Orca whales are beautiful, social, intelligent creatures. In the wild, they swim up to an average of 100 miles per day where they interact among their families and social groups. However, places like SeaWorld take pleasure in exploiting these magnificent creatures all for profit. They’re torn away from their mothers and families in the wild at very young ages, and confined in concrete tanks for up to half a century or until their death. They swim in circles, and float endlessly in their tanks that are the equivalent to a bathtub for a human.
While Seaworld states that these whales are better left in captivity, it’s a myth that captive animals live longer. Orcas are grouped in unnatural social groupings causing dominant ones to leave rake marks (scraping their teeth against skin) on less dominant orcas. They are repeatedly bullied, and have nowhere to go because they are all confined in a small concrete tank. Due to loneliness and isolation, orcas repeatedly chew and gnaw on metal bars and concrete ledges within the tanks. This causes major infections where many leads to death.
Many of you may may know of Tilikum – the largest orca whale in captivity who just recently passed away due to unknown reasons. He was kidnapped from his home in Iceland at age 2 and later sold to an aquarium in Victoria, BC. At his sad new home, food was regularly denied from him as a form of training technique. He shared one small tank with 2 dominant female orcas who repeatedly attacked him. On top of that he was forced to perform every hour, 8 times, seven days a week. This resulted in major infections such as stomach ulcers. Due to the extensive emotional/physical abuse, Tilikum killed a Sealand trainer and was later bought by SeaWorld. The park itself has over 600 pages of incident reports documenting dangerous and unanticipated orca behavior with trainers. However, aggression toward humans and orcas is nearly non-existent in nature.
Although some may say raising animals in confinement creates a safe environment for endangered animals and raises awareness, this is far from the truth. My point is not for you to think twice, but to actually understand and acknowledge what you’re doing/supporting. Please share, support and urge places like Seaworld to release their captive mammals!