Orca Whales (Black Fish) in Captivity

The documentary is called, Black fish, which talks about the Orca whales. They are like dolphins and are used at sealand/Sea World parks. You know those amazing black and white creatures that people will swim with at these parks, and who trainers get to do all kinds of tricks so that the public is amazed. They are beautiful, albeit deadly in captivity.

The part that most sadens me is when I learnt how they were caught- Trapped. The babies are separated from their mothers and families and are taken away from their homes, the Ocean. After the babies are taken, the entire family (they always travel as a family as most animals/mammmals do) still stay around in the danger of the ships and scream and grieve for the baby/calf that has been stolen.

The baby, in this case, is named Tilikum and was taken to Sealand and later to Seaworld. Initially he was great and all the trainers loved him, until a tragedy happened. During the training process, baby Tilikum had to stay in cages overnight that grew too small for the growing fish. This means that you have this giant fish in something like a bathtub- he could hardly move around. The park did this for their (the fish) protection because they were afraid the fish would swim away as they were in an isolated part of the ocean- it was barred off. If Tilikum did not perform as expected, he would go without food for a WHOLE night and this happened repeatedly. I started to cry here because they showed the fish trying to put his mouth to where the bucket of food was and the trainers intentionally refused to feed him. And then he had to go into a small cage all night to make matters worse.

So after some years, the fish passively attacked one of the trainers by pulling her into the water, bringing her up for air and repeated the potential drowing process. She didn’t die. Later Tilikum was sent to SeaWorld because he was requested for breeding purposes. Sealand was going under in business, plus with that incident, decided it was probably in Tilikum’s best interest. He was in isolation most of the time because the female Orca’s would attack him constantly, gang up on him,etc. So this fish that is meant to live in a family, was spending hours on end alone (and in captivity). So when the trainers came in the morning, he was so happy to interact with them. When Tilikum breeded one of the female Orcas, the baby intially spent every moment with his mom which is how it is in the wild. Apparently a male offspring never leaves his mother’s side for his entire life. Interesting? So, here is this new calf who at first was enjoying his life at the Park, but because he was very disobedient as he was not complying with the trainers, he was
taken from the mother and sent elsewhere. In the documentary, they reported that the mother screamed and made vocals that had never been heard before. She was grieving and was trying to communicate with her baby but he was already shipped away.

How sad is this? I know that the Zoos and these parks are supposed to be a refuge from the wild and help the animals live longer, but in the case of these Orcas- like humans the females can live up to 100 years old in the wild, and the males about 60 years. In captivity they only live around 25-35 years because of the kind of illtreatment they are faced with. I couldn’t finish the documentary because I was way too  emotional about it. It’s like watching Roots. Why must we humans be so cruel? Or am I being overly dramatic about it?Image

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