"Loved sitting and watching the dolphins in the underwater cave (so peaceful) and being able to feed and touch them above the water. Think it’s a good idea that it’s only certain times of day now at an extra price because before it was too overcrowded and could get close. Best part of the day!!" -
This is a quote taken directly from SeaWorld Orlando's website. To me this screams ignorance, to others perhaps a fun outing. For years SeaWorld has been a destination for many to watch the famous "Killer Whale" shows. The public are mesmerized by these beautiful mammals performing tricks and splashing the hundreds watching with water. The impression given by the "trainers" to the visitors of these parks are always positive and happy. "The Orcas are happy. The Orca's enjoy doing trick's to a packed audience. The Orca's belong here." These are among the many quotes I found while digging up old articles from an Orca attack last year (if you are not familiar with this attack I suggest searching for it - very interesting indeed). Upon further research I was, yet again, appalled with mankind. I have spent two very long weeks researching the Orca's kept specifically at SeaWorld. Some of the things I discovered were not only heartbreaking but also mind blowing.
The collapsed dorsal fin is the first indication as to the many problems captivity can cause on such a powerful and large mammal. A theory from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) claims that life in captivity lowers an Orca's blood pressure due to little or no activity compared to their extremely active lives in Open Ocean. They also report that due to poor diet, lack of space and overheating of the fin itself can also be a reason for the collapse. Whatever the reason, something clearly is not right here. This is not a normal thing in the wild. In fact, it is reported to be extremely rare and unheard of.
Another health problem I stumbled upon was the extreme amount of dental work performed on these "happy" creatures. One ex-trainer has come out of the wood-work to explain to the public about some of the things she had experienced behind-the-scenes at SeaWorld. You can find the interview I am referring to here. According to Samantha Berg, the Orca's grind their teeth on the metal barriers in their enclosures. Don't be fooled though, this is not out of boredom, but purely out of frustration and anger. Thus causing their teeth to break or become much damaged. This requires many hours of painful dental surgeries on the teeth of these magnificent creatures. This would be completely unnecessary if they were just left in the wild where they belong. There is no scientific evidence to prove that Orca's do this in the wild.
The frustration of being kept in captivity often causes the Orca's to become angry and annoyed with their trainers. Often Orca's will "defy" authority and decide not to do the tricks they have been commanded to do. This sadly leads to brutal attacks on SeaWorld trainers that have even resulted in death. Yet another indication, to me, that Orcas are too smart and also too dangerous to be kept in captivity. Why would SeaWorld put their employees at risk? The fatal attack on Dawn last year from an Orca who had previously killed TWO other SeaWorld trainers should be enough indication to the company to stop artificially inseminating their Killer Whales. Let's end this cycle now before more innocent people get injured by innocent animals that are clearly just angry for being imprisoned in a concrete cell.
Artificial insemination is another hot topic I'd like to discuss. Apparently SeaWorld are culprits of altering a natural and time-consuming process. It has been reported by ex-trainers that many of the female Orcas are inseminated well before they are naturally ready to have babies. One female was inseminated at two years old. This is extremely young for an Orca to give birth and raise a calf. In the wild a female typically becomes sexually mature between the ages of six to ten. SeaWorld has been criticized for this matter but continues to force young female Orca's to give birth at a young age - often resulting in still-births and many miscarriages. Most of these are left unreported to the media, leaving the public to think that it doesn't happen. A female Orca is way too young to care for her calf at that young of age (should the calf survive) and it is usually separated from her care shortly after its birth. So not only are they treating their females like baby factories, but they are taking these beautiful creatures babies away from them. I can't even imagine how awful that must feel for the mother. Upon further research I was shocked to learn that SeaWorld breeds their most dangerous male Orca, who has a history of attacking trainers. I don't understand the logic of breeding an animal with such a violent history.
Orcas do not belong in a cement cage. They are highly intelligent, sophisticated beings that need to be out in the open ocean. I cannot stress enough to rethink a family vacation to SeaWorld or any other aquarium that holds ocean mammals. You will most definitely feel better about yourself and your decision to help the Orca's in the long run. I would rather spend a lifetime trying to save money to see these magnificent creatures in the wild than see them jumping around in a pool doing stupid tricks. Just imagine how awful YOU would feel if you were forced to live in a small area, had your food rationed and then forced to perform the same tricks over and over again to a massive audience? I know that I would hate it. I don't like being forced to do things I don't want to. Therefore we shouldn't get the Orca's to do it either.