Orca Captivity Essay

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Orca whales, also known as killer whales, should not be kept in captivity. Since 1961, hundreds of orca whales have been taken from their natural habitat and placed into captivity at aquariums and aquatic parks around the world for the sake of public displays, theatrical shows, and business profit. To date, more than 127 captured orcas have died (Whale and Dolphin Conservation, n.d., figure 3). The capturing and confinement of orca whales is clearly unethical and inhumane. It poses a significant threat to the health, safety and well-being of these highly intelligent animals. Orca captivity should therefore be banned.
Unnatural Habitat of Killer Whale Tanks
Captive orcas face a cruel and miserable life. Proponents for orca captivity claim the life of killer whales at aquatic parks is compassionate and humane. However, the majority of orcas in parks such as SeaWorld live in tiny man-made concrete tanks. To put things in perspective, for humans, the tanks are about the size of a hot tub. The average size of an orca whale is 23-32 feet, with an average weight of 6 tons (National Geographic, 2016). In the wild, orcas swim hundreds of miles a day and experience constant changes in the water, such as depth, temperature and variations in light. An orca in captivity would have to swim at least 1,900 laps around their
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In the ocean, orcas live in highly complex social groups known as pods. Pods are small nuclear families which consist of around 30-50 orcas. Killer whales form exceptionally strong bonds with their pod and stay with them for life (Ventre & Jett, 2011). The capture of just one orca causes significant stress and anxiety to the rest of the pod. Orcas living in captivity in artificial social groupings with other orcas share no communication similarities, which often causes intense frustration and leads to fighting, serious injuries and death (Ventre & Jett,

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