Before the 1960′s, when the TV series Flipper became popular, trained sea creatures such as dolphins were a very rare occurrence. Richard “Ric” O’Barry was a dolphin trainer at Miami Seaquarium and helped to capture five wild dolphins that would be trained to star in Flipper. He carried this on for 10 years until Kathy, who was the main dolphin to star in Flipper, died in his arms; he strongly believes she committed suicide when she didn’t resurface for air. It was this one event that completely changed his stance on what he was doing. He suddenly realised that imprisoning and training these beautiful and intelligent creatures for human entertainment was abhorrent. On Earth Day of 1970, Ric founded The Dolphin Project which is an organisation dedicated to educating people about the plight of dolphins in captivity. This organisation rescues and rehabilitates dolphins and releases them back to the wild. As well as this, Ric leads an international effort to stop the hunting of dolphins and the trafficking of dolphins to theme parks such as Sea World. He has written two books: Behind the Dolphin Smile and To Free a Dolphin, and also appeared in the documentary, The Cove.
I can’t believe it, but I just found this photo in a box in my basement, this is a photo of Sea World, 1980 (before I was born)! I wonder which one of the whales this is…poor thing…
UPDATE: I’ve been informed by @dutchorca-art of the identity of this whale: “That’s Ramu, a Southern Resident from K-pod, captured in February of 1967, at an estimated 4 years old. He lived in captivity for 11 years, dying at around 15 years old at SeaWorld Florida in 1982. He was also rented by the US Navy for an experiment on orca hearing. He’s easily recognized by his gorgeous open saddle!”
Tilikum, the orca whale that was the crown jewel of SeaWorld’s aquatic attractions and subject of documentary Blackfish, died on Friday morning. He is estimated to have been 36 years old.
SeaWorld described Tilikum as a
“beloved member of the SeaWorld family” who was “surrounded by the
trainers, care staff and veterinarians that provided him
around-the-clock world-class care” when he died.
While the official cause of death has not yet been
determined, the park said that Tilikum had been suffering from “very
serious health issues,” including a bacterial lung infection. Read more
The last baby killer whale to be born at a SeaWorld theme park has made its debut.
The company said it welcomed its newest aqua-animal when Takara, the 25-year-old matriarch of the SeaWorld San Antonio killer whale pod, gave birth to the calf Wednesday afternoon.
Takara was already pregnant when the company in March 2016 announced that it would be ending its breeding program for killer whales, which are also known as orcas. The program had come under criticism from animal-rights activists, especially since a 2013 documentary claimed that captivity was harmful to orcas. In addition to ending the breeding program, the company said in 2015 that it would be ending its killer whale shows by 2019.