Research at SeaWorld Benefits Killer Whales in the Wild - which bit??
The killer whale research we conduct has direct benefit for science. The animals in our care allow researchers, biologists and conservationists to better understand and conserve these remarkable animals in the wild. SeaWorld conducts and publishes the results of research on and about killer whales, provides access to our parks and animals in controlled environments, and supports field research projects around the world.
As the orca are not behaving naturally, the research allows scientists to research captive orca only.
This research contributes to conservation of wild whales.
As you can see from the list below, when you put the research into date order it forms a pattern where research hasn't been done for any other reason than for Seaworld itself. i.e. Studies for American captures, studies for Icelandic captures, research into illness's after their orca have died, eg, west nile virus, bacterial infection, reproduction research, leading to AI, sperm freezing and lastly, Sumars death. Apart from the Chinook Salmon research for the Southern residents all the other papers explain what has happened in your own tanks or have been needed for another phase in Seaworld history.
While all killer whales around the world are not classified as endangered, the distinct population segment of Southern Resident killer whales off the U.S. and Canadian Pacific Coast are listed as endangered by the National Marine Fisheries Service and also protected by Environment Canada under the Canadian Species at Risk Act. The research we conduct and support at SeaWorld is made available to the scientific community and may someday help researchers understand why this population of whales is in decline and perhaps help to reverse the trend.
Scientists and wild whale biologists have already established why the Southern Resident killer whales had declined. As you wanted to capture fish eating orca for your tanks you targeted the Southern Residents. During 15 years of capturing in Washington and British Columbia. Many of those were caught by YOUR whale catchers, you took out a whole breeding generation for your tanks and many many died.
275 to 307 whales were caught
55 were transferred to aquariums
12 or 13 died during capture operations
Scientific research performed at SeaWorld is carried out by our own research staff, and by scientists from national and internationally renowned universities and research organizations such as UCLA, the San Diego Zoo and the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute.
We publish the results of our research in peer-reviewed journals, making it available to scientists, those who manage animal populations, and other interested people around the world. SeaWorld scientists have authored or co-authored hundreds of published papers. Of these, more than 30 contain information specific to killer whales.
We also provide resources and financial support to field researchers. This support is offered directly by SeaWorld, through grants from the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens® Conservation Fund, and by research foundations associated with and supported by SeaWorld, including the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute.
The publications below are from Seaworld pages where they state their research benefits those orca in the wild. As you work through the publications it looks more like a history of Seaworld with the research being done purely to benefit themselves at the stage they are in the acquisition of orcas. Take note of the dates of publication.
Below are some of the research studies authored by SeaWorld. These published studies on killer whales showcase SeaWorld's larger commitment to animal welfare and conservation. Our parks provide a unique opportunity for SeaWorld and affiliated scientists and researchers to examine killer whales up close to better understand these animals. These studies complement and strengthen research efforts in the field.
Leatherwood, S: Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) Photo-identified in Prince William Sound, Alaska, 1976 through 1987. The Canadian Field-Naturalist Vol. 104.
Identifying individual orca
Goldsberry, D.G., E.D. Asper, and L. H. Cornell: Live Capture techniques for the killer whale, Orcinus orca, and live capture fishery statistics, 1961-1976. Report to Sub-committee, Small Cetaceans, Scientific Committee International Whaling Commission, London, England, 1976;13 pp.
Actual number of killer whales caught between 1962 and Aug 1973 was 263, total deaths during collection was 12, total number of killer whales kept for oceanaria 50. DURING THE PENN COVE CAPTURES THE REPORT STATES, 2 OF THE 4 WHALES THAT DIED DURING THIS CAPTURE OPERATION WERE EXPERIMENTALLY TRANQUILIZED UNDER THE DIRECTION OD DR MERRILL SPENCER THE ANIMALS SUBSEQUENTLY DIED.
Goldsberry, D. G., E. D. Asper, and L. H. Cornell: Live capture technique for the killer whale (Orcinus orca). Aquatic Mammals. 1978;6(3):91-95.
Of 24 animals studied, 9 died before the age of 5 and the 15 remaining lived between 1.25 and 13 years giving a mean of 5.37 years. Causes of death from 41 records show the majority died from infection. 25% from pneumonia, systemic mycosis 22%, other bacterial infections 15.6%, mediastinal absess 9.4%, other conditions and one undiagnosed make up the other 28%. Mycotic infections are uncommon in OPEN AIR NATURAL SEA WATER SYSTEMS and killer whales kept in these conditions are considered LESS AT RISK.
Jehl J.R., Evans, W.E., Awbrey, F.T., and W.S. Drieschman: Distribution and geographic Variation in the Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) populations of the Antarctic and adjacent waters. Antarctic Journal. U.S. 1980; 15: 161-163.
Population studies which had to be done prior to capture
Awbrey, F.T., Thomas, J.A., Evans, W.E., Leatherwood, S: Ross Sea Killer Whale Vocalizations: Preliminary Description and Comparison with those of some Northern Hemisphere Killer Whales. SC/Jn81/KW7. 32nd Report International Whaling Commission. 1982;32:667-670.
Vocalisations to identify the different types or orca
Dalheim, M.E., Leatherwood, S., and W.F. Perrin: Distribution of Killer Whales in the Warm Temperate and Tropical Eastern Pacific. SC/Jn81/KW3. 32nd Report International Whaling Commission. 1982;32:647-653
Distribution of orcas i.e. where they are .
Evans, W.E., Yablokov, A.V., and A.E. Bowles: Geographic Variation in the Color Pattern of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca). SC/Jn81/KW11. 32nd Report International Whaling Commission. 1982;32:687-694.
How to identify the different types of orca
Cornell, L. H: Hematology and clinical chemistry values in the killer whale, Orcinus orca. L. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 1983;19(3):259-264.
You knew these orca were different before you started breeding the hybrid mixes. Lactic dehydrogenase activity was lower in all animals of Pacific origin, as compared to animals from the Atlantic, regardless of age or sex. These "normal" differences emphasize the importance of establishing an animal's individual hematologic and blood chemistry profile by routine sampling.
Leatherwood, S., Bowles, A.E., Krygier, E., Hall J.D., and S. Igneel: Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Southeast Alaska, Prince William Sound, and Shelikof Strait; A Review of Available Information.
SC/35/SM 7. 34th Report International Whaling Commission. 1984;34:521-530.
Review of information gathered on orca in these areas
Leatherwood, S., Balcomb, K.C., Matkin, C.O., and G. Ellis: Killer Whales, (Orcinus orca) of Southern Alaska. Results of Field Research 1984 Preliminary Report. Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute Technical Report No. 84-175:1-59.
Field research report
Cornell, L.H. and Hall: Killer Whales, (Orcinus orca) of Prince William Sound, Alaska results of 1985 Field Research. 1986. SWTC 8611C
Field Research required before captures
Lyrholm T., Leatherwood S., and J. Sigurjónsson: Photoidentification of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) off Iceland, October 1985. Cetology. 1987;52:1-14.
Identification of Icelandic Orca
You were made aware of the structure of killer whale populations and had all the information you needed yet chose to ignore as your shows were more important than the whales themselves which were replaceable
Bowles, A.E., Young, G.E., and E.D. Asper: Ontogeny of stereotyped calling of a killer whale calf (Orcinus orca) during her first year. Rit Fiskideildar 1988;11:251-27
Vocalizations to identify calves in a pod
Duffield, D.A., and K. W. Miller: Demographic features of killer whales in oceanaria in the United States and Canada, 1965 – 1987. Rit Fiskideildar, 1988;11:297-306.
Demographic features are studied of how the orca relate, age, sex, what they do etc
Moore, S.E., Francine J.K, Bowles, A.E., and John K.B. Ford: Analysis of calls of killer whales (Orcinus orca) from Iceland and Norway. Rit Fiskideildar. 1988:11:225-250.
Identification of Icelandic vocalization
Myrick, A.C., Yochem, P.K., and L.H. Cornell: Toward calibrating dentinal layers in captive killer whales by use of tetracycline labels. Rit Fiskideildar. 1988;11:285-296.
To establish accurate age estimations
Sigurjónsson, J , Lyrholm J., Leatherwood S., Jónsson, E., and G. Víkingsson: Photoidentification of killer whales, (Orcinus orca) off Iceland, 1981 through 1986. Rit Fiskideildar. 1988;11:99-114.
Photo identification of Icelandic killer whales
Sigurjónsson, J., and S. Leatherwood: The Icelandic live-capture fishery for killer whales, 1976 – 1988. Rit Fiskideilder. 1988;11:307-316.
From 1976 - 1988 59 whales were captured, 8 were released, 3 died in the holding facility and 48 were exported. This is not something I would brag is on my list if I was Seaworld.
Benirschke, K., and L. H. Cornell: The placenta of the killer whale, Orcinus orca. Marine Mammal Science. 1987; 3(1):82-86.
I would think although my own view researching a wild whale placenta would be very difficult and this article is by Larry Cornell who you sacked in 1987
Griner, L. A: Cardiac candidiasis in a captive killer whale. Verh. ber. Erkrg. Zootiere. 1992;34:159-161.
Hall, et. al.: Increasing Flexibility in Photographic Techniques for Identifying Killer Whales. 1987. Cetology 53. This report shows that this is so common in captive killers whales it has to be aggressively treated
Bowles, A. E., W. G. Young, and E. D. Asper: Ontogeny of stereotyped calling of a killer whale calf, Orcinus orca, during her first year. Rit Fiskideildar. 1988;11:251-275.
Calf vocalizations during their first year
Duffield, D.A., and K. W. Miller: Demographic features of killer whales in oceanaria in the United States and Canada, 1965-1987. Rit Fiskideilder. 1988;11:297-306.
Stevens, T. A., D. A. Duffield, E. D. Asper, K. G. Hewlett, A. Bolz, L. J. Gage, and G. D. Bossart: Preliminary findings of restriction fragment differences in mitochondrial DNA among killer whales (Orcinus orca). Canadian Journal Zoology. 1989;67:2592-2595.
The observed Hae III restriction pattern differences suggest that mitochondrial DNA analysis will be a valuable technique for investigating regional and local distributions of maternal lineages among killer whale pods, especially in the North Pacific.
Buck, C., G. P. Paulino, D. J. Medina, G. D. Hsiung, T. W. Campbell, and M. T. Walsh: Isolation of St. Louis encephalitis virus from a killer whale. Clinical Diagnostic Virology. 1993; 1:109-112.
Killer whale killing virus
Duffield, D. A., D. K. Odell, J. F. McBain, and B. Andrews: Killer whale (Orcinus orca) reproduction at Sea World. Zoo Biology. 1995;14:417-43
Clark, S. T., and D. K. Odell: Allometric relationships and sexual dimorphism in captive killer whales (Orcinus orca). Journal of Mammalogy. 1999;80(3):777-785.
Changes in growth etc between male and female orca
Clark, S. T., and D. K. Odell: Nursing parameters in captive killer whales (Orcinus orca). Zoo Biology. 1999;18:5, p. 373-384.
Nursing parameters examined included cumulatives of suckles per day, bouts per day, and suckle duration (seconds) per day. Daily cumulatives of all nursing parameters peaked within the first 2 days after birth then decreased through time. For the ages from birth until 42 days
Clark, S. T., D. K. Odell, and C. T. Lacinak: Aspects of growth in captive killer whales (Orcinus orca). Marine Mammal Science. 2000; 16(1):110-123.
Funke, C., D.P. King, J.F. McBain, D. Adelung, and J.L. Stott: Expression and functional characterization of killer whale (Orcinus orca) interleukin-6 (IL-6) and development of a competitive immunoassay. Vet Immunology and Immunopathology. 2003 May 30; 93(1-2):69-79.
Animal testing to help animals??
Colegrove KM, St. Leger JA, Raverty S, Jang S, Berman-Kowalewski M, Gaydos JK: Salmonella newport omphaloarteritis in a stranded killer whale (Orcinus orca) neonate. J Wildlife Dis. 2010;46(4):1300-1304.
Clark, Steve, Hoffman, L., Knofczynski, G: Spatial relationship patterns in captive killer whale (Orcinus orca) cow/calf dyads: Estimation of Parameters in the Join point Two-Regime Regression Model. Communications in Statistics - Simulation and Computation. 2010; 39: 1562-1576.
Clark, S., Williams, R.., Krkosek, M., Ashe,E., Branch,T.A., Hammond, P.S., Hoyt E., Noren, D.P, Rosen, D., and Winship A: Competing Conservation Objectives for Predators and Prey: Estimating Killer Whale Prey Requirements for Chinook Salmon. PLoS ONE 6(11): e26738. Dol:10.1371/journal.pone.0026738. Published November 9, 2011.
This is actually a benefit
According to your website this isn't actually finished
Kastelein, R.A., S. Walton, D. Odell, S.H. Hieuwstraten, and P.R. Wiepkema: Food consumption of a captive female killer whale (Orcinus orca). Aquatic Mammals. 2000; 26(2):127-131
''Follow-up research with SeaWorld’s killer whales will look at metabolism in two ways. First, we will repeat this study with additional whales to add data on resting metabolism. Next, we will look at how changes in activity patterns change food demands. This will allow scientists to understand how foraging for food might increase the caloric needs of wild whales.''
LaMere, S.A., St. Leger, J.A., Schrenzel, M.D., Anthony S.J. Rideout, B.A., and D. R. Salomon: Molecular Characterization of a Novel Gammaretrovirus in Killer Whales (Orcinus orca). Journal Virology. 2009;83(24):12956-12967.
Again killer whale cancer research
Miller, D.L., E.L. Styer, S.J. Decker, and T. Robeck: Ultrastructure of the spermatozoa from three odontocetes, a killer whale (Orcinus orca), a Pacific white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) and a beluga (Delphinapterus leucas). Anatomia Histologia Embryologia. 2002;31:158-168
Research for AI
Walker, L. A., L. Cornell, K. D. Dahl, N. M. Czekala, C. M. Dargen, B. Joseph Aaron, J. W. Hsueh, and B. L. Lasley: Urinary concentrations of ovarian steroid hormone metabolites and bioactive FSH in killer whales (Orcinus orca) during ovarian cycles and pregnancy. Biological Reproduction. 1988;39(5):1013-1020
Reproductive cycle research
Patterson, W. R., L. M. Dalton, D. L. McGlasson, and J. H. Cissik: Aggregation of killer whale platelets. Thrombosis Research. 1993;70:225-231.
Research showing no effect from diving
Patterson, W. R., L. M. Dalton, and D. L. McGlasson: A comparison of human and killer whale platelet fatty acid composition. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology B. 1998;120(2):247-252.
Same report with comparison to humans
Robeck, T. R., A. L. Schneyer, J. F. McBain, L. M. Dalton, M. T. Walsh, N. M. Czekala, and D. C. Kraemer: Analysis of urinary immunoreactive steroid metabolites and gonadotropins for characterization of the estrous cycle, breeding period, and seasonal estrous activity of captive killer whales (Orcinus orca). Zoo Biology. 1993;12:173-187.
Cycle monitoring for breeding
Robeck T. R., Dalton L.M: Saksenaea vasiformis and Apophysomyces elegans Zygomycotic Infections in Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), a Killer Whale (Orcinus orca), and Pacific White-Sided Dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens). J Zoo Wildlife Med. 2002;33(4):356-366.
Research into fungal infections infecting the orca
Robeck, T.R., K. J. Steinman, S. Gearhart, T.R. Reidarson, J.F. McBain , and S. L. Monfort: Reproductive Physiology and Development of Artificial Insemination Technology in Killer Whales (Orcinus orca). Biology of Reproduction. 2004;71, 650-660.
AI research no value to the wild
Robeck, T.R., and S.L. Monfort: Characterization of male killer whale (Orcinus orca) sexual maturation and reproductive seasonality. Theriogenology. 2006; 66(2):242-250.
Wild research already discovered when an animal is sexually mature
St. Leger J, Wu G, Anderson M, Dalton L, Nilson E, Wang D: West Nile Virus Infection in Killer Whale, Texas, USA, 2007. Emerg Infect Dis. 2011;17(8):1531-1533.
No west nile virus ever recorded in the wild
St. Leger J.A., Begeman L., Fleetwood M, et al.: Comparative pathology of nocardiosis in marine mammals. Vet Path. 2009;46(2):299-308.
Bacterial lung infection research
Robeck, T.R., S.A. Gearhart, K.J. Steinman, E. Katsumata, J.D. Loureiro, J.K. O’Brien: In vitro sperm characterization and development of a sperm cryopreservation method using directional solidification in the killer whale (Orcinus orca). Theriogenology. 2011;76:267-279.
Research was conducted to characterize seminal traits and to develop a sperm cryopreservation method using directional freezing (DF) for the killer whale (Orcinus orca)
Robeck T. R., and H. Nollens: Hematological and Serum Biochemical Analytes Reflect Physiological Challenges during Gestation and Lactation in Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) Zoo Biology. 2013;in press.
The last 12 months of gestation had greater physiological impact than lactation, but changes associated with and immediately following parturition were the most dramatic. During this period, killer whales may experience increased susceptibility to illness, and anthropogenic and environmental disturbances. Even though the report states the above, females are not taken out during their pregnancies to avoid disturbances and even participate in shows.
Begeman, St. Leger, Blyde, et.al: Intestinal Volvulus in Cetaceans. Veterinary Pathology. 2013;50:590.
9 captive and 9 wild orca have died from this. Sumar being one of them, hence the investigtion
Upon reading all these publications, the things I find most disturbing are - back in 1995, your OWN research stated that the bacterial infections killing your animals were less at risk in open air Sea Water facilities, yet despite your parks being near or on the ocean, you chose to ignore it.
In 1983 you researched DNA and realised the different groups had different DNA sequences, which proved that the individual groups did not cross breed in the wild, yet you did it anyway. Why would you ignore something like that and create hybrid orca, who now have no group in the wild, so would always have to be captive??
Your gestation and lactation research shows that pregnant and nursing mothers need rest, quiet, yet you had them performing in shows whilst pregnant and whilst nursing. When you have research showing you the effect why would you carry on doing that??
There isn't much point in having research which you pick and choose at, research is research and yet you have ignored the parts that don't suit you, same as you ignore the parts from other researchers who don't suit your wish to keep these orca's in a tank performing tricks until they die.
No one wants to see Seaworld close, what the 'radical activists' want to see is you giving the lives you stole back to those orca. You know you would be perfectly capable of teaching them to catch their own food, and you know a sea pen facility could still be managed by the trainers they orca know and people will learn so much more from seeing wild behaviours than made up ones. If you go on a whale watching trip you can never guarantee seeing any orca, but in a sea pen setting you would be guaranteed seeing the orca, and seeing the orca you know too, how could people not want to see that?