Whale Killer Whales Essay

3964 Words 16 Pages
The Plight of Captive Killer Whales
Between 1966 and 1970, more than 200 orcas were captured from Puget Sound, Washington to fill marine parks like SeaWorld (“Historical”). Ted Griffin and Don Goldsberry invented a technique to catch them. Boats herded the animals into a bay where the men deployed a net to catch them (Blackfish; “Historical”). As the men were closing the nets, they used explosives to herd escaping killer whales back into the nets (Kirby 153). Ralph Munro, an assistant to Dan Adams—the Washington State governor at the time—saw explosions during the capture and reported it to the state of Washington. Washington filed a lawsuit, saying that SeaWorld was using inhumane means to catch killer whales. This violated their Washington
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In the wild, family units stay together for their entire lives (Blackfish). However, young orcas are regularly separated from their mothers at SeaWorld and other marine parks. People working at these places decide to separate calves from their mothers because the young animals can act defiant and unruly—just like most young animals do. Management decided to separate four-year-old Kalina from her mom Katina because Kalina was disrupting shows. After Kalina was taken away, Katina swam to the corner of the pool and stayed there all night, shaking and whimpering. Katara was also separated from her mother Kasatka. After Katara’s removal, trainers heard Kasatka making calls that they had never heard before, which scientists discovered were long-range vocals the animal was using in an attempt to find her lost calf (Blackfish). Killer whales like Kasatka have a part of their brain humans don’t possess, which is attached to the limbic system, the part of the brain responsible for processing emotions. Since this brain part is attached to the emotion center, it led scientists to believe that killer whales have more complicated emotions than people. Marino explained that they have “highly elaborated emotional lives…their sense of self and bonding is much stronger and more complex than humans” (Blackfish). This could mean that the pain of losing a child is more painful for killer whales than it is …show more content…
Although attacks on humans in the wild have never been reported, captive orcas have injured more than forty people since 1960 (Tocco). One incident happened when trainer Tamaree was training Orkid, and as she stood by the edge of the pool, Orkid grabbed her foot. As she tried to hold onto the gate, Orkid ripped her hands from the railing and dragged her underwater. Then, Splash, another killer whale, grabbed onto Tamaree’s other leg. As the cetaceans played human tug-of-war, another trainer thought that letting the dominant female Kasatka into the pool would stop the attack. Kasatka was released into the pool, and Orkid and Splash released Tamaree. She escaped alive, but had a visibly broken arm upon getting out of the pool and was diagnosed with a compound fracture (Blackfish; Kirby 273-4). Even though Kasatka saved Tamaree, she was the attacker on November 29th, 2006. Trainer Ken Peters was preparing to do a “rocket hop,” a trick in which he stood on Kasatka’s nose as she rocketed out of the water. Instead of doing a rocket hop, Kasatka grabbed his foot and pulled him to the bottom of the pool. Although she let him float to the top several times, she continued grabbing him and dragging him to the bottom of the pool. Peters stayed calm, patting her on the head whenever she allowed him to surface. Luckily, Kasatka let Peters go long enough for him to escape although she chased him as he swam to safety.

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