Friday 28 February 2014

We do not separate mothers and calves. - challenging Seaworld

The importance of killer whale social structure

Quote from the video clip '' The statement Blackfish made that we separate killer whales from their calves is far from the truth, we currently have Katina with 2 of her babies and we keep them together as a family''
Well lets see if that is true. 

Firstly lets take Katina herself. Katina was an Icelandic Capture taken from her pod approximately 2 years old. Katina currently lives in Seaworld Orlando, she had 7 calves.
1985 Kalina died aged 25 and 9 days old with none of her calves in the same park
1988 Katerina separated aged 2, moved around the parks, deceased aged 10
1993 Taku extremely close to Katina resulting in mating, moved to San Antonio died a year later
1996 Unna moved to San Antonio for breeding, pregnant at 6, miscarried and been on medication since
2001 Ikaika  was transferred to Marineland Ontario, Canada on a breeding loan aged 4,  in exchange for three male beluga whales — Juno, Aurek, and Klondike
2006 Nalani STILL AT THE PARK cannot really be moved anywhere as she is full mother and son inbred
2010 Makaio STILL AT THE PARK born October 9, 2010
Had she been in the wild ALL the calves would be with her not just the last two. That is what a matriline group is. Seaworld's  own behaviour page states - ''The most fundamental social unit in a pod is a matrilineal group, which may include two or three generations of whales. A two-generation matrilineal group consists of a female whale and her offspring. A three-generation matrilineal group also includes her "grandchildren," the offspring of her female offspring. Individuals in a matrilineal group travel closely together.'' Katina's 2 generational group would be above and her 3 generation group would include 
1993 Keet (to Kalina) - left behind in San Antonio aged 18 months
2004 Kalia (to Kasatka and Keet) has never met her grandmother as she was born in San Diego
2005 Halyn (Kayla and Keet) has never met her grandmother and is now deceased
1995 Keto (to Kalina) separated age 3 to Seaworld park, now living in Loro Parque Spain
1999 Tuar (to Kalina) separated aged 5 and move to San Antonio
2004 Skyla (to Kalina) separated aged 2 and sent to Loro Parque Spain
2010 Adan (to Kohana and Keto) has never met his grandmother as he lives in Spain
2012 Victoria (to Kohana and Keto) has never met her grandmother as she lives in Spain and is now deceased

So as we see on the film Katina has 2 of her offspring with her who are Nalani and Makaio. So where are the rest of her family??

Kalina - firstly had they been wild Kalina would not be here at all as Katina is Icelandic and Winston is a Pacific Southern Resident making Kalina an Atlantic/Pacific hybrid — a unique situation that would not have occurred in the wild. However she was born on September 25th 1985. Kalina first appeared in shows at SeaWorld Orlando in 1987, billed as "Baby Shamu", performing with her mother. On February 12, 1990, Kalina was separated from her mother and made to do a 'tour' of the parks and was transferred to SeaWorld Ohio. She was moved again in October of that year to SeaWorld San Diego, and again on May 30, 1991 to SeaWorld San Antonio. At the extremely young age of 7 and a half Kalina gave birth to her first calf, Keet at Seaworld Texas. This meant that Seaworld allowed her to be pregnant at only 6 years old, whilst she was still a baby herself.  In October 1994, Kalina was moved back to SeaWorld Orlando, where she lived with eight other killer whales, including her mother and a half sister, leaving her 18 month old son behind in San Antonio.
Where was the regard to the family bonds for the 4 years Kalina spent touring?
Scientists have researched and documented that
Females typically gave birth to their first viable calf at 14.1 years of age (SE=0.050; range 10-21 years) and those that survived produced a total of 4.7 calves at mean intervals of 4.9 years (SE=0.18; range 2-11 years) over a reproductive lifespan typically lasting about 24 years.
She gave birth to her second calf, another male, Keto on June 17, 1995. Keto was taken from Kalina at 3 and a half, he was moved from park to park as she was and now lives in Loro Parque, never to see his mother again.
Kalina then suffered a miscarriage and then gave birth to another male, Tuar, on June 22, 1999. Out of all her children, Kalina and Tuar spent the most time together. A whole 5 years! During the five years Kalina and Tuar created their mother/calf bond, she became pregnant for the 5th time. Just months before Tuar turned 5 years old, Kalina gave birth to her first daughter, Skyla. Two months later, Tuar was taken away from Kalina and sent to SeaWorld in Texas, never to see him again.
Out of four children, Kalina now has only Skyla left. But that didn’t last long as Skyla was taken away when she was just 2 years old and moved to Spain with her brother, Keto whom she had never met, never to see her mother again.
Where was the regard for Kalina's family bonds, she died with none of her calves in the same park as her?

Lets move on to Katerina 
Katerina was born on November 4th 1988 to Katina and Kanduke. She also would not have been here had they been in the wild as Katina was Icelandic and Kanduke was a T7 Transient.  
 She lived only 2 years with her family before being following in Kalina's footsteps and being moved around the Seaworld parks.
She was first transferred to Ohio where she joined Kayla an orca of the same age and later was moved to San Antonio. At San Antonio she became a surrogate sister to her young cousin Keet. She died aged 10 at San Antonio.
Where was the regard for Katerina's family bond's, she was separated from her mother aged 2, never saw her again and died in a different Seaworld Park? 

Taku - 
Taku  was born on Sept 9th 1993 to mother Katina and father Tilikum. He was extremely close to his mother.
In 2004 he met a new whale who had been transferred called Takara, he liked her and followed her everywhere. 18 moths later she gave birth to his first calf Trua.
In September 2006 his mum also gave birth to his calf Nalani, which made her a full inbred from mother and son. Sickeningly she is referred to as 'the first successful inbred calf' I believe there is nothing successful about it, it should never have happened. He was moved to San Antonio in November 2006 and died from West Nile Virus in October 2007. 
Where was the regard for the extremely close bond Taku had to his mother, after attacking trainers and mating with his mother it shows something was mentally disturbed within him

Unna lived with her mother, father, siblings, and other whales at her birthplace in Orlando for the first six years of her life. In August 2002, Katina gave birth to her fifth calf, a male named Ikaika. Unna was there to assist her mother during the labor. In December 2002, Unna was transferred to SeaWorld San Antonio because the park only had three whales at the time: two males who were fighting over one female. In late April 2006, Unna gave birth to a stillborn calf. Her health was compromised after this event and she has been on medication since. She is only allowed to work with the most experienced trainers after showing discrimination between trainers and aggression towards other whales especially to the older males in the group. Seperation can be a challenge for Unna, especially after the med pool for injections, endoscoping etc. She needs to be reinforced effectively to gain her trust.
Where was the regard for the family bond with Unna and her mother who assisted her mothers birth as a wild whale would have done, but then was moved to become pregnant as San Antonio only had 3 whales left?

Ikaika was born on August 25th 2002. Ikaika was transferred to Marineland (Ontario) Ontario, Canada on a breeding loan on November 18, 2006, in exchange for three male beluga whales — Juno, Aurek, and Klondike — who joined Spooky within the Wild Arctic area of SeaWorld Orlando. Ikaika is a growing male, his flukes have started to curl under, and he is about 17 feet (5.2 m) long. On November 13, 2011, Ikaika was transported to SeaWorld San Diego, after a legal battle to get him back as he was attacking Kiska and they had to be separated. 
Where was the regard for the family bond with Ikaika and his mother, he would have stayed with her for life and even on being transferred back was sent to a different Seaworld Park?

Of the 15 Killer Whales that Seaworld's own website state should be in the three generational matraline group, only 2 remain. This is not just in this one family group, the separating of mothers and calves is a regular occurrence across Seaworld parks, which is made worse by the fact that they actually put in print that they understand the matraline structure of these pods. Obviously 15 orca would be far too many to have in one tank, so in that case then the captive breeding programme should have been modified to take into account the importance of the family groups.

Other calves separated from their mothers include
Kayla      -   separated at 2 years
Kohana   -   separated at 3 yrs 9 months
Shouka   -  separated at 9 years
Takara    -  separated at 12 years
Tekoa     -  separated at 3 years
Trua       -   separated at 3 years
Splash    -   separated at 2 yrs 6 months
Sumar    -   separated at 10 months

Seaworld seem to cloud the issue and facts by getting ex trainers such as Mark Simmonds to make statements such as the one below stating that Seaworld do not separate nursing mothers and calves. Well no one has said they do!!   Chuck Tompkins understood in the first video by using Katina and her 2 calves as an example, the one below is just to create extra confusion to those who haven't researched it themselves and just believe what they are told.

In the Blackfish movie the commentary clearly states Kalina was 4 and a half years old and doesn't state and age for Takara.There has been much debate over this section of the film with the orca's used being in dispute and not matching the commentary, this again distracts from what is being said.  So the best way to deal with that is to ignore the background and listen JUST to the commentary to prove that what is said is actually correct and can be proven.
 As Seaworld says THE TRUTH IS IN OUR PARKS.

1 comment:

  1. Based on this info, I think that it might be safe to say that seaworld's whales would last longer if they stayed with their babies as the whales might end up be depressed as they want their babies back. Quite sad if you ask me.