Captivity means early orca death

News reports say Tilikum, the orca in captivity at Sea World is slowly dying. Death would be merciful compared to the life he is living at SeaWorld. Paraded out once in awhile to “perform,” and occasionally so SeaWorld staff can take sperm samples to send around the world where orcas can be produced to live in even worse circumstances that Tilikum. It is about the money. And if you don’t believe that, rent “Blackfish.” for a real eye-opener.

The vet at SeaWorld is sad that Tilikum is dying. He should be sadder for the years that this orca has been kept in captivity, languishing in a pen by himself, even after killing a trainer.

Orcas in the wild have never killed a human and they are not solitary animals, they travel as family groups (pods).

The veterinarian added: “If he would have shown up with this disease in the wild, there’s no doubt in my mind he’d have been gone a long time ago.”

Male orcas in the wild have an average life span of 50 to 60 years, but the expectancy for killer whales in captivity is much shorter. Tilikum is believed to be about 35 years old; the median survival rate for orcas in U.S. marine parks is just 12 years.

When the public decides to show their kids orcas in the wild, either by whale watching or National Geographic films, SeaWorld will stop breeding them in captivity for … you guessed it, the money.

Death would mean an end to Tilikum’s suffering, a better fate than continued captivity at SeaWorld.

Elaine Knapp

Mukilteo

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