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A remarkable article about the plight of Killer Whales in captivity

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Killer Whale (Orca)I have taken quite a keen interest in Killer Whales recently. I am not sure why, but the one thing I do know is that these beautiful creatures should not be kept in captivity. This is not the opinion of a marine biologist or conservation specialist. This is the opinion of a human being who thinks that these stunning marine mammals should be allowed to live a life of freedom and not live in a tank for the entertainment of others.

I have read quite a lot of articles on the subject recently, some are in favor of captivity due the amount we can learn from Killer Whales, others which suggest that mental illness and depression can be caused after long periods performing and living in tank conditions. In extreme cases I have read instances of Killer Whales “Self Harming” and repeatedly banging their heads against the sides of the tank.

While continuing to learn more about this subject I came across an article which covers the whole topic. It Details information from both sides of the debate and covers everything from the first capturing of Killer Whales for entertainment in 1965 right up to the sad death of marine park trainer Dawn Brancheau at the jaws of Tilikum, a captive Killer Whale at SeaWorld. (who had been involved in 2 previous marine park deaths).

In 2010, at the time the article was written there were 42 killer whales in captivity around the world, SeaWorld owned 26 of them but over the years, 130 have died in captivity.

The article itself is quite long so allow yourself 30 minutes to read it but I would highly recommend taking the time. Regardless of which side of the debate you land on, you will certainly learn a lot about the subject.

Follow the link below and I would be curious to know your opinions on the matter.




Blue Horizon

About Author

Lee has been in the marketing industry for the last 15 years and now specializes in teaching marketing techniques to people in the scuba diving industry. He is founder of Dive Media Solutions which, in addition to providing complete marketing, media, communications and IT solutions exclusively for the scuba diving industry, also produces The Scuba News. You can connect with Lee via Twitter by following @DiveMedia


  1. Just read the article and I think it’s really great. It’s quite profound actually, I feel quite sad. I definitely think wild animals should stay in the wild but it’s so hard to know what to do once they’ve spent so many years in captivity. I can’t imagine how those poor killer whales survived in such terrible conditions at places like Sealand. I would absolutely love to sea Orca in their natural habitat. Such fascinating creatures. I’m a big fan of David Attenborough, the ‘Frozen Planet’ series proved just how clever they are with the behaviour they caught on film. Will def be keeping up to date with posts on Scuba News…thanks for bringing this article to my attention – it was long but well worth a read!

    • Thank you Emma. I agree with you. I think we are trapped in a “Catch 22” situation. I don’t want to see Orca in captivity but there is clearly an issue on whether the ones currently housed in aquariums would survive if released back into the wild. I had the same feeling as you, it was a very profound article and quite sad to read. Not sure what the approach is but I do know that I feel like I have to do something! Regards, Lee

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