block sound, and the whale would have been headed away from the guy, so it's possible the whale didn't know there was a human attached to the bag. Or maybe the whale didn't care if the human went down.”

It would also be useful, Garrett added, to know what was in Gavin’s catch bag and how his arm was freed.

The truth is, orcas simply do not attack people in the ocean. As I wrote in Death at SeaWorld, a mammal-eating transient orca bit the leg of a Northern California surfer in 1972, then immediately let go. It’s possible the animal mistook the surfer’s wet suit for some kind of odd seal but was not interested in human flesh. The victim, who required 100 stitches, is the only known human to be injured by a wild orca.

Dr. Ingrid Visser, founder of New Zealand’s Orca Research Trust, has routinely dived with and photographed killer whales for years and has never experienced any type of aggression, even though New Zealand orcas sometimes attack and feed on marine mammals such as seals and dolphins to supplement their preferred diet of rays.

Only one person has ever been injured by a wild orca, but whales in captivity are another story entirely. Four people have been killed, and about a dozen more seriously injured, by orcas at marine-themed parks like SeaWorld.

Critics say it's the stress of captivity that leads to orca aggression, an assertion the industry rejects. It will be interesting to see if SeaWorld comments on the New Zealand incident and claims that this was, indeed, an attack on a human by a wild killer whale.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

February 27, 2014 11:51PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Let's not forget to read this link:


Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 01, 2014 07:21AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Dolphin Bites Child’s Hand at SeaWorld

Yet another reason why dolphins do not belong in marine mammal parks.

A dolphin at a SeaWorld petting pool has bitten a young child, prompting an internal investigation by the company and a formal complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It was the second such incident reported at a SeaWorld park in just over two years.

PETA published an article on its website yesterday stating that “a dolphin at SeaWorld San Antonio’s Dolphin Cove latched onto the hand and wrist of a 9-year-old girl so tightly that the child’s mother was unable to free her and a SeaWorld employee had to intervene.”

The child’s mother, who does not want to be identified or interviewed, sent PETA a photo of the dolphin clamping down on her daughter’s hand.

PETA has now filed “a formal complaint with the USDA asking the agency to investigate and hold SeaWorld accountable for endangering both the dolphin and the public in violation of federal law,” according to the article. That law requires sufficient distance and or barriers between the animals and the general viewing public.

According to the complaint, the attending staff member tried to blame the child for her injuries, claiming the dolphin bit her "because she held out her hand in a way that made it look as if she was holding a treat," even though the girl was given "no instruction whatsoever to not hold her hand in that manner." SeaWorld did not “offer the victim first-aid, though the victim suffered bite marks and swelling to her skin," the PETA letter contended.

The park, in a statement quoted in the San Antonio News-Express, disputed that account. “SeaWorld staff was present at Dolphin Cove during the incident, and responded quickly to assist the guest, who received on-site medical evaluation,” the statement said.

The incident was eerily similar to an injury at a feeding pool at SeaWorld Orlando in December 2012, when a bottlenose dolphin bit an eight-year-old, causing puncture wounds to her arm. PETA also demanded a USDA investigation at the time, which led the government to cite the park for several violations concerning deteriorating animal habitats. In a previous incident in 2006, two adults at SeaWorld Orlando had to pry open a dolphin's mouth to free a seven-year-old from its grip.

“SeaWorld has repeatedly shown a complete disregard for federal laws meant to protect animal welfare and public safety and has tried to brush off this latest incident,” wrote Jared Goodman, director of animal law at PETA Foundation. The park, according to Goodman, “refuses to take responsibility for its failures.”

Biting incidents like this are a boon to anti-captivity activists, who believe that human-dolphin interactions alongside tiny concrete pools are “physically and psychologically harmful to the animals and dangerous to the public,” Goodman said.

“SeaWorld conveys the false message to young children that it is OK to treat complex, intelligent, and social animals as mere side shows,” he added. “Kids need to be taught to respect animals, not exploit them.”


Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 01, 2014 02:06PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Dolphin-Killing Season Ends Early in Taiji

This year, cove fishermen killed 834 dolphins. An additional 164 were taken captive, destined for marine parks.

February 26, 2014 By David Kirby

The long, bloody killing season in Taiji, Japan, is finally over. The hunt ended this week, earlier than usual, with a record-low number of dolphins killed in the cove amid intensive opposition from celebrities, activists, and the U.S. ambassador to Japan.

According to Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardian campaign, the dolphin slaughter area has been cleaned out and the tarps that hide the butchering from public view have come down. The tally is gruesome: An estimated 1,400 dolphins were driven into the cove this season, in drive hunts made famous by the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove. Of those animals, an estimated 834 were killed and 164 taken captive. The rest were released.

This marks a decline from last season’s figures, in which roughly 900 dolphins were killed and 250 captured for aquariums and marine-themed parks. The numbers, disturbing as they are to opponents of the inhumane practice, are well below those reported before the 2009 release of The Cove, when the tiny village’s fishermen killed about 1,600 dolphins a year.

So is the tide turning in Taiji? It’s a difficult question to answer, as the Japanese government and Taiji’s dolphin killers remain determined to carry on in the next season, which will begin on Sept. 1.

Still, this season brought a tidal wave of public outrage and protest outside Japan unseen since the documentary was released in 2009.

The backlash gained mainstream media momentum on Jan. 17, when the U.S. ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, just two months into her job, tweeted against the slaughter. “Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG (U.S. Government) opposes drive hunt fisheries,” she tweeted.

The tweet, which followed the roundup of 250 bottlenose dolphins in the cove, was met with strident condemnation from officials in Tokyo and Taiji but won strong support from the U.S. State Department.

"We are concerned with both the sustainability and the humaneness of the Japanese dolphin hunts," State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters five days after Kennedy’s tweet. "We have been very clear that this is our position, and we remain concerned about it. And the ambassador was expressing our view that we’ve made public for a long time."

That same week, news broke that a rare albino bottlenose, a female calf that activists dubbed Angel, had been captured in the cove. The calf, whose mother was killed for her meat, captured the hearts of people around the world and gave even more impetus to those opposing the dolphin drives. Angel is being held in a tank at the Taiji Whale Museum, and her fate remains uncertain.

Then, in early February, the English-language newspaper The Japan Times became the first major Japanese media outlet to condemn the annual drives. “The dolphin hunt is an inhumane practice that should be stopped,” the newspaper said plainly. It was a shot across the bow for the Japanese government, putting it on notice that the tides may be changing in the country when it comes to killing dolphins.

But the bad news was not over for Taiji’s fishermen. Just after the Times’ editorial ran, a group of marquee celebrities, spearheaded by music mogul Russell Simmons, penned a letter urging President Obama not to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal until Japan bans the slaughter and capture of dolphins in Taiji.

"I'm glad our letter to Ambassador Kennedy for the president is making the rounds and will hopefully get our own government to do what they can to help stop the senseless, cruel slaughter of dolphins in Taiji," Simmons told TakePart.

Activists have plenty of work to do. Japan is still involved in killing minke, fin, and humpback whales in the Pacific Ocean and has resumed hunting Dahl’s porpoises some 500 miles north of Taiji in Iwate, an annual slaughter that was temporarily stymied by damage from the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

For now, Taiji’s cove is peacefully blue, at least until next September, when activists in Japan and around the world will unfailingly take up the banner of outrage once again.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 05, 2014 08:09PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Tanks Don’t Suit Them: 7 Orcas Living Rough Lives in Captivity

Killer whales, one of the animal kingdom's most intelligent species, belong in the open ocean—not in tiny marine park tanks.

ife for captive orcas can be extremely stressful, as evidenced in the documentary film Blackfish and my book Death at SeaWorld.

But when health, behavioral, familial, and reproductive issues are considered, it’s clear that some of the 53 killer whales living in aquariums and amusement parks around the world are leading even rougher lives than the others.

Of the seven we’ve chosen to highlight, six were ripped from their families in the wild—and five of them are prime candidates for rehabilitation and return to the ocean.

The following list was compiled in consultation with Dr. Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute and a leading expert on killer whales.

1. Kohana

Age: 11

Born: May 3, 2002—SeaWorld San Diego

Current Home: Loro Parque, Canary Islands, Spain

While there are no documented cases of female orcas rejecting their calves in the wild, such behavior has occurred numerous times with captive mothers. It happened twice with Kohana, one of four young orcas shipped by SeaWorld to the Loro Parque amusement park in the Canary Islands, Spain, in 2006 on a “breeding loan.”

In 2010, a very young Kohana gave birth to a male calf, Adan, whom she immediately rejected. In 2012 she gave birth again, to a female named Victoria, who was also promptly rejected. Victoria died last June. In both pregnancies, Kohana was bred with Keto, her uncle, who killed trainer Alexis Martinez in 2009.

Many critics speculate that Kohana simply never learned how to act maternally because there were no mother orcas at Loro Parque for her to emulate.

2. Kiska

Age: About 43

Captured: November 1973 off Iceland

Current Home: Marineland, Ontario, Canada

In 2011, Kiska lost her longtime companion, a “breeding loan” orca named Ike, after SeaWorld sued Marineland to get its whale back. This left Kiska all alone in her tank, a de facto solitary confinement sentence that would be illegal under U.S. law.

Since then, a video of Kiska bleeding from her dorsal fin has been published by the Toronto Star. The accompanying story included interviews with two former trainers who alleged that understaffing led to chronic behavioral and health problems for Kiska.

While it’s not clear how Kiska cut herself, the former trainers blamed rough surfaces in her tank, including aging fiberglass. Marineland denied the allegations.

3. Corky

Age: About 46

Captured: Dec. 11, 1969, in Pender Harbour, British Columbia, Canada

Current Home: SeaWorld San Diego

Having just passed the 44th anniversary of her abduction, Corky holds the dubious distinction of being the longest-held captive killer whale in history.

In 1977, she delivered her first calf, a male, the first orca ever born in captivity. He lived 16 days. Corky became pregnant six times after that, but the longest any of her calves survived was 46 days. At 21, she stopped ovulating, about 20 years earlier than the average female orca in the ocean.

Conservationists know where Corky’s family members are, and reunion with them is an option. “Corky still remembers her family,” reads the “Free Corky” page at Whale and Dolphin Conservation. “She visibly shook and vocalized poignantly when a tape recording of her family's calls were played to her in 1993.”

Could the 2020 Olympics Force Japan to End ‘The Cove’ Slaughter?

4. Lolita

Age: About 47

Captured: Aug. 8, 1970, at Penn Cove, Wash.

Current Home: Miami Seaquarium, Miami, Florida

Lolita is the world’s oldest captive orca.

Taken in the infamous Penn Cove roundup of 1970, she was sent to a tiny pool in Miami, where she continues to perform for tourists in a tank that does not meet minimum federal requirements for orca habitats. Despite outcries from activists over this clear violation, federal authorities continue to turn a blind eye.

Bottlenose dolphins live in Lolita’s tank, but she’s had no killer whale companion since her male tank mate of 10 years, Hugo, died in 1980 after banging his head repeatedly against a concrete wall.

Despite this, Lolita is extraordinarily gentle with people and has never been involved in a known act of aggression against her handlers.

Like Corky, she’s a prime candidate for rehab and release, as scientists know who and where her family is. But a long-standing plan for rehab and possible reunion with her pod has been met with stiff resistance from officials at Miami Seaquarium.

5. Kshamenk

Age: About 25

Captured: Sept. 19, 1992, in Argentina

Current Home: Mundo Marino, San Clemente del Tuyú, Argentina

Kshamenk (pronounced "SHAW-menk"wink was found “stranded” off the Argentine coast, though many activists contend he was forced into stranding by Mundo Marino, a theme park outside Buenos Aires.

Once there, he was placed in a tank with a young female orca named Bélen, who died in 2000. This put Kshamenk in the same situation as Kiska and Lolita—a killer whale living in a small tank with no orca companion. Kshamenk is so desperate for companionship that he has reportedly tried to mate with a female dolphin tank mate, Floppy.

A petition calling for Kshamenk’s release currently has more than 10,000 signatures. But a 2006 evaluation, conducted by three experts on behalf of the Fundacion Vida Silvestre Argentina, concluded that Kshamenk was not a good candidate for release, and the best option was to leave him at Mundo Marino, adding that he is "strongly bonded" with Floppy.

6. Morgan

Age: About 6

Captured: June 23, 2010, off the coast of the Netherlands

Current Home: Loro Parque, Canary Islands, Spain

Morgan’s life at Loro Parque has been anything but safe.

She has been “brutally and continually attacked and is subjected to excessive sexual pressure from a male orca who she is often locked into the same tank with,” according to Dr. Ingrid Visser of New Zealand’s Orca Research Trust and the Free Morgan Foundation.

Visser observed Morgan over eight days and witnessed an “unprecedented 91 aggression events” in when she “was attacked, on average, more than once an hour.”

A hearing on Morgan’s proposed release back into the open ocean was held on Dec. 3 at the Dutch High Court in The Hague.

A ruling is expected in mid-January 2014.

7. Tilikum

Age: About 33

Captured: Nov. 1, 1983, in Iceland

Current Home: SeaWorld Orlando

Since 1991, Tilikum, SeaWorld’s 12,000-pound breeding male, has been involved in the deaths of three people, most recently in February 2010 when he killed his longtime trainer Dawn Brancheau.

But as explained in the documentary Blackfish and the book Death at SeaWorld, the stress of Tilikum’s life in captivity might help explain his sporadic violent behavior.

As an adult male, he is lowest in the social hierarchy in orca society. So, despite his enormous size, he is routinely picked on by his more dominant female tank mates.

Many of Tilikum’s teeth are broken, and like all adult males in captivity, his dorsal fin has completely collapsed—a physical manifestation that some marine mammal experts attribute to too much time spent floating at the tank surface.

Meanwhile, SeaWorld continues to fight the government in the Brancheau case, in which Labor Department officials are trying to prevent any close contact between SeaWorld trainers and its orcas.

Wild orcas have never seriously attacked people; Tilikum has been involved in three human deaths. Clearly, he is trying to tell us something.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2014 08:11PM by Alana33.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 06, 2014 11:04AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

What Happened to Nakai? SeaWorld Orca Missing Huge Chunk of Chin

This wouldn't be the first time a killer whale was hurt by the steel and concrete confines of an artificial habitat...if that's what happened.

Nakai, an 11-year-old male orca at SeaWorld is missing a “dinner-plate sized chunk” of skin and flesh just under his mouth. The ghastly gash, first reported by journalist Tim Zimmermann, happened during a nighttime show at the Southern California park on September 20.

It is not clear what caused the horrendous wound. SeaWorld spokesman Dave Koontz told reporters that Nakai “came in contact with a portion of the pool,” but gave no other details.

SeaWorld staff reportedly retrieved the sliced-off piece of Nakai’s chin from the pool bottom.
This would not be the first time that a killer whale was hurt by the glass, steel and concrete confines of an artificial habitat. Three whales at the now-defunct SeaLand of the Pacific—Nootka, Haida and the three-time killer Tilikum—often cut and scraped themselves on the metal edges of their nighttime pen. One whale in San Diego, Ikaika (Ike), recently sustained a nasty gash under his mouth, believed to be caused by a railing. And Kotar, an orca in San Antonio, died when a metal gate crushed his skull. Other cases have also been documented.

It is hard to understand, however, exactly what part of the tank at Shamu Stadium could have sliced such a large, clean, portion of flesh deep out of Nakai’s chin. SeaWorld may try to blame the metal safety railings it installed after Tilikum killed Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. But it doesn’t make sense that those bars, and the small bolts they contain, could have scalloped out such a large piece of flesh.

To many observers, this looks like a bite. According to Zimmerman:

It happened last week during a night show, seemingly during a major altercation involving Nakai, Keet, and Ike. It’s not clear if there was an aggressor or instigator, or if they all suddenly went after each other. In response to the altercation, Nakai split to the back pool. The onstage trainers, not realizing how badly injured he was, continued the show with the other whales. It was only when they called Nakai over later that night that they realized he was seriously hurt.

I have never heard of an orca taking a chunk of tissue from another orca, though I am certain they are capable of doing so. Killer whales have sharp teeth and they are extremely nimble at surgically extracting body parts from prey. Some orcas kill sharks only to excise and eat their livers; others prey on penguins and expertly remove their breast meat, leaving skin, feathers and bone to bob in the water.

Killer whales, like people, also get pissed off at each other. They frequently ram, block, and rake other whales with their teeth, in acts of brute aggression or repeated bouts over dominance. Sometimes these quarrels are deadly. In 1989, during a show witnessed by thousands in San Diego, the female orcas Kandu and Corky collided during an altercation. Kandu severed a major artery in her upper jaw and slowly bled to death in a back pool, spurting red jets of blood from her blowhole as helpless staff—and Kandu’s calf Orkid— looked on.

Orca society is female-dominated, and females at SeaWorld have been known to battle for supremacy of their little artificial hierarchies (where whales from different ecotypes, and even different oceans, are held—and bred).

But this supposed altercation involved three males. Among some orcas in the Pacific Northwest, testosterone-charged bulls burn off excess energy and aggression in periodic “male only social interactions,” or MOSI’s, which are staged apart from the females and calves of their pod.

These ritualized scrimmages help keep the peace among the males. But Nakai, Keet and Ike were all born in captivity (Nakai was the first successful orca birth at SeaWorld resulting from artificial insemination), and would thus know nothing about MOSI’s, because most whale social behavior is learned, and not instinctual.

In fact, these three whales are relatively new to each other. Nakai was born and raised in San Diego, but Keet and Ike were both transferred there earlier this year: Keet from San Antonio, and Ike from Marineland Ontario in Canada. Ike had been on loan to the Canadians but SeaWorld successfully sued to get him back, citing poor conditions at the Ontario park.

Also of note, though perhaps irrelevant, is Nakai’s rather notorious bloodline. His mother is Kasatka, who was involved in several incidents with trainers in San Diego, including the now-famous attack on Ken Peters in 2006 (see video here) and his father is Tilikum, who was involved in the death of a trainer in Canada in 1991, a trespasser in Florida in 1999, and Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

So what happened to Nakai? Was it “contact with a portion of the pool,” as SeaWorld contends? Or was it the pointed, precise teeth of Ike or Keet? We may never know—although a good forensics team could certainly determine the cause.

The truth is, SeaWorld simply does not have a felicitous explanation—it was either the tank, or the tank-mates that wounded poor Nakai.

In the wild, orcas rarely, if ever seriously hurt themselves on “portions” of the ocean like rocks and reefs (their astounding echolocation abilities see to that), although boat propellers can cause awful cuts and gaping gashes.

Likewise, wild orcas rarely, if ever, take giant chunks of flesh from each other. Not only would it be taboo in killer whale society, altercations don’t typically lead to life-threatening injuries. For one, a whale under attack can easily get away from its aggressor in the open sea, but not so at enclosed SeaWorld and other entertainment parks.

In either case, SeaWorld only has captivity to blame.
See article and pics here: []

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 08, 2014 07:28AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

SeaWorld’s Worst Nightmare: Calif. Lawmaker to Propose Ban on Orcas in Captivity

If passed, the bill would be the most comprehensive protection law for captive orcas in the United States in more than 40 years.

In a surprising move that is sure to send shock waves across the entire captive whale and dolphin industry, a California lawmaker will propose legislation to outlaw Shamu shows at SeaWorld San Diego.

State Assemblymember Richard Bloom, D–Santa Monica, will introduce Friday the Orca Welfare and Safety Act, which would make it illegal to “hold in captivity, or use, a wild-caught or captive-bred orca for performance or entertainment purposes.” The bill would also ban artificial insemination of captive killer whales in California and block the import of orcas or orca semen from other states.

Violators would face a fine up to $100,000 and/or six months in a county jail.

“There is no justification for the continued captive display of orcas for entertainment purposes,” Bloom declared in a written statement prior to a press conference to be held at the Santa Monica Pier. “These beautiful creatures are much too large and far too intelligent to be confined in small, concrete pens for their entire lives. It is time to end the practice of keeping orcas captive for human amusement.”

According to Bloom, the law would be “the most comprehensive protection law for captive orcas in the United States in over 40 years.”

Under the terms of the bill, all 10 orcas held in tanks at SeaWorld San Diego, the only California facility that has whales, “shall be rehabilitated and returned to the wild where possible.” If that is not possible, then the whales must be “transferred and held in a sea pen that is open to the public and not used for performance or entertainment purposes.”

Exempt from the legislation are any orcas held for rehabilitation after a rescue or stranding, or for research purposes. But even these animals would have to be returned to the ocean or sent to a sea pen.

It is not the first time state lawmakers have tried to outlaw the captivity of killer whales, the world’s largest dolphin. South Carolina passed a bill in 1992 against captivity for dolphins and porpoises following efforts by the South Carolina Humane Society to stop a proposed dolphin park in Myrtle Beach. Just last month, New York state Sen. Greg Ball, R-Carmel, introduced a bill to ban orca captivity in that state.

Of course, there are no captive orcas in South Carolina or New York, making the California bill far more than a symbolic gesture.

At least five countries—India, Croatia, Hungary, Chile, and Costa Rica—have also outlawed all cetacean captivity, while Switzerland has banned captivity for dolphins.

Dr. Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, said the bill was inspired by the orcas-in-captivity documentary Blackfish.

“The Blackfish effect has never been in greater evidence—everything has led to this, the first serious legislative proposal to prohibit the captive display of this highly intelligent and social species,” Rose wrote in an email. “SeaWorld should join with this effort rather than continue to fight it. They can be on the right side of history.”

Assemblymember Bloom reached out to Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the director of Blackfish, for help with the bill, who in turn consulted with Rose.

“We did not initiate this proposal,” Rose wrote. “But once they reached out to us, we dove in wholeheartedly and assisted in every way we could—helping with the bill language, information, and fact-gathering, and getting support from various sectors of the public, including the scientific community.”

Rose also gave credit to former SeaWorld trainers featured in the documentary for supporting the legislation. Rose, Cowperthwaite, and former SeaWorld trainers Carol Ray and John Hargrove were scheduled to appear with Bloom at the Friday press conference.

Should the bill become law, SeaWorld might want to look at other highly successful aquariums that do not keep cetaceans in swimming pools. The Monterey Aquarium in northern California, for example, is routinely packed with visitors, without a single whale or dolphin in sight.

In South Carolina, where orcas will likely never entertain people, staffers at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston routinely direct visitors to local waterways if they want to see dolphins.

The Charleston Post and Courier reported in 2010 that when tourists ask to see the dolphins at the aquarium, the facility’s CEO, Kevin Mills, “smiles and answers, ‘Just walk out on our observation deck and you're bound to see them, swimming freely in the harbor.’ ”


One can only pray this bill and others like it that protects all Dolphin species come to fruition!

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 08, 2014 08:42AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Response to Coral World ad in the Virgin Islands Daily News
Naomi A. Rose, Ph.D., Humane Society International

An ad by Coral World appeared in the Virgin Islands Daily News on 6 December 2012, headlined “Bringing Dolphins to Coral World: Let’s Deal with the Facts,” which contained seven statements. The following are responses to these statements. References for these responses are available upon request.

Point 1: Our dolphins were born and raised under human care and come from a well-established facility. They grew up as part of a social group and have always been accustomed to interacting with humans.

Coral World must specify the source for these specific dolphins. Without this information, this is an empty claim. There are very few facilities that have a surplus of six dolphins that are all captive-born and have grown up in the same social group – most facilities have animals that were acquired from several different sources (whether captive-born or wild-caught) and did not grow up together. Indeed, most facilities do not have surplus dolphins at all, let alone six of them. Also, regardless of being captive-born, when dolphins are moved to new facilities, this increases the demand for wild captures. The captive dolphin industry is not yet self-sustaining – if the industry keeps expanding, then wild captures will keep occurring. Coral World may not go directly to the wild for its dolphins, but building a new exhibit anywhere fuels future captures of, and trade in, live dolphins globally.

Point 2: Our dolphins will swim freely in a 2-acre open-ocean habitat, one of the largest in the world. The habitat and our dolphins will be subject to U.S. regulations and standards, the strictest in the world.

It is unlikely that the dolphins will “swim freely” at all times. As is the case with other dolphin facilities, they will be gated and moved into the smaller enclosures (the “sanctuary,” the maternity pool, and the medical pool) whenever necessary, which is not only when births and illnesses occur, but also when animals are fighting or otherwise behaving incompatibly. In addition, the U.S. regulations and standards are not the strictest in the world. The U.S. swim-with-the-dolphin regulations were suspended entirely in 1999 and have not been enforced since. In addition, the U.K. and Brazil have stricter regulations (e.g., they require larger enclosures, better water quality, more stringent qualifications for trainers and veterinarians than does the U.S.) and, not coincidentally, they have no dolphinariums – not because captive display of dolphins is illegal in either country but because their standards are so strict that no facility has been able to meet them in a cost-effective way.

Point 3: Our dolphins will be protected from predators and boat strikes. They also will benefit from regular, high quality veterinary care and attention that will help them to live longer, healthier lives than their counterparts in the wild.

It is true that captive dolphins are protected from predators, food shortages, and many human-caused threats, including boat strikes. In addition, they receive veterinary care. The logical corollary to these conditions is that captive dolphins should live longer, as Coral World claims they do. However, that claim is not true. At best, captive dolphins in developed-world facilities live as long as wild dolphins, as
determined by peer-reviewed analyses from the mid-1990s. Dolphins in facilities in the developing world, particularly in Asia, however, live shorter lives, based on information taken from media reports. There are no peer-reviewed analyses that support Coral World’s claim. Therefore, what kills captive dolphins as efficiently as, or more efficiently than, threats wild dolphins face? The logical hypothesis is stress, but the captive industry has so far refused to conduct the research needed to confirm this or any other hypothesis.

Point 4: Our dolphins have been interacting with humans since birth. Dolphins will never be forced to engage in human interaction. Our dolphin habitat will have a sanctuary area where dolphins can go if they do not wish to interact with humans.

The sanctuary as planned will not be used by the dolphins. A facility in the Florida Keys had such a sanctuary (a dead-end smaller enclosure entered via a gate) and the dolphins never used it, whether there were swimmers present or not. The space was not attractive to them and the entrance was too restrictive. Dolphins must be trained to go through gates and rarely use them unless asked. The sanctuary must be attractive and freely accessible or it will not be used. A study in Australia of a facility with such a sanctuary (as large as the encounter space and as accessible) determined that the dolphins did in fact prefer the sanctuary over swimming with visitors. When swimmers were present, the dolphins spent a significantly greater portion of their time in the sanctuary than when swimmers were not present. When swimmers were not present, the dolphins divided their time equally between the encounter area and the sanctuary, because both spaces were equally attractive, which will not be the case with the Coral World sanctuary as planned.

Point 5: Coral World’s habitat will have a specially designed system that will allow the dolphins to be isolated in the event of harmful run-off or other unsafe pollution. Environmental studies show that the presence of our dolphins in the open ocean habitat, which takes advantage of currents in Water Bay, will not have any negative effect on water quality.

The permit application submitted by Coral World mentions “environmental studies” that show the dolphin enclosure will not have negative impacts on water quality, but it does not cite these studies. A study available on the internet (see Global Coral Reef Alliance White Paper 2003) concludes just the opposite – the effluent from a dolphin enclosure in Cozumel was determined to be a point source for nutrient overload in a reef system, which was subsequently damaged. While it is impossible with the information in the permit application to conclude that there will be a negative impact from dolphin waste due to insufficient flushing of the area, it is also impossible to conclude that there will not be an impact. In short, authorities must insist that more data be provided and/or collected to assist in determining the environmental impact of confining 6-10 dolphins in this location. Given some of the information in the permit application, especially regarding previous eutrophication events in Water Bay, it seems more likely than not that the dolphin exhibit will have a negative impact on water quality, but the bottom line is that Coral World has not made its case.

Point 6: Quite the reverse is true [responding to the claim that dolphin programs are unpopular]. A recent poll shows that 97% of Americans (ages 18-24) would be interested in swimming with dolphins; 87% of Americans with children in the household agree that these programs are an effective way to learn about animals. And dolphin programs are not closing down. New and larger aquarium facilities that feature dolphin programs are on the increase.

The poll referenced here was a public opinion poll (not an academic survey subject to peer review) using questions that were biased or leading. Whenever a survey or poll gets a 97% response rate of any kind, the question was almost certainly not phrased in an appropriately neutral way. In addition, dolphin exhibits are on the increase only in the developing world (especially Asia, including China), where expertise in maintaining captive dolphins and regulations protecting captive dolphins are notably lacking. In the developed world, including North America and Europe, dolphin exhibits are on the decline – there has been a net loss of about 10 facilities in the U.S. (including the closure of one SeaWorld park) in the past 15 years and there are only two dolphin exhibits left in Canada. Mexico has prohibited the capture of wild dolphins in its waters and the import/export of live dolphins for public display (the remaining dolphinariums in Mexico must therefore maintain their collections solely through captive breeding). In Europe, Switzerland has just joined the growing number of countries that have ended dolphin display – it has prohibited imports of live dolphins, so its last dolphin exhibit will close when the three remaining dolphins there die or are relocated.

Point 7: Today cruise ship passengers and overnight guests are heading to Tortola to swim with dolphins and spending their money there. Keeping visitors on St. Thomas will benefit taxis, stores, even other attractions because visitors will have more time on St. Thomas.

Cruise ship tourists will remain on St. Thomas rather than going to Tortola if there are any alternative excursions offered on-island that are interesting, challenging, exciting, unique, or otherwise entertaining. There is no need to offer the same excursion (swimming with dolphins) to keep tourists on St. Thomas. In fact, offering a copy-cat attraction seems singularly lacking in imagination and long-term vision. St. Thomas should highlight its unique, natural attractions rather than risk the welfare of wildlife and the health of a local ecosystem. St. Thomas should be an innovator rather than an imitator and there are many groups that are willing to work with St. Thomas tourism operators, including Coral World, to make this happen.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 10, 2014 09:48PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Hope for orcas at theme parks like SeaWorld rose yesterday as a California lawmaker proposed a ban on the animals' being held in captivity.

Inspired by the CNN documentary film Blackfish, the Orca Welfare and Safety Act (A.B. 2140) introduced by state Assemblymember Richard Bloom, a Democrat from Santa Monica, would make it illegal for the cetaceans to be caught, held, used, and bred for performance or entertainment purposes. The bill would also prohibit the import of orcas or orca semen from other states into California.

SeaWorld’s Worst Nightmare: Calif. Lawmaker to Propose Ban on Orcas in Captivity

Advocating "science over spectacle," Dr. Naomi Rose of the Animal Welfare Institute, who has been working to improve the welfare of captive orcas for more than 20 years, said in a news conference yesterday that the bill was the "first step in ending the global exploitation of a species that was never suited to live in our world." She also expressed gratitude on behalf of the Animal Welfare Institute to Bloom for his courage and conviction.

Rose wasn't the only one.

The bill to improve the lives of these highly social animals, which typically travel in groups of 40 to 50, has been met with massive praise across social networks, with supporters taking to Twitter to thank and support Bloom. The bill, poised to make a massive impact in California if passed, was met not only with excitement but also a drop in stock for SeaWorld, which was probably having its worst day since the premiere of Blackfish.

A Big 'Thank You' to Richard Bloom

Many reached out to Bloom to let him know how much they appreciated his effort. Others made sure to let him know they admired his courage.


Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 11, 2014 03:32PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Petition urges Bindi Irwin to rethink SeaWorld support!


Bindi Irwin is in hot water with the American people. The Aussie teen, the daughter of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, is the new ambassador for U.S. SeaWorld, and animal rights advocates are not happy.

The water park has been getting bad press since the docu-film “Blackfish” was released in 2013. The film, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, focuses on the captivity of a killer whale named Tilikum, which is involved in the deaths of three individuals. It also exposed the theme park as an Orca torture chamber

With a bad rep like that in the U.S., it’s no wonder SeaWorld is being boycotted by American artists like Willie Nelson, The Beach Boys, and Pat Benatar.

So perhaps that’s why it has reached out to Bindi, whose wildlife work was influenced and encouraged by her dad himself.

The 15-year-old unwittingly entered a war in the U.S., one that involves SeaWorld and the people who have seen “Blackfish.”

On Thursday, Bindi, her 10-year-old brother Robert, and mum Terri Irwin stopped by the breakfast show “Good Morning America” to promote her new collaboration with the controversial water park.

Bindi is now working with a SeaWorld initiative called Generation Nature, “which is all about encouraging kids to get involved and be game-changers for wildlife in wild places.”

“I’m so excited to be carrying on in dad’s footsteps and making sure that everything he worked so hard for continues for the generations to come,” the teen told presenter Robin Roberts.

But instead of gaining support, Bindi was inundated with criticisms online.

“@BindiIrwin have you watched #Blackfish yet? #Seaworld is an evil entity. Be a real advocate of animals & watch the film immediately,” Twitter user Rob Bieber wrote.

“Bindi Irwin please step down as SeaWorld ambassador! @SeaWorld’s evil deeds outweigh the good!” a post from Amy Pruett reads.

Other tweets are more critical of Bindi, with some questioning how much was she paid for her endorsement.

A petition has been launched online, asking Bindi to step down as SeaWorld Youth Ambassador.

“Ms Irwin, please educate yourself about what happens in order for SeaWorld to purchase wonderful creatures like orcas and dolphins. I do believe your father would not want you to participate in such cruelty and I am sure that you do not want to be part of this either,” the petition reads.

“Please reconsider your offer to be SeaWorld’s new Ambassador. Do it for the animals.

The petition has a little over 12,000 signatures as of the time of writing. It needs 13,000 signatures by May 1.

Bindi and the Irwin family haven’t responded yet to the controversy

Actually the petition now has 73,831 (as of 3/6/14) signatures, help us get to 74,000 by May 1, 2014

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 11, 2014 07:48PM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 1,313

Problem video. Post deleted.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/11/2014 08:26PM by swans.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 11, 2014 09:26PM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 1,313


Another board member sent this video along which shows the Orca in it's natural world; a world of FREEDOM.
I wanted to share this with you and with all the others, whose efforts are deeply appreciated, as you move forward to release these magnificent creatures from captivity. Each deserves no less than to be given the right to return home. Each deserves no less than a chance at life. Many thanks,


Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 11, 2014 10:55PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Thanks for sharing that!
They are amazing and deserve to be free in the oceans.

Pls. note that Orcas in the wild never have the collasped dorsal fins that they suffer when in confinement.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 12, 2014 07:47AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Watch Out, SeaWorld: Your Days of Holding Orcas Captive Might Be Numbered

Animal advocates are applauding the introduction of a groundbreaking bill that seeks to ban orca captivity in California and retire the state’s current residents to sea pens.

The bill, the Orca Welfare and Safety Act (AB 2140), was introduced by California Assembly member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), in response to the growing concerns about the inherent cruelty involved in confining an apex predator to a tank that were raised in the documentary Blackfish.

Since Blackfish made its debut, public awareness about the problems associated with keeping orcas in captivity has grown, and attitudes appear to be shifting in their favor, despite the industry’s continued rebuttals.

As Wired points out, unlike other states that have taken measures to ban cetaceans in captivity, California is home to approximately one-fifth of all captive orcas, which makes it a prime place to enact a ban. In this case, the proposed legislation doesn’t specifically call out Seaworld, but Seaworld San Diego is the only facility in the state that currently has orcas.

California’s bill has three main goals that include banning the use of orcas as performers in theme shows, ending captive breeding programs and ending the import and export of orcas and their genetic material into and out of the state. It would also require that the state’s 10 captive orcas, who are currently at SeaWorld, be retired to sea pens if possible or kept on display only. It would exempt any orcas who were injured or stranded and are being held as a part of a rescue and rehabilitation effort. Violations would be punished by $100,000 in fines, six months in jail, or both.

According to Bloom:

As a state we should lead the way in ending captivity for entertainment purposes and should be ensuring our current captive population general welfare needs are taken care of, and that we end any future captivity whether it be by capture or captive breeding programs here in California. Many scientists agree holding orcas captive have no conservation benefits for orcas in the wild and have only advanced captive breeding techniques with debatable success. If we truly want to help the orca we should focus our efforts on restoring habitat in the wild and protecting our oceans.

Bloom’s efforts were supported by Blackfish director Gabriella Cowperthwaite, Naomi Rose, Ph.D., a marine mammal scientist with the Animal Welfare Institute and and two former SeaWorld orca trainers, John Hargrove and Carol Ray.

“My experience studying orcas in the wild has led me to conclude that the welfare of these intelligent, wide-ranging, socially complex animals cannot be adequately protected when confined for a lifetime in small, shallow tanks,” said Dr. Rose in a statement. “Typical orca enclosures are less than one ten-thousandth of one percent the size of the species’ natural home range.”

Seaworld should probably be worried about the growing public backlash and potential ban, but dismissed the legislation in a statement and continues to defend keeping orcas captive, again calling itself and its employees “true animal advocates” who are governed by local, state and federal animal welfare laws. According to the L.A. Times, a few lawmakers are also tentatively opposing the bill because they believe it will hurt tourism.

However, many other aquariums and marine parks, including California’s own Monterey Aquarium, have proven they can successfully run and keep visitors coming without confining cetaceans or forcing them to perform ridiculous tricks to entertain the public.

If California passes this legislation, it wouldn’t just be a huge victory for the state’s captive orcas, but would also help set the stage to end keeping them in captivity elsewhere.


Please sign and share the petition urging California’s lawmakers to support and co-sponsor the Orca Welfare and Safety Act.
Read more: []

Hopefully, this will open up to banning captivity of all Marine Mammals, including Dolphins for exploitive and abusive treatment.
Are you listening, Coral World?

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 12, 2014 09:14AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Urge Bindi and Terri Irwin Not to Support SeaWorld

Recently, SeaWorld announced that 15-year-old Bindi Irwin (daughter of Terri Irwin and the late Steve Irwin) will be its new "animal ambassador," and she is now acting as a spokesperson for SeaWorld and its new SeaWorld Kids program.

Through PETA's massive campaign and the hit documentary 'Blackfish', millions of people have realized that SeaWorld is no place for anyone who truly cares about animals. While orcas in the wild travel up to 100 miles per day, SeaWorld confines them to small tanks in chemically treated water. The orcas at SeaWorld also break their teeth and endure chronic pain from snapping and gnawing at the pool gates as a result of stress and aggression. At least 25 orcas have died in SeaWorld facilities since 1986.

Please send a polite e-mail to Bindi Irwin and her mother, Terri Irwin, and urge them to do the right thing by ending their SeaWorld promotions.

You can sign the petition here:

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 12, 2014 12:19PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

PLEASE! Check these out:

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 12, 2014 01:09PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Protect Northwest Orcas from Dirty Coal

Urge the Army Corps of Engineers to review the risks from coal proposals.

Sign petition here:


Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 14, 2014 12:44PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

5 Videos SeaWorld Doesn't Want You to See

As if confining orcas for their entire lives to .0001 percent of their natural range in a single day and kidnapping them from the wild aren't disturbing enough, the following are some further reasons why SeaWorld is truly one twisted "family" establishment:


Taking your family and friends to SeaWorld teaches them that it's OK to confine and torture orcas and deny them their natural-born right to a family and a vast ocean home. Never purchase a ticket to SeaWorld, and tell the world that what it's doing is NOT RIGHT.

Nor should it be done to Dolphins and other intelligent, sentient marine mammals.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 14, 2014 12:50PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

The Heartbreaking real life capture of ORCAS for Seaworld and Miami Seaquarium

In 1970, more than 90 orcas were stalked and herded into a three-acre net by deafening explosives, speedboats and airplanes at Puget Sound, a deep inlet of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Washington. Alongside the hired captors was Terry Newby, a young marine mammal researcher (in the red and blue sweater). Images taken by Dr. Newby himself tell the story of the horrific captures that led to a lifetime of confinement and exploitation of orcas in marine parks and aquariums around the world.

see link for pictures and info: []

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 15, 2014 10:33PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 2

This is from 40+ years ago.. I wonder how this is relevant to today? I wish people were as passionate about improving the lives of the 70+ MILLION dogs in "captivity" in America (aka... living under human care!) as they are in taking down a zoological institution after watching a "documentary." Somebody should make a film on the average life of a pet dog, not about animals who have dedicated teams of people to provide mental and physical stimulation and care. The average dog is FAR more "abused" than any of the animals you might see in Seaworld (just take a look around St. Thomas for a tiny slice of what I'm taking about). If you want to get passionate about helping animals, let's look at that!

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 16, 2014 07:40AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

How about being passionate and compassionate about helping them all?
This isn't about just what happened 40 years ago as it happens still today.

I wholeheartedly agree, our islands' animals need all the help they can get.
You can support your local animal shelters by volunteering your time helping the animals and with donations of goods and money.
You can improve their lives by demanding our Senators update our present antiquated animal cruelty laws by calling and e-mailing them to demand these changes and the enforcement of the present inadaquate laws.

However, neither species will or can be helped if people remain ignorant of their plight and do not take any action.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/16/2014 07:55AM by Alana33.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 16, 2014 09:37AM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 1,495

I wish people were as passionate about improving the lives of the 70+ MILLION dogs in "captivity" in America (aka... living under human care!)

I doubt my dog or cats would agree with you. Excellent way to piss off pet owners on this board...

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

March 16, 2014 11:33AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Saving the #SeaWorld10: If Calif. Bans Orca Captivity, What Happens to the SeaWorld Whales?

Seven of the 10 killer whales living at SeaWorld San Diego were born in captivity and could not be expected to survive in the open sea.

California’s Orca Welfare and Safety Act, introduced last Friday by state Assemblymember Richard Bloom, D–Santa Monica, has sent shock waves throughout the media and the captive-marine-mammal industry. The bill would make it illegal to “hold in captivity, or use, a wild-caught or captive-bred orca for performance or entertainment purposes.” It also would ban artificial insemination of captive killer whales and block the import of orcas or orca semen.

Assuming the bill became law, and if the courts upheld that law—which leading animal-law experts say could happen—what would the future look like for the 10 orcas currently kept in tanks at SeaWorld San Diego?

Many people assume the bill would “free” all of them into the ocean. But seven of the 10 were born in captivity and could not be expected to survive in the open sea. For them the best alternative, as provided under the legislation, would be permanent retirement in a netted-off cove or bay, a sea-pen sanctuary the public could visit, minus the cute tricks.

As for the three wild-caught orcas, it could be that only one, Corky, is a viable candidate for release—and even then, only after an intensive period of rehabilitation, in which she would need to relearn how to catch fish.

Below, we look at the prospects for the #SeaWorld10.

Wild-Caught Orcas: Candidates for Release Into Open Ocean

1. Corky

Age: About 47

Captured: Dec. 11, 1969, in Pender Harbour, British Columbia

Corky, one of the oldest living captive orcas, is one of the most promising candidates for full release to the open ocean because because conservationists know her pod still spends part of the year in Johnstone Strait, off of Vancouver IslandCorky might still remember her family; the "Free Corky" page at Whale and Dolphin Conservation reads, “She visibly shook and vocalized poignantly when a tape recording of her family's calls were played to her in 1993.”

2. Ulises

Age: About 36

Captured: Nov. 10, 1980, in Reyðarfjörður, Iceland

Ulises is also a candidate for full return to the ocean. But scientists would first have to locate and confirm the identity of his family, which would be difficult, though not impossible. Researchers can determine whale DNA through tissue samples or, preferably, by examining orca scat detected by specially trained dogs riding in boats. Ulises, who spent years at parks in the United Kingdom and Spain before coming to San Diego, showed little interest in breeding female orcas and was thought to perhaps be unable to sire a calf. But in 2012, a female was born in France via artificial insemination using his semen.

3. Kasatka

Age: About 36

Captured: 1978 in Iceland

Kasatka is the least-viable candidate for release into the open ocean: She has three offspring living with her—Nakai, Kalia, and Makani—and they are not candidates. Orca conservationists would therefore recommend she not be released, to keep her with her offspring. Not only are they all captive born, but only one (Nakai) is of 100 percent Icelandic blood, and whale conservationists consider it unethical to introduce foreign DNA into a wild pod. There are several populations of killer whales in the wild, and there has been no evidence of interbreeding for thousands of years.

Captive-Bred Orcas—Candidates for Release Only Into Sea Pens (Kasatka’s Offspring)

4. Nakai

A male born on Sept. 1, 2001, in San Diego, Nakai, sired by three-time killer Tilikum, was the first successful orca birth using artificial insemination. Nakai lost a large chunk of his chin in 2012. Officials at SeaWorld said he injured himself “in the pool area,” but outside experts suspected he might have been attacked. Nakai is 100 percent Icelandic.

5. Kalia

A female born on Dec. 21, 2004, in San Diego, Kalia is 87.5 percent Icelandic and 12.5 percent Southern Resident.

6. Makani

A male born on Feb. 14, 2013, in San Diego, Makani was sired via artificial insemination by Kshamenk, who lives alone in Argentina. Makani is 50 percent Icelandic and 50 percent Argentine.

Captive-Born Orcas—Candidates for Release Only Into Sea Pens

7. Orkid

Orkid, a female, was born on Sept. 23, 1988, during a live Shamu show, with thousands of spectators looking on. The following year, also during a live show, Orkid watched her mother, Kandu, bleed to death following an altercation with Corky. Orkid is 50 percent Icelandic and 50 percent Northern Resident.

8. Ikaika

Sired by Tilikum, Ikaika is a male born on Aug. 25, 2002, at SeaWorld Orlando. At four years old, he was sent to MarineLand in Niagara Falls, Ontario, on a breeding loan in exchange for some beluga whales. SeaWorld successfully sued the Canadian park in 2012 to get him back, citing stressful and unhealthy conditions at MarineLand. “Ike” is 100 percent Icelandic.

9. Keet

A male born on Feb. 2, 1993, at SeaWorld San Antonio, Keet is one of the most heavily transported orcas in captive history. He was separated from his mother at 18 months; at five years, he was moved to San Diego, where he spent five months before being flown to (the now defunct) SeaWorld Ohio. After one season there, he was returned to San Diego. Keet is 75 percent Icelandic and 25 percent Southern Resident.

10. Shouka

A female born on Feb. 25, 1993, at Marineland in Antibes, France, Shouka spent years alone in a small tank at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif. Following public outcry, she was sold to SeaWorld San Diego in 2012. Shouka is 100 percent Icelandic.


Better a large sea pen than the tiny enclosures and constant unnatural barrages of noise and behaviors these magnificent creatures are subjected to every single day of their lives in captivity. They should ban ALL breeding programs as well for Orcas and Dolphins.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/16/2014 11:34AM by Alana33.

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