I have responded to this article, but just incase this comment doesn't pass the moderation process, here it is.
There is a lot of scientific and factual evidence out there, here are some of them for you too
Blackfish replies to Seaworld's interpretation of Blackfish and the links proving what is true and where Seaworld lied are all in here
1. swimming 100 miles per day - Ken Balcomb has studied the SR's for 37 years and documented them swimming 75 miles per day average. HERE I think the point that is trying to be made is whether the orcas across the globe are hunting, playing or just socializing, they are constantly in motion even when sleeping. As you can see from video evidence, Seaworld orcas are not. Using the West Nile Virus which has killed Seaworld orcas, no recorded cases in the wild as it is carried by mosquito, had they not been logging at the surface, they wouldn't have been bitten. Seaworld often say they are sleeping but as you should know cetacean brains are designed so they can shut off half at a time to constantly be in motion even when sleeping.
Video evidence of Seaworld orcas inactivity
2. Dorsal fin collapse is easily explained by both Naomi Rose and Todd Robeck Seaworld vet in the recent debate. Do take note though that Todd Robeck admits that the Seaworld website is misleading by using just the data from Dr Ingrid Visser and both agree that dorsal fin collapse in the wild is only 1%. His is however incorrect that the dorsal fin is made of cartilage it is actually made of collagen. This seems to be the best source for the information as it does show both scientific and Seaworld's opinion in this matter.
In response to this statement ''so SeaWorld has been called out for misrepresenting that figure. The point is that collapsed dorsal fins do occur in the wild ''.
The point actually is that Seaworld deliberately manipulated the information and has misled people with it, hence the protest from Dr Visser and their own vet admitted that.
3. Longevity -
Firstly was there a need for the scientist turned activist comment. Naomi Rose still received her phD in the social dynamics of killer whales.
She oversees HSI campaigns to protect wild and captive marine mammals and is a member of the International Whaling Commissions Scientific Committee.
She has published popular and scientific articles and lectures at several universities.
She participates in task forces and workshops at International, National and State Level.
She received her PhD on the social dynamics of killer whales in 1992 from the University of California in Santa Cruz.
So whether you think she is an activist or not is irrelevant to your 'unbiased' blog. You say you too have a PhD so does that become non existent because you write a pro cap blog?
As for the longevity claims there are actually research papers out there proving that captive orcas DO NOT live as long as their wild counterparts.
SeaWorld's explanation of longevity comparisons between wild and captive populations states: "The issue of killer whale lifespan is one that is often misconstrued and overly simplified. The simple truth is that no one knows." But then they go on to say that they do know: "The data we do have show that killer whales at SeaWorld are living as long as their counterparts in the wild. "
But how long do they live in natural habitats?
This paper isn't as old as the one you claimed to find, this is 2005 and reveals
46 years for Northern Resident females from 1973 to 1996 and 30 years from 1996 to 2004;
50 years for Southern and Northern Resident combined females from 1973 to 1987;
39 years for Southern Alaska Resident females from 1984 to 2001;
31 years for Northern Resident males from 1973 to 1996 and 19 years from 1996 to 2004;
29 years for Southern and Northern Resident combined males from 1973 to 1987; and 31 years for Southern Alaska Resident males from 1984 to 2001. (The complete breakdown is in Table 14 on page 55.)
The 2005 Olesiuk et al paper is the best summary of orca lifespans to date with hard data. One important caveat however, is that those data are from a population that was quite likely significantly culled by random shootings prior to the start of the field studies. The estimates in Olesiuk et al are based on observations beginning in 1973, and mortalities from shootings may have been high for decades prior to that date, which could have significantly biased the lifespan estimates downward, because the killed animals would have added to the ranks of older age classes during the study if they had not been killed.
This 2012 paper describes something briefly discussed in the 2005 paper: female reproductive senescense, or menopause. A striking similarity between humans and orcas comes clear in the female post-reproductive lifespans.
Orcas and humans (and pilot whales) are the only mammals known to science (so far) to exhibit menopause. For both humans and orcas, females are reproductive for about 25 years until around 40 years of age, but often live 3 or 4 decades after their last offspring is born. In natural orca communities where mating is governed by cultural traditions (along with diet, language, etc.), the first calf is born when the mother is about 14-15 years old. Most human females are capable of having their first baby at about that age. At SeaWorld, females are often bred much earlier, at 6 or 7 years old, indicating either artificial inducement by hormonal supplements, or the absence of cultural restraints, or both.
We don't have definite birth years for the older orca females, but several have been post-reproductive since the photo-ID studies began in 1973, and are still alive, indicating they are at least around 75 now, and some are older. That is roughly equivalent to human life spans.
Male maturation rates are also very similar for humans and orcas, beginning in early to mid-teens with full maturity in late teens. This indicates that full male lifespans in undisturbed populations may also be similar. Olesiuk, et al., p. 33:
So those studied in 2012 are known to be at least 75 years old. Oh, but hey, at least no one is anthropomorphizing here, there is no need to compare them to human baseball players as the scientific evidence speaks for itself.
When Seaworld have 75 year old orcas in their tanks then they can claim they live as long as their wild counterparts.
4. Attacks and deaths = there are 4 deaths by captive orcas not 3 - Keltie Byrne, Daniel Dukes, Alex Martinez and Dawn Brancheau, many near death and many many incidents. If you think that is a good rate over 50 years, then compare that to the wild population where there have been 5 incidents and no deaths, 2 involving orcas tipping an iceflow no contact with humans made, 1 where they sank a boat tipping 6 people into the water, no human contact made, 1 where a boy swimming with seals was bumped on the shoulder as if the attack had been aborted and 1 where an orca did grab a leg but immediately let go.
As for your video Mel taught his pod how to catch sealion pups without risking death from permanent beaching, only 7 orcas in the world have been recorded as able to do this. Transient orcas ''playing'' with their food is something predators do, cats play with their prey too.
In comparison of the 5 incidents the wild orcas realised it was a mistake and let go, even they guy who needed over 100 stitches said the orca could have killed him outright which it indeed could, the captive orcas on the other hand did not stop, these people were not merely drowned their autopsy reports prove that, they were well and truly attacked.
I note you have no links to their autopsy reports if you want them just let me know.
It isn't just death at Seaworld that shows these attacks, they are also logged on Seaworld's own animal profiles. In order to prove that captivity is the issue causing aggression you only need to look at those profiles.
Kasatka Seaworld log 12 incidents against her -
Her profile states Kasatkas minor aggressive bouts are seen more often when social problems occur with other whales.
Emits aggressive behaviour quick head movements, jaw popping, snapping of jaws ans sliding out of the water to challenge strangers
Her aggressive incidents with trainers seem to occur after trainer switches with minimal or no reinforcement or WHEN SHE WAS SEPARATED FROM HER CALF AND THE CALF WAS IN DISTRESS. Since Takara's birth her aggression towards trainers increased and her waterwork relationships are very much dependent on the whereabouts of Takara.
There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Ken Peters was lucky to escape the tank with his life, it would have killed the majority of us.
You would think the solution would be to stop separating her from her calf wouldn't you? Doesn't this prove the aggression is caused by Seaworld? Separating her from her calves knowing that it causes aggression seems pretty irresponsible wouldn't you say?
As for the incident with Tilikum you are right something did piss him off.
Tilikums animal profile states
During times of frustration due to social stress in the environment Tilikum has exhibited aggressive behaviour by mouthing the stage, vocalizations, deep fast swim, tightening body posture, and sometimes lunging towards the control trainer.
This was the show minutes before the attack
As you can see, deep fast swim, definite social stress to the point one of the orcas at 0:56 is knocked out of the water by the other. You can also see the trainers have left the stage as they have lost control and the deep fast swims continued into the back pool.
In light of the fact they Seaworld already knew that Tilikum lunged at control trainers during periods of social stress, do you think it was a good idea for them to allow Dawn to continue the show and to lay down with him after they had just witnessed the incident minutes before?
There are also many incidents including the deaths here which also provide you with the links to their profiles and the autopsy results. Daniel Dukes is particularly interesting seeing as Seaworld stated he was found on Tilikum's back and died of hypothermia when the truth is the medical examiners report shows many pre death injuries including his scrotum being completely avulsed, and post death injuries showing Tilikum continued to ''play'' with him. This is not the story Seaworld gave is it?
5. You start off saying that separation is indisputable and you are correct Seaworld HAVE played on the word calf. Just as I would say about my daughter - my baby, when she was a baby, I still call her my baby even though she is 18.
To compare them with social dogs again is wrong. Dogs and cats even in the wild leave their mothers to form their own family and territory, in the case of lions the males are actively chased out of the pride. Even humans rarely live their whole lives with their mothers, they eventually leave home and start families of their own.
Orcas are however different in that respect. They stay in matraline pods their whole life, so when people pull Blackfish down emphasizing the fact that Takara was 12 when she was taken and she was taken with her calf Kohana. They fail to say that both of those were part of Kasatkas matraline, had they been wild, Takara would have started her own family BUT she would have stayed in Kasatka's matraline group with her brothers, sisters and their calves too.
When Seaworld released this video
saying 'why would we do that' Well why would they do that??? What they failed to do was finish the story. Kohana was taken with Takara that is true, but she was then taken to Spain separated from her mother and is still there to this day. Takara was moved again leaving Trua behind too. These orcas are alive and physical proof that They Do Do THAT!
When Seaworld released this video to try to convince people that they did indeed recognize the importance of social bonds, they couldn't have picked a worst orca as an example of that. Katina with 2 of her calves.
Katina, who is a wild caught orca, had Kalina first,
Kalina was taken to do a tour of the Seaworld parks and not returned until she was 9 years old. Whilst away she had a calf of her own at the extremely young age of 7, 18 months gestation so she was 5 and a half years old and Seaworld allowed her to become pregnant. When Keet was 18 months old his mum was moved again as she was pregnant again.
SEAWORLD SAID KEET BECAME DEPRESSED after her move but he was cared for by Haida 2 and made friends with Kyuquot and Katerina, despite that at aged 5 he was moved to away from them too.
She then had Keto - SEAWORLD SAID HE WAS MOVED OUT OF ORLANDO TO CORRECT HIS BAD HABITS he was 3. He stayed at San Diego for 9 months, then was moved to Ohio and then to San Antonio. He finally formed a bond with Kayla even fighting with Ky over her and was then reunited with his brother and they too became really close. Despite the bonds he made as he would have naturally been at his mothers side all his life, he was then sent to Loro Parque never seeing any of them again. People wonder then why he killed poor Alix Martinez, Seaworld knew he was messed up as they tried to correct his bad habits, who gave him those bad habits? Even though they knew about Keto they still let the trainers in Loro Parque swim with them, being supervised by Brian Rokeach didn't stop the death.
Then there is Skyla how old was she when Seaworld took her from her mother? 2, what was the reason for that??
When Kalina died from septicemia, she had none of her calves with her, why was that as Seaworld state they don't separate them??? Those 4 orca would have stayed in Katina's matriline after Kalinas death, so thats one calf.
Katerina - Katina's second calf was taken aged 2, and sent to San Antonio, she died there aged 10. Why did they take her from Katina as Seaworld's lovely videos say they respect the mother and calf bond, and the simpering mother of 4 says 'we wouldn't do that' but they would and have.
Taku was so messed up he mated with his own mother, producing Nalani a full inbred who can go nowhere as she will never be part of the breeding programme, if she ever is there certainly would be uproar as no respectable institution would breed an animal knowing they were full inbred. He died at San Antonio of pneumonia aged 14.
Unna - where is Unna and how old was she when she was moved?? She has been on birth control since miscarrying her first calf. Why isn't she still with Katina??
Ikaika was only 4 when he was traded for 4 Belugas and sent to Marineland. After winning the court battle he was brought back to Seaworld, so why wasn't he brought back to the same tank as his mother as he would have been with her for life in the wild??
Nalani - beautiful Nalani can't go anywhere as she can never be used for the breeding programme due to being the result of mother and son mating.
7 calves later she had Makaio, who is still with her. She should have all her calves with her and as 3 of them have died from septicemia, pneumonia and infection which then raises the question of how have these orca got those infections as Seaworld says their tanks are free from bacteria, infection and pathogens. Look through the causes of death for the other orca too, this is obviously NOT the case.
To produce a video saying Seaworld are aware of the mother and calf bonds makes the situation so much worse, as ignorance could have been an excuse, now there is no excuse for separating these orca.
The orcas in the video are her youngest calf and inbred Nalani.
6. Firstly the reports aren't from 20 years ago. Lets take a look. If we pick a none Blackfish trainers as we all know their views and why they want the captivity to end, and go for say Bridgette Pirtle who you will be aware is now saying she supports Seaworld. Ignoring what she had to say about Blackfish and looking at why she said she left Seaworld seems to be the right way to answer this one.
In this interview she says ''I spent too many years watching decisions made to spend money on show elements, playgrounds or barbeque restaurants. Now is the time to let actions speak louder then words. Give the animals the best. Update facilities that haven’t seen any expansion since the 80s. Ultimately, the same concerns voiced as a result of Dawn’s accident had been voiced after incidents in the past. Lessons not learned and continually disregarded. Many of those taking care of the animals are fighting for less responsibility to be placed upon their ever-drooping dorsal fins. Show schedules, public interactions, and dining obligations create a strain on animals already in a highly stressed environment. They are proudly introduced as “ambassadors” but they are simply work horses for a profit hungry industry desperate to remain relevant in a society that has already begun to recognize we have moved past such a trite necessity. Until parks like SeaWorld exhale their dying breathe, tighter regulations and stronger accountability for adhering to such guidelines is a given.''
The breeding program should end, and animals for entertainment should end.
What are they going to do with all these whales?
That was a battle I fought in my last year at SeaWorld. It was disappointing to me to see more money spent on parts of the park that didn't benefit the animals. They'd spend millions of dollars renovating a children's play area or revamping the sound system.
But there wasn't enough pool space [in San Antonio].
When you look at the Animal Welfare Act, the parks meet it, but the act is outdated. Killer whales aren't even acknowledged as being dangerous.
In this interview
she tells the story of Unna who miscarried during a show. The show had to continue and after it was over trainers had to dive in and pick up the pieces of fetus. She went on to say she had 3 miscarriages in total. Seaworld acknowledge she had one saying her health was so compromised she has been on medication ever since.
Despite asking her to clarify this she chose not to respond. Either she is lying saying Unna had 3 miscarriages or Seaworld are lying saying she has only had one.
Even in her interview with Eric Davis of Awesome Ocean and Stand with Seaworld she said
What would Bridgette do if she was in charge of SeaWorld?
“I would end animals for entertainment purposes, and stop the breeding program''
This isn't a 20 years ago trainer is it so I guess her comments on what it is like to work for Seaworld are relevant.
Secret Agendas and Summary
Had you looked in the right places for what the agendas were you would have found that NO ONE has said they want Seaworld to close, nor have they said sump the orcas in the open ocean.
Naomi Rose put forward a win win situation to Seaworld, win for the orcas and win for Seaworld
First, orcas in captivity are out of shape; they are the equivalent of couch potatoes, as the largest orca tank in the world is less than one ten-thousandth of one percent (0.0001%) the size of the smallest home range of wild orcas.
Second, they are in artificial and often incompatible social groups. This contributes to chronic stress, which can depress the immune system and leave captive orcas susceptible to infections they would normally fight off in the wild. WE CAN SEE THE PROOF OF THAT IN SEAWORLD'S OWN ANIMAL PROFILES.
Third, they often break their teeth chewing compulsively on metal gates. These broken teeth, even drilled and cleaned regularly by irrigation, are clear routes for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. These are the obvious factors; there are almost certainly others contributing to the elevated mortality seen in captivity. THIS HAS BEEN PROVEN TOO SEE THE MARINELAND V SEAWORLD COURT FILE.
These facilities can work with experts around the world to create sanctuaries where captive orcas can be rehabilitated and retired. These sanctuaries would be sea pens or netted-off bays or coves, in temperate to cold water natural habitat. They would offer the animals respite from performing and the constant exposure to a parade of strangers (an entirely unnatural situation for a species whose social groupings are based on family ties and stability -- "strangers" essentially do not exist in orca society). Incompatible animals would not be forced to cohabit the same enclosures and family groups would be preserved.
Show business trainers would no longer be necessary. Expert caretakers would continue to train retired whales for veterinary procedures, but would not get in the water and would remain at a safe distance (this is known in zoo parlance as "protected contact"). And the degree to which they interact directly with the whales would be each whale's choice.
A fundamental premise of these sanctuaries, however, is that eventually they would empty. Breeding would not be allowed and captive orcas would no longer exist within the next few decades.
YOU HAVE OBVIOUSLY READ IT JUST CHOOSING TO PICK OUT THE ONE LINE, NOT THE WHOLE THING.
PETA who Seaworld make people believe are their arch enemies also put forward a plan WHICH DOESN'T INVOLVE CLOSING DOWN SEAWORLD
Lori Marino put forward a view on what Seaworld could do which AGAIN doesn't involve closing Seaworld
You can also see here in the Q and A's from Awesome Ocean and Mark Simmons, at 33:50 even Mark Simmons said the ocean didn't kill Keiko.
There is also then this which is a whole new way to see captive animals the footage of those orcas actually being orcas catching their own fish, being pack in their matraline pods, swimming in the kelp etc could be relayed back into the park.
WHERE I STAND.
You said at the beginning of this I will share the information my personal research has uncovered, so have I.
There is no grey area here, factual evidence from official documents cannot be disputed we know that. Court transcripts cannot be made up, necropsy reports, autopsy reports etc so this are undisputed FACTUAL EVIDENCE.
What I have found when speaking to people to try to show them this evidence is
Seaworld, Stand with Seaworld, Awesome Ocean, and all the related sites run by Eric Davis, Erin McKinney and Mike block anyone showing a different opinion, so how can people make up their minds about anything if they are not being allowed to see the documentation for themselves. You said yourself you have research this for over a year, but you still missed all those important links.
When you speak to people who do support Seaworld, it starts with being accused of being a PETA supporter. I don't support PETA's kill policy anymore than they do, so once that barrier is down, it moves to Blackfish, my usual response is pretend it didn't exist then, the evidence is before Blackfish's time of 2013. They then accept the evidence, dont read it come back with some stupid thing and resort to name calling, check my twitter for proof of that. If they get a retaliation then I'm nasty lol.
On the other hand I have spoken to people who have said it won't change their mind but thank you for being so civil. I am always civil unless it comes from the other person first, even then I don't say shut up as you are more noisy than your dead mother was last night, or your dead mother can't suck properly. Is there any need for things like that?
Check out the Stand with Seaworld page, post after post about PETA fueling anger and paranoia against anyone who tries to show them the actual facts. Check Awesome Ocean, nearly all the posts are manipulating data, bullying individuals even a 10 year old girl who spoke out against Seaworld and they have people in such a frenzy that they thing everyone is the enemy. I have debunked those posts over and over as Eric and his friends obviously do have an agenda, working for a marketing company they obviously think they are doing great marketing for Seaworld when in fact they do more damage to Seaworld than the anti captivity people do. Check my blog, one article after another corrected with the right information, not manipulated facts to try to push an agenda
The whole thing is out of hand, people like me are not stupid those orcas can't go back to the open ocean for the following reasons
- 14 of them are hybrid including the new calf with no conservation value what so ever. The powers that be would never let them out into the wild to corrupt the wild gene pool and where would they go they have no equivalents out there?
- 2 are inbred they wouldn't be allowed to go either.
- In any other institution they would be in a Marius situation. I am glad they are not as I don't believe Marius should have been killed but he was as he wasn't genetically right to enter the wild gene pool.
- Those who need tooth flushing can never be out in the ocean as they would always need that husbandry.
- Those on medication like Ike and Unna couldn't go
Seaworld need to be open and transparent with the people who support them. Many believe the captive orcas pay for the rescues as their ticket money funds them. That is a downright lie as Prescott fund funds the rescues as it does for all the other facilities, manatee club funds their rescues and sea turtle rescues are funded too. Take a look at page 20 on here, Seaworld had nothing to rescue with in 2001 not even a boat, yet they tell people they have been rescuing for 50 years.
Seaworld claim all the people on Blackfish are activists, they were asked their opinions as they are orca experts take a look at their credentials here
Nothing will change the fact that 45 orcas have died in those tanks that is almost 1 per year, 244 dolphins have died, 23 Belugas have died, pilot whales, false killer whales dead.
In 50 years, things may have been improving but when Seaworld and their supporters say they receive top vet care, restaurant quality fish, top dental care, when it isn't it tooth flushing for the damaged teeth and give people a false impression of what has happened in those tanks which people like me all know about, they are the cause of the friction between the 2 sides, fueled by Stand with Seaworld and the lies they tell people too.
If it doesn't change peoples minds that is fair enough, but to not even look at the evidence because they have been led to believe anti caps are some sort of monsters is wrong, the evidence is there, add in the links so it is unbiased as you say it is supposed to be and if you need more evidence just ask as I have also been studying this since the days Cuddles was in a tank in the UK.
There is always 2 side to everything these 3 videos for me sum it up visually
Wild orca matraline
Why do they sum it up for me?
The matraline pod in the second video is Corky's mother and her family
Tilikum 13th December 2014 after refusing to do a show
Do you think its OK that he feels like this and displays it too?
Now do you see why captivity is wrong for these creatures?