Friday 27 June 2014

Cetacean captures and releases

Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) releases

Ken Balcomb has researched and photographed these whales for nearly 40 years. This is his information on those released. 

Seaworld and those capturers for the entertainment industry have a lot to answer for. 

J,K and L pod would have every reason to attack us the number of times the whole pods were captured and held is disgraceful and each time their babies were stolen, makes no wonder they learnt to split up when they were chased for the last time. 

It is also very interesting that Corky recognised her pod and Yaka was able to catch live fish, proving that captive killer whales can do it. 

Ken Balcomb video on the orca captures. 

Pacific Northwest Reintroductions. Although no official followup on reintroductions occurred, photo-identification studies which commenced in the early and mid 1970's in British Columbia and Washington State have documented the recovery and social structure of virtually all of the pods which were exploited for public display.

1976. S and O pods, numbering 7 whales, were captured in Puget Sound and held temporarily while two whales (O-4, O-5) were selected for a Sea World and University of Washington radio tag research project. The unselected whales were released after one week to reintegrate back into the transient community. The two selected whales were maintained in captivity for 55 days before being released to reintegrate back into the transient community (Erickson, 1977). They have been independently photodocumented almost every year since release and are still alive 19 years post-release. Native reintroduction.
  Note: Transient whales range over thousands of miles and could potentially have great difficulty relocating their podmates following reintroduction; nonetheless these two certainly did reintegrate into their social community. Seven whales; Captive 7-55 days; followup successful.

1975. Q pod, numbering six whales, was captured off southern Vancouver Island and held temporarily while a young female and a young male were removed for public display. The unselected whales were released to reintegrate back into the transient community. Photodocumented numerous times since release. Native reintroduction. Four whales; Captive ?; followup successful.

1973. Unknown pod (presumably southern resident) was captured in Washington State and held temporarily while one mature female was removed for public display. Native reintroduction. ???

1973. K pod, numbering approximately 17 whales, was captured off South Vancouver Island and held temporarily while one mature female was removed for public display. An adult male (K-1) was retained for two months before being released to reintegrate into his pod. Native reintroduction. Sixteen whales; Captive ? to 60 days; followup successful.
Note: K-1, alias Taku, is a prominent member of K pod, and is now approximately 39 years old, based upon his state of maturity in 1973.

1973. L pod, numbering approximately 39 whales, was captured off South Vancouver Island and held temporarily while a mature male and a mature female were removed for public display. The unselected whales were released to reintegrate back into the local community. Native reintroduction. Thirty-seven whales: Captive ?; followup successful.

1972. J pod, numbering approximately 15 whales, was captured in Puget Sound and held temporarily while one young male was removed for public display. The unselected whales were released to reintegrate back into the local community. Native reintroduction. Fourteen whales; Captive ?; followup successful.

1971. L pod, numbering approximately 45 whales, was captured in Possession Sound and held temporarily while two young females and a young male were removed for public display. The unselected whales were released to reintegrate back into the local community. Native reintroduction. Forty-three whales; Captive ?; followup successful.

1971. Unknown pod (presumably southern resident) of whales was captured and held in Washington State while two young males were removed for public display. Native reintroduction. ???

1971. Ishmael, a young male killer whale from J or K pod was inducted into the US Navy Project Deep Ops in 1968, but escaped from his handlers off the north coast of Oahu, Hawaii in February 1971 (Bowers and Henderson, 1972). No followup due to radio tag failure. Non-native reintroduction. One whale; Captive 28 months; no followup.
Note: If DNA studies were conducted on killer whales in Hawaiian or Central Pacific waters, it is possible that some genetic influence of Ishmael's reintroduction might be detected. It is also possible that Ishmael may yet be found by photo-identification studies.

1970. M pod, numbering three whales, was captured off southern Vancouver Island and held temporarily. One young female whale (Chimo) was removed for public display, and the other two (M1, M2) were maintained in a seapen at Pedder Bay, BC. These two whales "escaped" the seapen after eight months captivity and reintegrated back into the transient whale community (Hoyt, 1990). They have been photodocumented almost every year since. Native reintroduction. Two whales; Captive 8 months; followup successful.

1970. J, K, and L pods, numbering approximately 85 whales (contemporary news said 50 whales, but number was higher), were captured in Possession Sound and held temporarily while twelve whales were removed for public display (or by accidental drowning). The unselected surviving whales were released to reintegrate back into the local community. Native reintroduction. Thirty-eight to seventy-three whales; Captive 13 days; followup successful. Can you believe these whales were held for 2 weeks?
Note: The only surviving captive whale from this event now resides in solitary confinement at Miami Seaquarium. Lolita. She is a J, K, or L pod female now approximately 31 years of age. DNA and communications research proposals to enrich her environment and examine the strength of social bonds over the long term have been presented to Miami Seaquarium.

1969. A5 pod, numbering approximately sixteen whales, was captured in Pender Harbor Vancouver Island and held temporarily while six whales were removed for public display (Hoyt, 1990). The unselected whales were released to reintegrate back into the local community. Native reintroduction. Ten whales; Captive ?; followup successful.

Note: Only two whales survive in captivity from this capture event: Corky at Sea World, San Diego, and Yaka at Marine World Africa USA in Vallejo, CA. Neither facility has allowed communications experiments between their captive and wild whales for environmental enrichment or to examine the strength of social bonds over the long term. "Prime Time Live" surprised Sea World officials by playing an audio tape of A5 pod at Corky's tank. This impromptu experiment aired in August, 1993. Corky visibly shuddered as she heard her family's voices.

 Yaka was involved in a study reported in 1993 in which, "Results of this study demonstrate that captive killer whales will pursue, capture and eat live fish.
 The whales in this study used echolocation while in pursuit of fish, as well as at other times." (Newman and Markowitz, 1993).

1969. A male killer whale from A5 pod released after one year captivity in pen in Pender Harbor since 1968 capture. No details available. Native reintroduction. One whale; Captive 1 year; followup ?

1968. J and L pods, numbering approximately 65 whales, were captured in Puget Sound and held temporarily while five whales were removed for public display or military purposes (US Navy). The unselected whales were released to reintegrate back into the local community. Native reintroduction. Sixty whales; Captive ?; followup successful.
Note: See Ishmael, 1971 reintroduction.

1968. A5 pod, numbering approximately 18 whales, was captured off northern Vancouver Island and held temporarily while six whales were removed for public display. The unselected whales were released to reintegrate back into the local community. Native reintroduction. Twelve whales; Captive ?; followup successful.

1967. K pod, numbering approximately 25 whales, was captured in Puget Sound and held temporarily while eight whales were removed for public display. The unselected whales were released to reintegrate back into the local community. Native reintroduction. Seventeen whales; Captive ?; followup successful.

Icelandic killer whale reintroductions.

As in the Pacific Northwest, no official followup studies have been conducted to ascertain whether there was successful reintegration of any of the released animals. In contrast to the Pacific Northwest, there are no independent followup or photo identification studies either. It is clear, however, that killer whales have been released back into the Icelandic population after periods of captivity (Dudok van Heel, 1986; Sigurjonsson, 1988), and there is no evidence that they have not been reaccepted and fared as well as has been reported for Pacific Northwest animals. At least one Icelandic reintroduction after captivity of several months duration was considered by world experts as the best option for survival for the reintroduced animals. The following records are the only ones we know about:
1981. Seven killer whales captured and one released shortly after being captured to reintegrate back into the wild community. One whale; Captive ?; no followup.

1980. Six killer whales captured and one released shortly after being captured to reintegrate back into the wild community. One whale; Captive ?; no followup.

1978. Eleven killer whales captured and three released after being kept in a holding pool for several months, during which time they developed frostbite and skin infections. Two other killer whales died in this holding pool before shipment from Iceland. Three whales; Captive ? months; no followup. 2 killer whales died in that pool and 3 sick orcas were just sent back to sea, disgusting!

1976. Six killer whales captured, one released shortly after being captured and two released after being kept in a floating pen. Three whales; Captive ?; no followup.

Other successful whale reintroductions
Most other cetacean reintroductions have been conducted following rehabilitation from stranding events or release from captivity due to health/behavior problems. The followup for such reintroductions has generally been brief or non-existent, but there are a few notable exceptions:

1972. Gray whale (Eschrictius robustus). A baby gray whale (Gigi) was captured in early March of 1971 during an expedition sponsored by Sea World, Inc. This whale was maintained in captivity for one year at Sea World, San Diego before being instrumented with a radio tag and released on 13 March 1972, during the gray whale northerly migration. The reintroduction was considered a success, but official followup was discontinued in May 1972 when the radio tag failed (Evans, 1974). There were several confirmed sightings of this whale after radio tag failure, one of which was two years later reporting the square white scar intentionally placed for identification. One whale; Captive 1 year; followup successful.
Strange how there were no concerns about how the ocean would affect this whale as there are with the orcas. 

1985. Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). "Humphrey", the famous wrong way whale which swam up the Sacramento River, CA in November 1985 was escorted back to sea following a 24 day ordeal ending in a freshwater slough. He stranded several times, and appeared close to death on more than one occasion, but he nonetheless survived his ordeal and was documented by photo-identification studies numerous times for the three following years (Calambokidis, et. al., 1989). While not an actual reintroduction from captivity, Humphrey provides a remarkable example of survival resilience in these animals. One whale; 'Captive' 24 days; followup successful.

Pilot whale (Globicephala melaena). Following rehabilitation from stranding events, pilot whales have been reintroduced to the ocean environment on numerous occasions throughout the world (Robson, 1984 lists six successful pod rescues around Australia and New Zealand). Rarely, has there been any followup. We cite a couple of examples where there has been followup, and would appreciate learning of any others.
1991. Two pilot whales were rehabilitated by the Miami Seaquarium from a stranding which occurred on the Florida coast in 1991. They were satellite tagged by Dr. Bruce Mate and released in the vicinity where they had stranded. These two whales were resighted off the coast of Florida in February 1994 by the US Coast Guard, and their tag harnesses were still attached, although the batteries had died. (Mate, pers. comm. 1994). Two whales; Captive ?; followup successful.

1987. Three pilot whales were rehabilitated at the New England Aquarium in Boston, MA from a stranding which occurred on Cape Cod in December, 1986. They were released at sea off Cape Cod on June 29,
1987. One whale was fitted with a Telonics-built Argos transmitter (satellite tag), and one was fitted with a conventional radio tag. "The satellite-monitored whale was tracked by Argos for 95 days, as the whale swam at least 7,600 kilometers. Just three weeks after tagging, this Argos-equipped whale was spotted in a group of more than 100 pilot whales, suggesting that its movements and dive patterns were typical of normal pilot whales." (Mate, 1989). Three whales; Captive 6 months; followup successful.

1967. Pilot whale (Globicephala melaena). After almost eight years of captivity at Marineland of the Pacific, a twenty year old pilot whale named Bimbo was successfully reintroduced to the wild. Captured in January/February, 1960 at a length of 17' 6", he performed well for about three years. When his female pilot whale and dolphin companions died, Bimbo's behavior changed drastically. "One day he would be as friendly as ever, the next in a wildly agitated state or apathetic and apparently depressed" (Valentry, 1969). It was decided to keep him as an attraction whether or not he performed. After four years of treatment including antidepressant drugs and tranquilizers, Bimbo smashed into a window, flooding spectators. He was released in August, 1967 at a length of 20' 6", "...after much planning and weeks of isolation in a tank for physical tests to make sure he was fit for fending on his own at sea" (op. cit.). He was resighted in 1969 near Santa Barbara, CA by a U.S. Navy collector, and again in 1974 near San Clemente identified from photographs by L Cornell and J. Prescott (pers. comm., John Prescott.) One whale; Captive 7.5 years; followup successful.

There has also been over 60 bottlenose dolphin releases along with other cetaceans too, they can all be seen on Ken Balcomb's website

This is Corky 2  pre capture with her mother Stripe

This is Corky now, full grown, 7 dead babies, no teeth, a life stolen

 Many of the orcas could not go back to the open ocean as they have medical needs or are part of Seaworld's breeding programme which created hybrid mixes with no conservation value what so ever as they have no equivalent out in the wild. They could however have a more natural life in a netted bay with the trainers they know still conducting their husbandry.

In the 60's and 70's people frequented circus's but those have been in rapid decline and many countries have banned them. In those early days circus's were astounding as people didn't have the technology we have today and it was the only way people could see man in control of the animals. Today however we don't need to see man in control, we don't need to show how we can 'tame' these creatures, we don't need hero's against predators,  we have TV, internet, underwater camera's, video, boat trips, whale watching and people can learn about and appreciate animals without seeing them close up anymore.

The day of the circus and domination of predators has gone and no matter how many times it is called education, it is still exactly that, circus and domination. Education would be more beneficial if people could actually see the whales behaving naturally, hunting, foraging, and see their matralines and groups functioning as they would in the wild, not as Seaworld, Kamogawa or Marineland want us to see them.

The list and website link proves that can be rehabilitated and in some cases released too, and the time to do it is now as they have all more than earned their freedom.

Monday 9 June 2014

Seaworld - when is it time to be worried?

The San Bernadino County Sun, July 28, 1983.

'Seaworld state they aren't worried about Shamu's and Kandu's deviant behaviour and have no plans to change performance schedules or procedures.'


1984/02/23 7-year-old female Kandu 5 took trainer Joanne Hay in her mouth and pinned her against a wall during a performance.

1984/08/12 Two killer whales grabbed the legs of trainer Bud Krames and pinned him against a glass retaining wall during a performance. Krames suffers bruises.

1984/11/02 7-year-old female Kandu 5 briefly grabbed the legs of trainer Georgia Jones during a Shamu show but released the trainer unhurt. The 4,500-pound killer whale took Jones’ legs in her mouth, but didn’t bite down.

1986/11/16  9-year-old female Kandu 5 pressed her snout against trainer Mark Beeler and held him against a wall for a few seconds during a performance before several hundred spectators.

1987/03/04 A six-ton orca suddenly grabbed trainer Jonathan Smith, 21, in its teeth, dove to the bottom of the tank, then carried him bleeding to the surface and spat him out. Smith gallantly waved to the crowd - which he attributed to his training as a Sea World performer - when a second orca slammed into him. He continued to pretend he was unhurt as the whales repeatedly dragged him 32 ft to the bottom of the pool. Smith was cut all around his torso, had a ruptured kidney and a six-inch laceration of his liver, yet he managed to escape and get out of the pool. Later reports indicate that the whales involved had been 10-year-old female Kenau and 9-year-old female Kandu 5.

1987/06/15 Trainer Joanne Webber, 29, suffered a fractured neck when 9-year-old female Kandu 5 landed on top of her and pushed her to the bottom of the pool during a practice session. Webber had five years experience working with orcas.
She sued Seaworld in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Diego Superior Court that Sea World and its parent company, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, knew that the whales were "ferocious and dangerous" and were "likely to attack and injure human beings," but induced her to enter the pool by telling her the whales were "safe" and "gentle."
Webber's injuries were aggravated by Sea World personnel who delayed treatment, insisting that her wetsuit be removed at the park so that it would not be damaged by medical personnel who would try to remove it at the hospital, the lawsuit says. She had a broken neck and they were worried about the suit!
Webber, who returned to a job at Sea World after her health improved, went back on medical leave last week after Sea World officials requested that she either take an office job at the park or go back in the water with the whales, according to Paula Tupper, an associate in the law firm of Patrick R. Frega.
Her injuries included fractures of the first cervical vertebra, contusions of the skull and scalp, and bruises to the left arm and shoulder. After a year, two cracks in a vertebra in Webber's neck still have not healed completely, and she has lost 50% of the side-to-side motion in her neck, Tupper said.
'In Great Pain'
Webber was able to free herself and get out of the pool after the whale attack, Tupper said. Park personnel then allowed her to walk about 50 feet from the pool to an enclosure, where she was told to remove her wetsuit, Tupper said.
"In great pain" and unable to comply, the lawsuit says, she was "stripped of (the) wetsuit by Sea World personnel." Tupper added that Webber was told to dress and walk about 200 yards to a waiting ambulance.

1987/09/30 While working with one orca during a performance trainer Chris Barlow, 24, was being rammed in the stomach by another orca. Barlow was hospitalized with minor injuries.

1987/11/21 Trainer John Sillick, 26, suffered fractured vertebrae (T1 to T12), a fractured femur, and a fractured pelvis after 19-year-old male Orky 2 breached on top of him while riding on another orca during a performance. Sillick had less than two years experience working with orcas.

At this point Seaworld took trainers out of the water -  Numerous San Diego newspapers reported on a "white paper" disclosing at least 14 trainer injuries of various severity while working with orcas within a five-month period in 1987. Only a few of the incidents have been described in the media.

''SAN DIEGO — Training killer whales as dancing partners is a sensitive business, hovering somewhere on the cusp between science and art. Trainers say it takes the eye of a baseball player, the intuitions of a psychoanalyst and, occasionally, the nerves of a fighter pilot.
Communication between animal and trainer occurs through a private vocabulary of gestures, posture, a quick sweep of a fin. A sudden leap or a sharp bump might signal affection or aggression. A trainer who misinterprets may fall dangerously out of step.
"You need to be able to read your animals, to see if anything is bothering them," said Karen Pryor, an animal behaviorist and longtime marine mammal trainer. "Killer whales, if they get angry, the white of the eye turns red. You never want them to get that angry."
Sea World of San Diego for 20 years has pioneered in that personal approach to training captive killer whales, using psychological techniques to choreograph the extraordinary whale ballet that is the symbol and centerpiece of the marine park chain.
But in recent weeks, it has become clear that something is awry. A young trainer remains hospitalized after being virtually crushed by a killer whale. In the aftermath, a rash of other trainer injuries have come to light, including 14 in the past five months.
Suddenly, Sea World has banished its trainers from the killer whale pools. It has banned all contact between whales and trainers or the audience. And its parent company has abruptly fired the park's top officials in charge of animal care and training.
Park Being Picketed
The park president, also fired, is suing the company. Animal rights groups have begun picketing the park. And last week, William Jovanovich, chairman of Sea World's parent company, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, let it be known that he would happily unload the entire chain, for the right price.

The fault, in Jovanovich's view, lies with Sea World: He blamed park management, supervision and the way trainers and whales have been trained. Others have blamed corporate demands on the park as the chain rapidly expanded and note that Jovanovich himself has been deeply interested in Sea World management--going to far as to help design the park's logo.''

Read full article here 

Jovanvich stated he had been MISLEAD by Seaworld's management and promptly suspended Butcher, park president Jan Schultz and zoological director Lanny Cornell, the park's longtime zoological director and a well-known figure in the world of captive marine mammals. The company is currently discussing severance with the three former managers.  Full article here 

 When Butcher had brought in his new methods and tried to standardize training in all four parks, he alienated several veteran trainers. In one year, about 35 trainers departed, according to Bud Krames, a senior trainer who left because he didn't agree with the system. New trainers had to be hired. Three of the five trainers in San Diego had three months or less experience working with orcas. Sillick, a veteran by comparison, had less than two years. In the year following the accidents, some of the injured trainers began to blame Sea World for not warning them about the "dangerous propensities of killer whales" as one lawsuit put it. Jonathan Smith's lawyer charged that Sea World and HBJ "negligently and carelessly owned, maintained, trained, inspected, controlled, supervised, located, transported and placed" the orcas, thereby exposing Smith to serious injury. Sillick and Weber also filed lawsuits. All three were later settled out of court with gag orders imposed. Following the terms of their deals with Sea World, the lawyers have refused to reveal any more than the basic details of their clients' cases. This means that no one can know any findings behind these cases; no one can learn or benefit from the thousands of pages of prepared evidence. 

 3 cases were settled out of court with gagging orders incorporated  Following the terms of their deals with Sea World, the lawyers have refused to reveal any more than the basic details of their clients' cases. This means that no one can know any findings behind these cases; no one can learn or benefit from the thousands of pages of prepared evidence.

  After Butcher left, Sea World revamped the training programme. Under new chief trainer Michael Scarpuzzi, they returned to a simple, consistent approach of rewarding each behaviour. Instead of going into the water, trainers began directing the whales from the deck with hand or underwater acoustic signals. But less than half a year later, they were back in the water.

In 1989 this tragic incident occurred which lead to the death of Kandu V.

 Orkid was 11 months old when Kandu V died. She was out performing the very next day and once again Seaworld forgot to tell the trainers to change their script. The statement Seaworld gave said Orkid was sufficiently independant of its mother, yet the trainer as part of the show had just told the audience that Orkid would be nursing until at least a year and a half old. This was obviously untrue as little Orkid came out with Corky who was made out to be her mother in the show.

As we know from incident reports and Seaworld's own animal profiles the incidents did not stop there and continued until trainers were made to leave the water by OSHA after the death of Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

Despite the date of this article, everything above shows that from the beginning 'the show' was the the most important issue, not the orcas, not the trainers and from the recent debate between Seaworld and Naomi Rose, we can see that to date nothing has changed.

Saturday 7 June 2014

Seaworld Hybrid orcas, no conservation value what so ever

As so many misleading things are being put forward by both Seaworld and their supporters, I thought it wise to correct those issues as they come along, this one being Pro Conservation.

If Seaworld were pro conservation then they would never have created the hybrid's they have in their orca tanks. These prove beyond any shadow of doubt that conservation is the bottom of the list and the shows and keeping people coming through the gate is at the top, otherwise why create a breeding programme which has NO CONSERVATION VALUE WHAT SO EVER. Those hybrids can never go back to the open ocean to preserve the wild populations as they have no equivalent in the wild and that is not what a breeding programme is supposed to be all about.

Katina             -wild caught Icelandic
Tilikum            -wild caught Icelandic

Kayla              -HYBRID - mother  Keanu (Icelandic W) Father Orky 2 (A5 Northern Resident)

Trua               - Icelandic - mother Takara (Icelandic C) Father Taku (Katina, W Tilikum both Icelandic W)

Nalani            - INBRED Icelandic mother Katina (Icelandic ) Father Taku - (Katina, Tilikum both Icelandic)

Malia            - 2nd Generation HYBRID C - mother Taima (Gudrun Icelandic/ Kanduke Transient) Father Tilikum

Makaio         - Icelandic C - mother Katina(Icelandic W) Father Tilikum (Icelandic W)

Corky 2       - Northern Resident wild all 7 calves deceased

Kasatka       -  Icelandic wild

Ulises           -  Icelandic wild caught  1 calf by AI to Wikie in France

Orkid           - HYBRID - mother Kandu V (Icelandic wild) Father Orky 2 (A5 Northern Resident wild)

Keet           - 2nd Ge HYBRID - mother Kalina C (Hybrid KatinaW/WinstonW) Father Kotar (Icelandic)

Shouka        - Icelandic Captive - mother Sharkan (Icelandic wild) Father Kim 2 (Icelandic wild)

Nakai         - Icelandic - mother Kasatka (Icelandic W) father Tilikum (Icelandic W)

Ikaika         - Icelandic C - mother Katina (Icelandic W) Father Tilikum (Icelandic W)

Takara      -  Icelandic CAPTIVE - mother Kasatka (Icelandic W) father Kotar (Icelandic W)
Kalia          - HYBRID - mother Kasatka (Icelandic W) father Keet (Hybrid) 

Makani      -  HYBRID - mother Kasatka (Icelandic W) Father Kshamenk (Unknown pod W)

Kyuquot    - Icelandic C - mother Haida 2 (Icelandic W) Father Tilikum (Icelandic W)

Unna         - Icelandic C - mother Katina (Icelandic W) Father Tilikum (Icelandic W)

Tuar          - 2nd generation HYBRID C - mother Kalina C(Hybrid Katina/Winston father Tilikum W

Sakari      -  Icelandic - mother Takara,(Icelandic C)  Father Tilikum (Icelandic W)

Kamea    - HYBRID - mother Takara (Icelandic C) Father Kshamenk (unknown pod W)

Skyla      - 2nd generation HYBRID C - mother Kalina C(Katina I/Winston SR) father Tilikum W

Kohana   - Icelandic C - mother Takara C (Icelandic) Father Tilikum (Icelandic)

Tekoa     - 2nd generation HYBRID C - mother Taima C(mother Gudrun Icelandic, father Kanduke Transient) Father Tilikum

Keto     - 2nd generation HYBRID C - mother Kalina C(Katina I /Winston SR) father Kotar (Icelandic W)

Adan    - 3rd generation INBRED HYBRID C - mother Kohana (Icelandic C) Father Keto, Hybrid C

Morgan  - wild caught

13 of Seaworld orca's shouldn't be here as Icelandic and Southern/Northern residents and transients would not mate,  1 is a full inbred and one is a product of uncle and niece inbreeding. Even the newest additions to the tanks are Hybrid and Kalia's new baby will be hybrid as she is too.

 In any other institution animals with no conservation value what so ever would end up with a Marius the giraffe situation, despite having to register births and deaths, Seaworld are still allowed to manage their own stud book.

During the recent voice of san diego debate Dr Robeck stated that Seaworld have had 29 successful births, a figure he seems proud of, yet the total number of orcas is only 29, so what does that say about the death rate???

Note there are no Southern Residents left as apart from Lolita those captured by Seaworld in Puget Sound are all dead.

The gene pools in other captive facilities have also now ran out
Japan Kamogawa 
 Lara (f)- Icelandic - mother Stella father Bingo
Lovey (f) - Icelandic - mother Stella (Icelandic) father Bingo (Icelandic)
Luna  (f)- Icelandic - mother Lovey, father Oscar (Icelandic)
Earth (m) - Icelandic - mother Lovey, father Oscar
Gene pool ran out, 2 sisters and Lovey's calves.

Japan Port of Nagoya
Bingo (m) - Icelandic DECEASED AUG 2014
Ran 2 (f) - Icelandic - mother Stella, father Bingo
Rin (f) - Icelandic - mother Stella, father Bingo
Stella (f) - Icelandic
Gene pool ran out - mother, father and 2 daughters

Marineland Antibes
Freya (f) - Icelandic
Inouk (m)- Icelandic mother Sharkan(Icelandic) Father Kim 2 (Icelandic)
Moana(m) - Icelandic - mother Wikie (Icelandic) Father Ulises (Icelandic)
Valentin (m) - Icelandic - mother Freya (Icelandic) Father Kim 2 (Icelandic)
Wikie(f) - Icelandic - mother Sharkan (Icelandic) Father Kim 2 (Icelandic)
Wikie Calf - Icelandic INBRED - mother Wikie (Icelandic) Father Valentin (Icelandic)
Gene pool ran out - Freya too old, Inouk and Wikie, brother and sister, Valentin and Wikie same father, Moana Wikie, mother and son.

Marineland Ontario
Kiska (f) - Icelandic

Mundo Marino
Kshamenk (m) - unknown pod captured Argentina

Miami Seaquarium
Lolita (f)  - Southern Resident

There seems to be to some connection between the Hybrid orca's and the rate of attacks.
 Both Orkid and Kayla are Hybrid their attack rates are shocking 
1992 Sea World Ohio, USA Kayla
3-year-old female Kayla pushed a trainer back toward pool during training.
1996/07/20 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla
7-year-old female Kayla split to slide out during the show after a non-bridged behaviour. At that time, a guest tried to touch her and she thrashed her head from side to side with her mouth open. No injury occurred.
1999/08/16 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla
10-year-old female Kayla became aggressive with a trainer during a waterwork sequence in the show after several behaviours without reinforcement, in combination with social problems between Kayla and adult female Winnie
2003 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla
14-year-old female Kayla had refused multiple separations prior to the show opening. She proceeded to perform abnormally high bows on a fast swim cue, came back and received an LRS(* see below), performed another set of bows on the fast swim. She was then asked for a line up, tactile was applied and she lined up with a slight lean. As the trainer backed over the wall, she then came out of the line up towards him with her mouth open. No contact was made. She then performed a head bobbing behaviour and split to the front pool. After several minutes staff attempted control and they were able to separate her to the back pool to continue the show.
October 2003 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla
After the opening segment of a show, 15-year-old female Kayla refused to separate into the back pool for the ballet. She had been holding under control in the back during the "trainer intro", began dipping her head under the surface, and then became "big-eyed". It was decided then not to use her for waterwork during that show. She then refused separations to the back pool in a variety of contexts. During attempts to separate any of the animals for the show, she fluke splashed a trainer, and later motioned her head (mouth open) towards a trainer's hand. No injury occurred.
Summer 2004 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla
During a night show, 15-year-old female Kayla had performed the first two songs of the show acceptably, and then did two ventral squirt bow cues. She responded well to both LRS (* see below) that occurred, and then received a primary reinforcement for the second LRS. She was then asked for a fluke splash to the back, and then asked to separate to the back pool. During the separation attempt, she lunged at her trainer, although no contact occurred. After several minutes, she separated into the back pool, allowing the show to continue.
October 2006 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla
After performing a sequence in the show, 17-year-old female Kayla was in the stage slide out with her trainer receiving secondary reinforcement. As the trainer attempted to point her back in the water, Kayla lunged at thim with her mouth open, contacting him and throwing him several feet
November 2006 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla
After performing a med pool separation well, 17-year-old female Kayla was receiving various secondary reinforcers while the gate closed when she pulled away from the wall. She was asked to come back to control, which she did. After a whistle bridge, the trainer went to feed her. Kayla lunged at her, knocking a bucket off the wall.

Orkid has been artificially inseminated many times, but (so far) has not gotten pregnant yet. Only the most senior trainers are to work with her, as she has shown aggression toward trainers in the past, she has quite a shocking attack history for a young orca.
1990/04/21 Sea World California, USA Orkid
1-year-old female Orkid bumped a trainer’s head.
1994/10/23 Sea World California, USA Orkid
6-year-old female Orkid bumped a trainer’s thigh
1996/01/25 Sea World California, USA Orkid
7-year-old female Orkid opened her mouth at a trainer and mouthed a trainer’s thigh.
1996/02/09 Sea World California, USA Orkid
7-year-old female Orkid bumped a trainer’s thigh, bumped a trainer’s body and fluked a trainer
1996/07/03 Sea World California, USA Orkid
7-year-old female Orkid pushed a trainer.
1996/11/22 Sea World California, USA Orkid
8-year-old female Orkid head popped a trainer’s arm.
1997/11/15 Sea World California, USA Orkid
9-year-old female Orkid bumped a trainer’s hip.
1998/06/23 Sea World California, USA Orkid
9-year-old female Orkid pushed a kayak with a trainer around.
1998/07/16 Sea World California, USA Orkid
9-year-old female Orkid was performing a hydro-hop behaviour during a night show. The trainer accidentally hit her tail flukes with his hand upon his re-entry and she responded by hitting him in the stomach with her head. She responded to a stage call calmly.
2002/07/31 Sea World California, USA Orkid
13-year-old female Orkid was given the opportunity to rehearse pulling a trainer into the water by her bootie (sic!). After placing a foot in Orkid’s mouth several times Orkid pulled the trainer in the water and pulled the bootie off.
2002/08/07 Sea World California, USA Splash, Orkid
A female SeaWorld trainer was hospitalized and recovering from a broken arm after an incident at Shamu Stadium on Wednesday. The 28-year-old Tamaree was doing poolside training with 12-year-old male Splash and 13-year-old female Orkid. “She was playing with the whales, talking to them,” said SeaWorld spokeswoman Darla Davis. “The next thing we know, as it appears from the video, she was pulled into the water.” The park has its own video from a pool camera, and it also reviewed a video taken by a visitor who was recording his children nearby. Park officials said the trainer swam out of the water on her own. She was taken to a local hospital, where a pin was put in her arm. Doctors also are monitoring scrapes for possible infection.
2004/05/17 Sea World California, USA Orkid
15-year-old female Orkid bumped a trainer’s thigh
2005/04/14 Sea World California, USA Orkid
During a two whale – one trainer interaction, 16-year-old female Orkid initially responded to a stage call but quickly reached back and pulled a trainer by her ankle to the bottom of “A” pool. Orkid responded to the call back tone.
2005/05/06 Sea World California, USA Orkid
16-year-old female Orkid grabbed a trainer’s foot and dunked the trainer.
2006/11/15 Sea World California, USA Orkid
A SeaWorld trainer was injured, when 18-year-old female Orkid grabbed senior trainer Brian Rokeach by the leg, pulled him to the bottom of the pool and held him under water for about 26 seconds. Orkid released Rokeach after Peters repeatedly slapped the water, the signal for the animals to return to the front of the Shamu Stadium stage. Rokeach suffered a torn ankle ligament but was not hospitalized. In response to the incident, SeaWorld increased to five the number of trainers who must be available during live performances and other times when trainers are in the water with the whales.
2007/04/10 Sea World California, USA Orkid
18-year-old female Orkid was doing an Artificial Insemination session. She had been a bit vocal but was asked for the roll over behaviour for an ultrasound. The trainer then asked Orkid to perform a slide-out behaviour. She refused this behaviour and then swiped her head making contact with the trainer which resulted in the trainer falling over the wall. She did perform the slide-out behaviour after this. The 35-year-old trainer was taken to a hospital for examination and was found to have suffered minor injuries after the bump from the 5,900-pound whale.
104 2010 Orkid
21-year-old female Orkid has been sliding out in various slide-out areas on her free time which has resulted in possibly dangerous scenarios for guests at the Dine with Shamu area. Changes are (were?) being made to the areas to help decrease the frequency of this behaviour in areas where person might be injured.
Orkid has been attacking people since she was one year old. Judging by the stats above Tilikum is far from being the most dangerous whale.She can be seen taking the trainers foot on the film Blackfish.

Malia has seizures

Kalia is a very dominant orca. She will often rake the more submissive orcas, especially Ulises and Ikaika. She is the dominant orca's calf so she can get away with more and has a higher rank in the pod though Kasatka will discipline her if she wants too.
She has never shown aggression towards her trainers but was stopped from doing waterworks because of her dominant nature

Keet is very submissive and bullied terrible by the others his skin is covered in deep rakes.

Tuar is particularly dominant for a male orca.

Keto violently killed his trainer - 
The autopsy report on Martínez was telling and states bluntly that his was a “violent death.” It describes multiple cuts and bruises, the collapse of both lungs, fractures of the ribs and sternum, a lacerated liver, severely damaged vital organs, and puncture marks “consistent with the teeth of an orca.” It concludes that the immediate cause of death was fluid in the lungs (i.e., drowning) but that the fundamental cause was “mechanical asphyxiation due to compression and crushing of the thoracic abdomen with injuries to the vital organs.” In other words, at some point Keto probably slammed into Martínez with such force that he caved in his chest

Skyla  often shows her dominance towards the other orcas. She has also been involved in incidents with trainers and was stopped from performing waterworks.
In the spring of 2009, during a public show, 5-year-old female Skyla started pushing her trainer around the pool and up against the pool wall. Shortly thereafter, special protocols (limits on water work and a mandate that only senior trainers work with her) 

 Tekoa - A trainer at the Loro Parque theme park on Tenerife is in hospital after she was injured this weekend during a training session with 6-year-old male Tekoa at the centre in Puerto de la Cruz. The Canarias 7 newspaper says the incident happened at the pre-show warm up on Saturday, when the orca crashed into the trainer, injuring her right lung and breaking her forearm in two places. She was rescued by two colleagues after the marine mammal dragged her down to the bottom of the pool. The trainer is now said to be stable after surgery on Saturday. Later it becomes know that the injured trainer is 29-year-old biologist Claudia Vollhardt from Germany, who has worked at the park since 2003. OME News write that it was a male orca that hit the trainer and dragged her down after the impact. Then that same animal grabbed the trainer by the arm and brought her back up to the surface.

Of the 4 orca sent to Loro Parque, 3 were hybrid (Icelandic/Resident mixes) 1, Kohana is Icelandic. the only animal the Loro Parque trainers can work with is Kohana.

 Adan, Makani and Kamea are also Hybrid, so have Seaworld made a huge mistake in breeding this orca's like this?  I personally think they have and 3 more are now growing up, for the trainers sake lets hope they don't follow the other Hybrids.

The experiment in my opinion had failed miserably and the breeding programme needs to be stopped as the only way forward is to constantly AI the orca's and for what, to keep the captive pool full.

If they were releasing and rehabilitating and stabilizing the wild population then fair enough, but the ONLY reason they are breeding is to provide more animals for the show.

 It is time they concentrated on what they profess to be specialist in, rescue, rehabilitation and release and start showing the world what they are capable of by working with other scientists and getting these poor creatures out of the tanks. They have more than served their time.

Friday 6 June 2014

Seaworld Round Table Review - Seaworld 10 lies debunked by their own admissions

Walkthough points for the debate on 

What SeaWorld and "Blackfish" Mean for San Diego

Voice of San Diego

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Attending the debate

  • Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist with the D.C.-based Animal Welfare Institute; she was a key consultant for "Blackfish" and likely helped craft the so-called Blackfish bill;
  • Susan Gray Davis, former UC San Diego professor who wrote a book about SeaWorld San Diego and can speak to local contributions;
  • Dr. Todd Robeck, Vice President of theriogenology and is responsible for the company's breeding and reproduction program;
  • Kristi Burtis, worked with SeaWorld more than 25 years, supervisor of animal training and is currently a killer whale trainers.

The debate can be seen here  
Naomi Rose's review can be seen here 

Take note of the admitted things from Seaworld that the 'so called activists' have been saying for years and which Seaworld have said are not true. The Seaworld vet Dr Robeck proves that some of those things stated by Seaworld in recent videos etc are misleading and NOT TRUE.

1. The dorsal fin information they put out WAS misleading it is only 1% of the wild population.

2. From the trainers point of view - only those who have actually been to Seaworld care about those orcas. Seeing them on TV, documentaries etc isn't the same. Tell that to the UK and the majority of countries who don't and wont have them captive!!

3. From Susan - saying the park is educational is AMBIGUOUS the lease says the park has to be educational, but her study shows it is very closely tied to the marketing. Science education experts independant of Seaworld need to do the study again.
Difference between good education and bad. - Good education doesn't lead you to the purchase of products

4. Naomi Rose - Seaworld need to start telling the truth about the impact captivity has on the orca. What they say in the guise of education is just not true.

5. Seaworld vet - She is absolutely right on the dorsal fin collapse. There lifestyle is not the same as they would have in the wild there is NO WAY you can replicate that.  It was misleading I'll give you that, you are right it is less than 1% Lie 1 uncovered.

6. Seaworld vet states the dorsal fin is made of cartilage. He is a vet?? The fin is made of collagen.

It is a true physical manifestation of being captive.

7. Seaworld vet produces teeth picture from John Ford, which is of a shark eating killer whale, as we know sharks have skin like sandpaper and the orca's at Seaworld do not eat shark! Type 1 killer whales show significant tooth wear indicating they use the same foraging method, but they are not down to the gum line as Seaworld orca's who don't forage are.
 Naomi Rose - this shows captivity as a habitat results in conditions which cause health issues.
See tooth wear of killer whales from Seaworld below, they don't eat sharks and as we see from the trainers feeding them, don't forage either.
Corky, teeth just about gone.
So people cannot say well Corky is old, here are Morgans teeth since being in captivity

The deterioration of Morgans teeth

Every Seaworld orca has some issue with their teeth, see here  how can that be when Seaworld say they provide superior dental and veterinary  care?

Captive orca chewing concrete

 The orca project shows pictures and details tooth damage on many of the orcas in Seaworld's care. view here    
 Lie 2 - Seaworld are not providing superior dental care they are merely dealing with the damage

8. Seaworld vet - their longevity HAS been worse in the past. Statistically I cannot say we are doing better, and produce a graph of an incomplete data set, then produces another showing the wild population are doing better than those at Seaworld, but their longevity has gone up. The graph reflect mortality that shouldn't have occurred.

This is NOT TRUE as revealed by Seaworld own vet. 
Lie 3 the lifespan isn't equivalent to the wild as those charts showed.

9Seaworld vet - you can't expect improvement in a few years - it isn't a few years they have had 50 years to get it right and still haven't.
The things Seaworld state orcas in the wild have to endure - pollution, looking for food, predation etc and those orcas out there still outlive Seaworld orca.
Naomi Rose - this is 50 years of work, if they haven't yet equalled the longevity of a well studied wild populations let alone beyond it, they have been given 50 years, no one should give them anymore.

10. Are there any benefits to captivity 
Naomi Rose - back in the 60's the situation was grim, they were being shot at it was an eye opener to see them being friendly etc in captivity. When studies were done in the wild they learnt family groups, there weren't thousands of them, only hundreds of them and so on.
There was a value initially, but very rapidly the work in the wild caught up, by the 90's biologists knew there were heavy costs involved with captivity. 20 years on again and a lot of my colleagues are realising it is time to stop this, as 50 years in plenty enough time to decide whether you can do this.

Susan - my study showed it was the Marine Mammal Protection Act that forced Seaworld to produce what it called a research agenda. The MMPA made it that if you applied for a permit to capture or display these animals you needed to show it was for research or education. One of Seaworld's founders was a marine biologist so a small institute called Hubbs was incorporated and after 1972, they expanded the publics aware ness of the institute. The study showed it wasn't a particularly robust research agenda.

Seaworld vet - they have published 50 articles in the last 50 years. Those research publications can be seen here and read like a history of Seaworld, I have tried to explain them all in the link.
 Question if Seaworld are studying captive killer whales and people want to preserve wild killer whales how does the research apply.
Seaworld  vet- behaviour studies - no direct correlation to wild populations
                        studies on how they react to the environment do apply

Naomi Rose - the recent Seaworld paper on metabolic rate is a note, not a peer reviewed paper
Seaworld list it on their website as one, the Seaworld vet agreed  lie 4 uncovered

Seaworlds website states Studies at SeaWorld have added significantly to the natural history of killer whales the Seaworld vet stated above, no direct correlation to wild populations - lie 5 uncovered

Naomi Rose - Seaworlds research output has been pathetic. She has produced 30 papers in 25 years.

11. Seaworld vet states they have a healthy breeding population of killer whales, have had 29 calves in the past 25 years. Yet the total of animals in the collection is only 29.

12   Seaworld Shows - Quote from OSHA v Seaworld case after Dawn Brancheau's death
Its 20/20 hindsight engaged by the government how a company cannot continue to offer its product, its like if the government came in and told the NFL that close contact was banned.
Seaworld trainer response - we rescue 23000 animals that was due to human cause things like not enough fish in the ocean, pollutions, trauma. Because we have animals in our care we know how to better care for them. There is a great benefit to what we do. (WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE QUESTION ON SHOWS)  Because we have close contact we can gain measurements etc.

13. Q Explain the relationship you have with them - how can they make a choice or make relationships or friends with you, are they thinking feeling beings behind the glass? 
Seaworld trainer - Absolutely, I can ask a killer whale do do something and it chooses whether to do it or not. Relationships as we only know human relationships, I would call it a trust and respect.  

Like a dog? - yes absolutely.

When Blackfish say they are even more sensitive than humans, they may even have more cognitive thought what is wrong with that, what are they missing when they say that? 
Its a difficult question, you are trying to compare animals with humans and its the only thing we have to compare.
Vet - its a tough question they are intelligent wonderful creatures, are they going to be flying jet aircraft next week, No, they are intelligent animals and deserve respect.

Back to the show riding a killer whale etc why is that so important? Why is an attorney fighting so hard to have the trainers in the water during a show, Why is that so important? 
Seaworld trainer -  I'm not saying its important, its one way we interact with these killer whales. This is how the public experience the killer whales. You don't see the work that Dr Roebeck does, you don't see the learning, the husbandry all the things that take place behind the scenes. The shows are what you know, its exciting, its one way we interact with them. People ask how do you get a job, its inspiring.

Susan - I think they are the key to the brand. It subtlety shows people in charge of the animals. Its done in a skillful artful way but that is what people are seeing. It is interesting to see that the trainers haven't been in the water since the OSHA decision and it shows that this brand can be forced to change.

To Seaworld vet - has there been any change, has it had an effect on the animals.
Seaworld vet - NO but they are used to that and its something the whales want. You can see that with Keiko, he grew up with dolphins and no other killer whales and the interaction was everything to him. I was talking to a trainer from Oregon his favourite game was to tip a raft. This bond is very important to them and to take it away, I can't read their mind and there are no changes in health parameters but it must have an effect.

Naomi Rose the fact they come up to Christie (Seaworld trainer) and ask how do I get your job proves they are selling a product and that product is the bond that is exactly what the OSHA attorney said. They are not selling conservation and protection of these whales but a purely captive element. The bond is clearly real they are intelligent social animals, BUT that isn't what they are supposed to be doing.

Having to watch a show in order to get inspired about conservation is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Clinging to an old business model is not innovative.

Seaworld vet - the shows do inspire you. We are always looking to improve our shows and if you have ideas that are constructive we are always welcome to hear them.

Shouldn't they be looking at ways to improve the lives of those orcas not the shows?

Susan - the shows allow people to have feelings about the animals, sometimes those feelings aren't always controllable  sometimes they turn into a feeling that the animals shouldn't be in captivity. 

Seaworld vet - I agree 100% everybody here all care about these animals but we have different opinions on what is good for them or not. Seaworld is effective and creating a connection and we are not trying to control it one way or another. Everyone is energised not because of people shooting them with machine guns but because they were brought and we were all able to see them inspire us for the future.

Although Seaworld had to keep being dragged back to the show question, their vet stated that the lack of waterworks since 2010 has had NO effect on the health parameters of those orcas what so ever. 

14. Regarding the bill being passed

Naomi Rose - one of the members at the hearing said there is no reason it cannot be passed, there are seapens in Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, there are seapens all around the world for dolphins. The engineering principles are established, and there is no logistical reason why they can't exist. 
The main focus of the bill wasn't about seapens it was about stopping the breeding programme, and phasing the animals out. I honestly believe it would be better for their wellbeing to have more space and be in natural sea water, and be in a natural environment, but still enclosed and still receiving human care as it is very clear many of these animals will never be able to return to the open ocean.

Would they survive a seapen? 

Naomi Rose, I will regret this but Keiko survived a return to a seapen. The reason I say I regret this is bringing it up in this environment as people out there are saying I am responsible for killing Keiko. He made that transfer to the seapen without any problems at all.

Seaworld vet - we are not interested in seapens, one of the persons who worked with Keiko claims when the seapens move the pier would become unstable, they had to use daily adjustments to get the sea pens to stay in place, there is a huge amount of noise (what about fireworks and music? ) This is what Mark (Simmonds the ocean embassy dolphin catcher) like water torture, squeaking, grinding etc, we had to switch the hydrophone off as it drove us crazy. Seapens have their own problems with noise reverberating off the bottom, boats, pollution and hurricane. (Things wild orca experience every day lol) 

Naomi Rose - I do hope you take those concerns to the US Navy and tell them these are the concerns you have for their facility in San Diego. They have 70 dolphins there in a sea pen right in the middle of a shipping lane, with traffic in and out of San Diego harbour. 

Seaworld vet - as soon as the US Navy get killer whales we will have that discussion.
Naomi Rose - they have dolphins
Seaworld vet - I thought we were here about killer whales.
Yet Seaworld profess to advocate for the care of animals.

15. Question - are moms and calves separated? 

Seaworld vet - we don't move dependent calves 
At what point are they dependant
Seaworld Vet - when they are not nursing or requiring them mom for their health and well being. Wild do stay together for life but that is not the case for all eco types. 
States seaworld orca are type 1 yet gives a quote for transients and off shores. Why give them as an example because it shows these animals have an ability to adapt. Our habitat is a different environment again and they adapt well. See website here 
Lie 6 - yes we do separate moms and calves
Lie - they do as confirmed by their own vet.
                                Seaworld vet proves this video from Mark Simmons is also a lie

 Naomi Rose studied resident and transient, transients separate about 10 years old, but do periodically reunite as they always have that mother and calf bond. They don't live right by their sides as residents do but they do have lifelong bonds. Seaworld have no transients in their tanks now, Kanduke being the last.
Given that captivity is another habitat I fail to understand why extra effort isn't made to accomodate a natural history pattern that is apparent in several different eco types. It would be an enormous step forward in improving their welfare. Its cruel.

Seaworld vet - an assumption is being made that we don't respect the bond we don't move calves but we do move juveniles, there has been 12, this is what we have done and our animals are doing quite well.

Naomi Rose A specific animal Skyla - what was the criteria you used when you sent Skyla to Loro Parque she was less than 2. 
Audience - she was more than 2 - (SHE WAS ACTUALLY 2 YEARS AND 3 DAYS OLD.)

6 of Seaworld killer whales were moved between 2 and 4 years old.

Seaworld vet - I don't believe what you say but I can't dispute it. What I can say is the animals are doing quite well. Why do wild orca stay together, why do they do that - because they co ordinate food activity, (they could do that with a group of strangers) 

Naomi Rose - Kohana - sent very young to Loro Parque - she was bred twice and rejected both calves, one of which is now dead, one hand raised. Was that appropriate that she had no adult female to supervise her or mentor her?
Seaworld vet - she was around other calves and we have had mothers younger than her raise calves, (she was 8 when she gave birth). Yes that did happen, was it ideal ABSOLUTELY NOT, but due to our expertise in raising rejected calves we were able to get that calf through that moment and one of them is alive today. 
Lie 7 - why would we do that? Killer whales have approx 17month gestation, Kohana gave birth in Loro Parque at 8 years old, she was not pregnant before she left the USA

Lie 7 why would you work for a park that just shot itself in the foot and admitted that YOU DO DO THAT??

16 Seaworld jobs - What about the people who depend on Seaworld for jobs. If the loss of the orca shows meant the demise of Seaworld could you look them in the face and say it was worth it.

Naomi Rose -  I am proposing an evolution in their business model, I don't see why they should go out of business. If they stopped the breeding programme they would still have these animals for another 30-40 years by Seaworld calculations. Monteray Bay Aquarium is one of the most successful in California and it has NO marine mammals.
Seaworld won't know until they try. Marineworld Africa USA still successful but don't have killer whales anymore. 

Q. Seaworld has an agreement with the city that at least 75% of their exhibits need to be animal or conservation related.
Naomi Rose - and there would be no way of renegotiating that? 
Maybe but would Seaworld be interested?? 

Seaworld vet - Lets talk about the breeding programme - its a very import part of their lives, to interact with juveniles, its one of the instincts all animals possess. 
We have a thriving population that is breeding successfully.
Naomi Rose - I would dispute that but Ok talk
 It is a model, this population is the only one that can provide information and benefit those in the wild. As Dr Rose mentioned the wild is not pretty. Right now they are collecting feces from killer  whales in the wild wouldn't it be great to be able to collect it every day and compare it to the wild. Stopping the breeding programme would be a huge mistake. Second of all Seaworld is not interested in changing the model of killer whales in San Diego or anywhere else period.
We are open to suggestions to improve what we do but not open to suggestions that are not constructive.
Naomi Rose - and that answers your previous question.(It certainly does Seaworld ARE NOT open to changing anything to improve the lives of those orca, preferring the shows) 

17. Q Dr Rose how hopeful are yo that the live marine mammal shows will be banned in California within the next 10 years - summed up as - what is going on with AB2140.

The bill was referred for interim study, it is going to be reintroduced next session. The interim study has already begun. It is my firm belief that the committee who participated in April up to that point their main point of reference was a film, a documentary Blackfish, and they want to understand the issues better, they want to have more basis, more foundation for any vote they take and I was very much in support of that so this interim study is very important.

Lie 8 - the bill was not thrown out or buried, it wasn't a win for Seaworld as many stated.

18.  When we wrote about this issue many said ' why not let the market decide'.
Naomi Rose - that is fair enough and I believe the market will decide. I would hope it doesn't take 10-15 years as I believe the animals are suffering now. The 54 killer whales currently in captivity are suffering now, and sea pens with human care would be a vast improvement.
Seaworld vet declined to comment - stating move on

19.  Hasn't the killing of trainers proved that these creatures suffer psychological harm in captivity.

Seaworld trainer - Absolutely not, we are working with large animals, there is inherent risk working with any animal

Q So people shouldn't be concerned that this will happen again? 

Seaworld trainer - Of course but we have had millions of interactions with these animals that have been safe, so unfortunately there have been some incidents and we are learning from those and hopefully our safety practices will continue to improve.

Seaworld vet - lets put it in perspective there are approx 20 people per year killed by cattle, 50000 incidents per year with horses, working with large animals is inherently dangerous everyone knows that. 
They sign up for the job, its a choice we all make when we ride our horses.
So its the trainers fault for signing up if they happen to get killed??

Naomi Rose - the failure rate, or mortality rate if you like, is greater than we as a population accept for cars. 

Seaworld vet - I'm not a mechanic I am a vet  
We have 1.6 million interactions and 7 that required outside care. Lie 9 there are at least 11 incidents logged on here requiring hospitalization or worse.
Then there is this one too, another lucky to be alive. Although Orky was not in a Seaworld park at the time he was then bought for their breeding programme. What reputable breeder breeds an animal with a history of killing, yet Seaworld have done it over and over?

 This is a voluntary job, people sign up for it and it is inherently dangerous, at some point we have to take responsibility for the risks we assume on ourselves, we cant go around having people tell us, we can't ride a horse, we can't work we cattle, we can't have a dog, we can't have a python. Whatever you want to restrict us on this is a choice and all the information is there that people make every day.
Seaworld seem to be missing the point that riding a horse is a choice, in business the business owner has a responsibility to ensure staff safety and welfare, what ever the business model is, that was the basis for the OSHA hearing, the training looking for precursors failed, in many cases there were none and as a business safety  is their responsibility.

20.  for Christie Seaworld trainer, you mention that the killer whales have a choice please discuss what happens if killer whales decide not to perform.

Seaworld trainer - One of the things we have learned is how to communicate when behaviours are incorrect, we have hand signals to communicate a particular behaviour if they decide not to participate they simply won't engage in that behaviour over the years and because of our experts we have learnt that pausing for a few seconds we call it an LRS  least reinforcing scenario,  communicating to the animals they are incorrect, but with the killer whales we reinforce them on a high ratio for accepting the failure. We know as humans failure is a great way to learn if we reinforce the animals for not participating, they will learn hey I am just going to hang out. Most of them do participate but if they choose not to we pause for 2 or 3 seconds and move on.
As part of our job we know each individual animal and we are trained to look at the group, and look at the social dynamics and determine, was it a failure on our communication part, is there something going on in the group, sometimes we bring animals out into a show and they don't participate at all, we interact and hang out with the animal, lining them up, rubbing them down, interacting with them out in a show environment. One of the ways we can vary what we do with them. 

Q one of the things said is if they don't participate they don't eat.

Seaworld trainer - well thats not true 
Seaworld vet - I would be the first to stand up and say that isn't acceptable, they have a minimum base for their nutrition, they get their base every day, whether they participate or not. 

Q - so reinforcement isn't food.
Seaworld trainer - its not just food, food is one thing, most people don't know we feed them all their food in that interaction, then interact with them in a show, as trainers we are very creative we have such bonds with these animals we don't need the food, so for those of you who think we are training based on food, forget it, food has a very low reinforcing property, it loses its reward very quickly.
Seaworld vet - they get their food no matter what and they are intelligent animals, we have to be smart enough to make it fun for them, otherwise they choose not to participate, its that simple. Its a good opportunity to clarify that issue. 
VOSD - when you see them being fed, you wonder how else does it happen.

21.  Why is this issue such a big deal?
Naomi Rose - thats a really good question, first of all, there is an ethical question here, I do not want to take away 10's of thousands of jobs, but if those jobs are based on a practice I find unethical I think as a society we should work to figure out other ways to interpret those jobs.
Secondly - why is it so important as in the case of orca's we are only talking about 54 animals, but as said early 24 million visitors visit Seaworld,  and 180 million visit Aquariums every year. Thats a lot of people getting everything they know from this source, which from my perspective as a scientist is giving out biased and incorrect information,  so if you are trying to tell people the truth about what needs to be done in the wild and  about conservation based on lies you are telling a lie and they are not going to learn what they need to learn to care about these animals habitat. They are going to think that by going to Seaworld they have given up the office, I just spent $84 today to get in the gate as its my job and I am being told that the money is going to conservation and its actually not because its a for profit corporation and they have shareholders to be concerned about.

We got that data right - in a state assembly committee hearing the Seaworld San Diego president said they had spent $750000 dollars on its animal rescue programme in 2013 and that pencils out at 0.05% of the companies total revenue. However that does not incorporate other things Seaworld does and they will not release that information, they say because they are publicly traded. 
Lie 10, this is true despite Seaworld saying it isn't.

Seaworld vet - I want to comment about your ethical question, just because you disagree ethically doesn't mean society has to change, we all have different opinions and society is an amalgamation of many different opinions. Often the majority rules
Naomi Rose - the market will speak
Seaworld vet - when people know the truth that our animals are thriving and doing well and the benefits they can provide to wild animals they are going to be as excited about them as I am and thats my opinion.
Back to the issue of conservation - Seaworld has had 5 different owners since 1989,  it hasn't had the continuum, but as a veterinarian every single time we have needed money to do something to buy facilities or go save an animal, anything animal related there has never been an issue.

Closing statements

Naomi Rose - I think its really great that this issue is being discussed. I have been doing this for over 20 years and this just would not have happened 15 years ago even 10 years ago, so its a sign of progress just being on this stage and I am very pleased about that. I do believe the market will speak and as I said to you Scott I just hope it doesn't take that long. Market forces are slow, and I honestly think the animals need help now, so I just hope the market works fast enough so we can all work constructively work towards an evolved business model.

Susan - I have one take away. I believe the animal rights movement has really changed and grown and gotten stronger in the last couple of decades and I have been very struck by the outspokenness of these issues I think thats very interesting and very noteable.
The second thing I would like to say is brands change, brands have changed over time and brands can also be hurt and be vunerable. For example Walmart and McDonalds have been taking it on the chin for paying such low and anti union wages, the same thing is not untrue of Seaworld in the vunerability of its brand and its anti union and low wage status as well for many of the people who work there. When brands dont jive with reality thats when they become vunerable.

Christie Seaworld trainer - Well as I said for the last 26 years I have actually been caring for animals at Seaworld, Ive rescued, Ive rehabilitated, Ive given up a lot in my life to help Seaworlds mission and I can't tell you strongly enough, they have inspired me as a person and my goal every single day is to connect with people so they can help the wild population. I meet people every single day and what strikes me most is the kids, and I think there is one aspect to having animals at Seaworld that we haven't covered today and that is they do connect with kids and I tell you I just got a visit the other day, I won't tell you her name. I met her 4 years ago and randomly asked her if she wanted to come meet a dolphin she was about 4 years old and after the interaction her mother grabbed my arm and said 'how did you know' I said how did I know what?  This little girl is in foster care she has been abused multiple ways she's never been made to feel special, I've never seen her smile and I can't believe how much interaction she had with those animals. This shows the power these animals have to create something in this childs life she never had. Shes 8 years old now they come every year to see me and say hello and she's a well adjusted little girl. Its not because of me its because of those animals, they make a difference not just in my life, not just kids but everybody out there.
( how do the abused children say in the UK where there are no captive mammals go on then? They too turn out to be well adjusted kids, it has absolutely nothing to do with the power of those animals and everything to do with realising that the person who abused her is bad, not all people abuse or hurt, the problem is with the abuser. I personally think that is a sick example and an insult to abused children worldwide if she seriously thinks that those dolphins aided in her recovery). 

Seaworld vet - I think its important to understand that everybody who works with these animals, (crying) on a daily basis, sorry I am getting emotional, we dedicate our lives to them. We are truly the advocates of these animals, everyone that works there is dedicated to them. Dr Rose does too we just have a difference of opinion. Everybody that works at Seaworld is an advocate for that animal who is a part of their family and these animals are doing well, and I guarantee you that if they weren't doing well you would have a mass exodus of veterinarians, animal trainers, activists, they would be with Dr Rose, but they're not.
The reason I am getting emotional is I am thinking about my son who was born 9 weeks ago and I would rather be there with him but I chose to come here, and the thought of him not being able to have the experiences I had, the emotion, the connection, its horrible. Seaworld is very important for the lives of the next generation, they are very important to keep this connection up, its incredibly important for the wild animals and if we can do a better job getting the message across, we will take advice, but we will continue to improve, and invest in our facilities and continue to make Seaworld the best place to go to have experiences with these animals.

Some of the twitter comments to the #Seaworldchat link show the public feeling from the debate.

Ah, I'm sorry -ers, did no one boo Naomi as instructed?

 Ah, the old 'animal ambassadors make people care' line. Explain the UK. No captive dolphins. Explain dinosaurs.

 so basically SeaWorld, for us to care about animals it is imperative that we first capture, confine and be entertained by them


 I am so embarrassed for the two Seaworld representatives. Damn. Do they realize this is being recorded?

 It's so sad that refuse to grow and be a force for real good, they could easily do it - pride & greed get in the way

 . what's next after the orca chart? A coloring book? " More crayons!! O_o

  the orca trainer contributed very little to the discussion I felt

 Since they haven't got a leg to stand on, pulls out the crocodile tears! You make me sick!

  weakest argument-humans need to see captive Orcas to help wild Orcas-I'd do anything to help Orcas+have never seen a captive 1

View photo

  Take home from debate? Anti-cap arguments grounded in science whereas relies on tears, stunts PR
Most of the comments seem to run along the same lines, with many people upset by the child being used as an example, the fact that the likes of the UK have no captive orcas so Seaworld using the same argument over and over that they have to be seen in a captive facility to inspire people to preserve and care for them is really rubbing people the wrong way.

Seaworld made it very clear they are not prepared to move to seapens so we all know that a fight will have to be pursued.

I personally think this example shows a win win for all. No lost revenue for Seaworld, none of the issues Seaworld say Mark Simmons states about Keiko's release and more importantly a much better as near as natural as possible environment for those orcas, where people can actually learn from some of the natural behaviours those orcas will perform and the orca will not miss out on the human bonds they have created.

What do you think?