"Why?" That is a tough question to answer for someone else, but I'm gonna try...
Tonight I heard on a blip of information by the local news station about the fatality of the orca trainer at SeaWorld in Orlando. The announcer wondered, "Why the whale had a history of violent behavior." Why? Let's see. This is a sentient being that is taken from it's known environment, forced to live it's days in a too small habitat that is totally foreign, hand fed and forced to perform tricks that are not natural. However "humane" that training might be, an orca isn't meant to lift humans out of the water and twirl around on command.
In the wild orcas are social mammals who live in pods with family members and communicate with each other using echolocation. Orcas can swim up to 100 miles a day, swim as fast as 30 miles per hour and dive hundreds of feet below the surface. But in captivity they are enclosed in aquariums where they would have to lap their tanks something like 2,500 times a day just to get enough exercise. They are made to live with not only "non-family" members but also other species. The tanks they swim in do not allow their communication system to work well with competing noises from crowds, filtration systems, etc.
In the wild they also use their echolocation to hunt prey. They are not meant to rise to the water's surface, open their mouths and wait for dead food to be dropped in.
In the wild orcas can live to be between 50-80 years old (males vs. females) but in captivity if an orca survives the capture and relocation process (many die during this time) they have to live in "treated" sea water and often develop bacterial infections. Their life spans are greatly shortened because of their captivity, on average they live 6-10 years.
And very important to understand...in the wild orcas are not considered a threat to humans. But when you imprison a living thing, restrict it's movement, force unnatural behavior upon it, quell any natural instinct, impose an unnatural environment and take it away from it's family let's see if it does not go stark raving mad. Let's see if it doesn't display aggressive, depressed and abnormal behavior.
My heart goes out to the family of the trainer. She didn't die because the orca did something wrong. She died because tons of people pay money to SeaWorld so they can "ooh" and "aah" over the tricks and water splashes from these beautiful creatures. There are currently 42 orcas in captivity. For me, that is 42 too many.
So "why"...? My guess would be that it's whole life it has been pushed...and it finally snapped.
"There is about as much educational benefit to be gained in studying dolphins... in captivity as there would be studying mankind by only observing prisoners held in solitary confinement"
- Jacques Consteau
4 years ago