The Enslavement of Captive Orcas
The Enslavement of Captured Orcas Orcas are often called the “angels of the sea”. They swim gracefully in the vast ocean ecosystem and it is a privilege to observe them in their natural habitat. Sadly, orcas are captured and sold to marine institutions for entertainment purposes, which adversely affects the whales’ population in the wild. According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation website, there are a “total of 59 orcas held in captivity.
..in at least 14 marine parks in 8 different countries” (Whale and Dolphin Conservation par. 2). This demonstrates human beings’ selfishness in finding pleasurable activities without considering the emotions of the entertainer, in this case, the orca. Since further conservation efforts have been made, we should be obligated to change our outlook on the enslavement of marine mammals.
Keeping large marine mammals in wildlife parks such as SeaWorld is a problem because of the lack of spacious living quarters. “SeaWorld confines orcas, who could swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild, to tanks that, to them, are the size of a bathtub” as stated on the SeaWorld of Hurt website (SeaWorld of Hurt par. 4). This results in aggression and ongoing stress between the orcas as they are constantly being shoved into a extremely small space. Orcas can become severely injured and are frequently killed due to the brutality towards them by humans. In total, there “have been over 30 incidents involving captive Orcas that resulted in human injury or death” (Whale Facts par.
18). Since orcas are forced to exist in less than ideal situations, they retreat to aggressive solutions due to anxiety and repressed frustrations. When placed in captivity, orcas lose various aspects of their abilities to survive in the wild. Over time, their dorsal fins gradually collapse and resume the “curled” position for the remainder of their lives. According to the About Education website, “the water [in the orca’s natural habitats] provides pressure to the fin, keeping the tissues inside healthy and straight, and encouraging the dorsal fin to remain straight” (Kennedy par.
4). This results from swimming in small structures, dehydration, and the gradual decrease in food. Substances are normally distributed by orcas catching their prey in the wild waters of the ocean. In captivity, “their diet is that of dead frozen fish and vitamin supplements, rather than the live fresh fish they would catch, or the more meat-based diet of sea lions, and other whales” (Tierney par. 47). Orcas would be lacking nutrients in their system and would not be receiving a balanced diet needed to thrive when performing high quality shows.
In order for orcas to feel comfortable in their surrounding, SeaWorld should build larger enclosures that are double the size of the original. Orcas will be more comfortable swimming in large structures and be able to perform with more enthusiasm. The average cost for constructing this pens would average ten million dollars and would be a wise investment (Associated Press par. 9). Orcas would serve SeaWorld for a maximum of ten years in order to fulfill the needs of humans who desire to be entertained.
After reaching this goal, the orca will be retired to a secluded sanctuary on the Alaskan coast surrounded by a net where they would live for the remainders of their lives. The orcas will begin boat recall training with the consent of veterinary and scientific staff where they will follow a military vessel around a larger enclosed area near the designated seapen I mentioned before (The Orca Network par. 39). This technique will help the marine mammals adapt to their original environment easier and assist them in finding substantial food. Overall, the orca retirement plan would help Seaworld gain more respect for their efforts in marine mammal safety and care.
Some plans were ineffective such as releasing the orcas directly into the wild without the conditioning process. Keiko, the star of the family film Free Willy, was allowed to roam free after a short period of conditioning and died 15 months after his release due to acute pneumonia (The History of Keiko). This tragedy resulted in poor planning on the execution of the plan and the lack of supervising Keiko in his environment. If my plan is put into action, the whales would be closely supervised both in the sea pens and outside of the enclosures. My plan would be well thought-out and executed in a precise way where nothing could go wrong. After the process is underway, the whales would be away from the chaos that surrounds SeaWorld and be able to journey back to their homeland.
The enslavement of orcas for entertainment purposes is both horrifying and disgusting! Whales are absolutely beautiful animals and they do not deserve such treatment. They should be allowed to roam free in the vast ocean waters with their own kind, not swimming in small, highly chlorinated pools. I am hoping that people will respond to this crisis in the most efficient way possible by petitioning for these whales to be released into the wild. If SeaWorld commits to my proposed plan, then maybe other marine parks around the world will follow their example. Like Jane Goodall exclaimed: “it’s not that humans and nonhumans are identical..
.but the lack of understanding that led to the slave trade is the same lack of understanding many people have about animals today”. We are capable of showing our dedicated support to ensure that these beautiful orcas have an ally, not an enemy.