Victory for orcas

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 18, 2016

Thursday, SeaWorld announced they would no longer breed orcas at their water parks.
I was certainly glad to hear it.
I, along with millions, watched the documentary Blackfish. Since then, I’ve hoped SeaWorld would end some of their practices.
The film is about the whale, Tilikum, who is responsible for the deaths of three people, while in captivity.
Filmmakers interviewed several former trainers and gave viewers a firsthand glimpse into the life of an animal meant to live in the wild.
I’ve never been to SeaWorld, but I have gone to the zoo and aquarium and have always enjoyed seeing the animals.
But I always wonder what their lives would be like if they were allowed to live in their natural habitat. I don’t believe these animals were meant to live in small spaces, purely for our enjoyment and entertainment.
According to, an orca whale can grow to almost 32 feet long and weigh up to six tons. That’s pretty large and their tanks at SeaWorld are quite small.
It’s been a couple of years since I watched the film and the images of these majestic animals in captivity still haunt me. In one scene, we see orcas bleeding, having been attacked by other whales, also in captivity. And the sounds made by a mother orca when her child is taken from her are heartbreaking.
The film suggests that years of captivity turned Tilikum into a “killer whale.” I tend to agree with their assessment. The footage of a pack of whales swimming freely in the ocean is breathtaking. It’s the life they were meant to lead, not a life of performing tricks for the entertainment of humans.
I’m glad SeaWorld came to this decision, but in reality, it’s more than likely a public relations effort in response to the negative publicity and money lost as a result of the response to Blackfish.
I still won’t visit SeaWorld and hope that one day, we can find a way to study these animals and save endangered species without locking them in a cage.

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