Like Sedna, or Sanna; the drowned goddess, Inuit mermaids were once humans. They were women from all ages who drowned by falling under the ice or being washed away by a powerful wave. Sedna welcomed thoses women she saw as sisters and granted them the gift of breathing underwater and an orca tail to show that they belonged to the underwater world. She painted their hands with black lines with her hair which symbolizes her own fingers and hands which were cut by her father and from which all the fish sprang out. Inuit mermaids are benevolent spirits guiding fishermen in winter, leading the fish where they will be needed and calming Sedna when she is angry because of her hair entangled by the currents..
This is the new orca show at seaworld, which is focusing on natural orca behaviour. I was very skeptical of what they’d come up with but I’m actually fairly impressed with this show in terms of its educational content compared with One Ocean and Believe (I mean its not groundbreaking content but enough for a basic presentation to the general public).
They talk about different orca ecotypes, their black and white counter-shading, physical characteristics, swimming capabilities, communication and (a very basic) description of social structure, hunting behaviour and a section of whale husbandry and the research they conduct (which of course overstates how much they do and how crucial this research is to wild whale survival - but at least they’re doing something).
The whales themselves mainly do fast swims, side breaches, spyhops, pec-slaps, porpoising, tail slaps and slide outs. There does seem to be a decent effort to link everything the whales are doing to comparative wild behaviour, although there is the obligatory splash the audience at the end.
The whales are all referred to by name, and the trainers are very much in the background for much of the show, the focus is on the orca more than “look how much the trainers love the whales”. All in all this show is far closer to the sort of zoo presentations I’ve seen in the UK, where the focus is on explaining about an animals natural history.
Whilst its a big improvement, I have one bugbear. There is very little about how to conserve orca in the wild or the threats they face. There are no details about any whale populations in trouble (i.e the southern residents) or how the general public can actively change our behaviour to help the ocean. Instead there is a general message about save the planet and a statement about how visiting seaworld you’ve helped a little bit to save the ocean *sigh*.
That sort of message is downright irresponsible. Sure it gives the visitors a warm fuzzy feeling that their fun day out is doing some good, but it doesn’t actually address any real issues. It paints this stupid image that by driving to SeaWorld, consuming an environmentally damaging mass produced lunch, buying a mass produced shamu doll made in china which is has been shipped over to the states, buying a fizzy drink in a non-degradable bottle and riding around on a roller-coaster powered by the burning of fossil fuels is somehow helping the environment.
Am I missing something??? - will the american general public immediately riot if you suggest they reduce their carbon footprint, their plastic use, or their meat consumption? Or does Seaworld not have the balls to tell people what they need to hear just in case they upset a climate change denier? If SeaWorld wants to convince its critics that it actually gives a damn, they need to stop pussyfooting about and give a bold, clear conservation message instead of this generic “if we all work together we can save the planet” bullshit.
*Edit below as my ranting didn’t make my overall feeings clear*
All in all, this is a positive step in the right direction, there is more to be done, but for the moment, regarding this show “well done SeaWorld”.
I remember that I had delinquent Kanan (y’know that delinquent YouRiko AU I had… and forget) and had Dia(still same as the anime, seitokaichou and stuff) constantly worrying about this dumdum Orca not showing up at school and had to look for her and bring her back. BUT!! This time… as a teacher ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
I wanted to draw orca and ended up drawing J54 Dipper and his mother, J28 Polaris. Dipper would have been one of the first orca I could have watched growing up, losing his yellow, getting big and strong, sprouting a tall dorsal fin… Now the only thing I can think of is that their pod is missing both of them.
Pregnant Orca Kalia Gets Stuck in a Gate at Seaworld San Diego.
Let me give everyone a breakdown of what’s wrong with this situation. We’ll start with the basics.
Kalia is pregnant. She was impregnated via Artificial Insemination (forced manual breeding) at the age of 8 years old. Studied wild populations typically have females who do not become pregnant until around age 15, rarely but occasionally a couple of years younger or older. 8 years old is an unusual and potentially dangerous age to impregnate a female.
In the video (fast forward to around 2 minutes), Kalia becomes stuck in the automatically closing gates. As you see, the gate is coming down on her around her midsection, putting potentially dangerous pressure on her unborn calf. As if her being a pregnant juvenile isn’t dangerous enough, these situations are extremely alarming.
I’m confused as to why there was no trainers that felt that this was not a time to be alarmed and immediately act. Timing from the video, it took around a full minute for the gate to be released. That’s a long time to be trapped. Where was the panic?
This is an extremely concerning issue also because becoming stuck in a gate has proven to be fatal to one Orca, named Kotar, in the past. Read up on his story here.
This is just an observation so it should be taken with a large grain of salt, but notice how she acts when she is released by the gates. Its almost as if she’s writhing, in pain maybe? I’m not sure if that’s it at all so don’t take it as fact, but just the way in which she reacts when she’s released formt he gate almost looks like she’s distressed.
Overall, this is an awful situation and the fact that Orcas are still able to get stuck between gates after they had an Orca DIE from this similar situation in the 90’s is very telling. Things have not changed, potentially dangerous situations have not been fixed.
Not going to deny I started crying while drawing this.
This picture is based off the actual event of Kandu 5’s death, probably one of the most horrific orca deaths in Sea World’s history. Kandu 5 had rammed into Corky II, which ended up injuring her and tearing an artery. She was drowning in her own blood and exhaling it through her blowhole. After her 45 minute ordeal, she bled to death. Her daughter, Orkid, was with her the entire time.
Orkid has lost many orcas dear to her, including her mother, her friend Splash, and friend Sumar. She watched all of them die.
Having been a calf when her mother died, Corky II, the orca who Kandu 5 deliberately aimed to injure, adopted Orkid.
You can only imagine what Orkid was thinking and how she’s managing today after all she’s been through.
While Kandu 5 was dying, nothing was done to help her. The trainers can be seen helplessly watching and telling guests to leave the stadium so they wouldn’t be able to see this disgusting scene. When Kandu 5 sunk to the bottom of the tank, no one did a thing. Sea World covered up her death and pretended it never happened to avoid bad attention.
There is still anger and aggressive behavior orcas show towards each other and their trainers today. Although an orca on orca collision only caused death once, many still attack and injure each other greatly. Do not buy into Sea World’s claims of their orcas being a “happy family”. Corky II and Kandu 5 spoke completely different languages and couldn’t even understand each other, which most likely caused so much tension. Don’t support facilities that practice keeping cetaceans in captivity.
Can I just say - This is huge. For years we have fought
SeaWorld with little success. They stood fast in the face of ever growing
criticism, they covered their eyes and stuck fingers in their ears denying
there was a problem. For this company to suddenly change tack and end orca
breeding is enormous. This could be the catalyst that ends Orca captivity
across the globe.
We did it. The
power of social media has forced a huge, powerful company to change its ways.
We have the power to dictate what these companies do by hitting their wallets.
We can do anything. This is not only a victory for all those who have
campaigned for those whales but also a finger in the face to all those who derided
This breeding ban seems to apply to all the whales in
SeaWorlds collection, including those in Loro Parque. It is currently uncertain
what will happen to Shouka, who is on breeding loan from Marineland France.
Presumably this ban will be effected by separating the females from the males
when they’re cyling or using medicinal birth control. Assuming Takara’s
pregnancy is problem free, her calf will be the last baby shamu. Only time will
tell if this ban holds true, it would be all too easy for “accidental” pregnancies
I would urge everyone not to be fooled by this announcement.
SeaWorld hasn’t suddenly developed a conscience. This is a business decision
and a response to the inevitable. When the application to import wild beluga
whales into the US was blocked, it dealt a huge blow to the industry. Gone was any chance of being able to import
internationally caught wild cetaceans without huge public backlash and legislative
blocks. This was helped by the deal made between Virgin and SeaWorld to never
capture wild cetaceans again – a deal brought about by public pressure. The
death of Valentin, a previously untapped source of genetic diversity, and the
seemingly poor viability of Ulises sperm combined with the huge bias of Tilikum’s,
Katina’s and Kasatka’s genes within the breeding program has extinguished the
long term viability of the captive orca
population. SeaWorld knows this, and is using this announcement to maximising
its gains in a time of endless bad press.
The Blue World Project is now officially out of the water.
The scraping of this project proves that the tank expansion wasn’t about
improving living conditions but about providing more room for captive bred
whales. It is a shame that the expansion won’t be going ahead, however the
company will not make such a huge investment in their animals without the
promise of economic gain from more baby whales.
However this announcement will also hopefully prevent the
expansion of SeaWorld’s Orca program into Asia. There have been many rumours of
SeaWorld teaming up with other companies such as a partnership with Samsung in
South Korea. Again only time will tell if such plans come to fruition, or if in
light of SeaWorld financial trouble they choose to abandon such plans.
This announcement hasn’t clarified a very important issue,
the separation of family groups. Without the need to move animals around for
breeding purposes SeaWorld will find it hard to justify the separation of
mothers and calves. I don’t want Kasatka to loose another daughter, I want
Takara Kamea and Sakari to live out their lives together. If SeaWorld is
serious about the welfare of their animals no more Orca mothers will cry for
SeaWorld still intends to keep the Orca in their show tanks.
This breeding ban doesn’t address broken teeth, stereotypical behaviour,
surface logging, confinement, chronic stress, shortened lifespans, continual
medication and all the other issues facing captive whales. So far sea pens are
still “Sea-cages”, we can only keep campaigning till the whales get what they
need and deserve – an ocean sanctuary. A month ago we would have thought a
breeding ban was impossible, we can win a better home for these whales.
Of course the emphasis on expanding their animal rescue plan
is a double edged sword. Unreleasable animals will continue to be performers,
even in the supposed new “educational shows”. And as brilliant as this ban is,
it does not include SeaWorlds other cetaceans. Nor does it prevent SeaWorld
from heading to Antarctica to help itself to penguin chicks. Who’s to say
SeaWorld won’t stock Shamu stadium with rescued pilot whales instead. They need
to be watched closely, we must keep them on their toes. We cannot forget the other animals which get less press coverage. The dolphins, pilot whales and belugas suffer as much as any Orca.
Now is not the time to be complacent. This is the being of a
very long war to empty the tanks for good. If SeaWorld chooses they could be an
instrumental player in this alternative future. It’s time to phase out captivity of ALL
cetaceans, open up their animals to REAL research, open sea-sanctuaries for
their animals and for all those rescued who can’t return home. They should be
rallying cries to tear down the Snake River dams, to end once and for all the
drive hunts and condemn those new parks in china holding wild Russian whales. They
should teach every single adult and child that walks through their gates about
plastic pollution, ocean acidification and overfishing. I don’t want kids
walking out saying they want to be trainers, they should be shouting from the
rooftops that they want to be marine biologists, scientists and environmental
campaigners. I want real education, research
and conservation. I want a real commitment to cetacean welfare. I want SeaWorld to stand up and admit they
were wrong. Only then will I pay money to walk through their gates.
Despite the battle ahead, this is a new beginning, a step in
the right direction. We will see an end
to cetacean captivity in our lifetime.
We will live in a world where every dolphin, whale and
porpoise is wild and free.