The Orca Ocean
How many killer whales have there been in captivity?
     There is an
estimated 207 known whales that have been in captivity. There are many whales whose existance has been denied because of their poor living conditions (i.e. Junior) and other whales could possibly be living as a private pet as some dolphins are. About 74% of the killer whales that were taken into captivity during the large round-ups have died and their average lifespan was around 5 years.

How many killer whales are there in captivity now?
     There are around 49 killer whales that are captive at this time. This can be hard to keep track of for some aquariums still take whales from the wild (i.e. Taiji 5 capture) and keep those whales hidden until they have been trained. It is also hard to keep track of some of the live births in captivity. Aquariums have been known to hide new babies until they believe that the new baby will survive so the public does not hear about it.
How many of those captive killer whales were born there?
     Of the 49 killer whales that are still alive, 26 were born into captivity. That looks like a nice number, but those are only the killer whale calves that were reported to survive. Total amount of calves born in captivity totals 54. There are some calves that have not even been reported because they died at birth. With the numbers that are present, the survival rate for live births are 48%, but that percentage would be lower if all the calves had been reported.


Why do dorsal fins flop over?
       There are different theories as to why the dorsal fin flops over, but two are the most likely. 1) The best theory that has come up is a growth spurt. Killer whales were usually caught as calves from the wild. In captivity they would go through a growth spurt where they would shoot up in length, and this includes the dorsal fin. Because killer whales in captivity will spend a lot of time floating a the surface, gravity will pull that fin down and eventually it will be flopped. This happens to both males and females, but the flop is more dramatic in males. 2) The next theory that seems to fit is when the whale continues to swim in one direction for a long time. This would explain the drooping fins that occur to adult whales taken from the wild.
One of the other believed reasons as to why the dorsal fins flop over is because of genetics. The problem with this theory is, if that were true, wouldn't we see more wild orcas with completely collapsed dorsal fins?


Captivity is an educational experience.
     So is reading a book about killer whales or watching a show on Animal Planet. An indipendent survey taken at a marine park asked children what they learned about killer whales during their stay. The most common answer a child gave was that a killer whale makes a great big splash when they land back into the water.
     What captivity is teaching children and people is that humans can dominate any creature they want. They can starve the animals until they jump for their food. This experience teaches children it is ok to abuse animals and exploit them for our amusement instead of enjoying them in their natural environment where they belong.


So what is wrong with those tanks? They look big to me.
    There are many places that do have wonderful facilities by human standards, but there are still many, many more that do not. No matter how grand the cetacean is treated in captivity that does not make up for the pain and suffering their family went through to give them up or the problems they will face living in the concrete pool.
     The tanks that the whales were being held in were not adequate for these creatures. Though many marine places did offer the whales plenty of room to swim, the walls of the tanks were painted light colors so the water would look bluer and more inviting to the guests. The light colors of paint used would reflect light and have been known to cause blindness. The droning of the filtration system motors ring through the waters hurt the cetaceans' sensitive hearing. Whales of different pods that did not get along often fought, and some ended up dying after the battles. So much for these "perfect" pools. Killer whales are suffering for the sake of money.


The lady at Sea Word said the whales were fed all they want all day.
    False. Killer whales and other performing animals are kept hungry so they will perform. Unless a performing animals is hungry, it will not peform. With food as the motivational tool, if a whale's belly is full, why perform for the food? There is no modivation, there is no show, and there is no profit from watching whales be clowns.


Aquariums work to help endangered animals.
     How? There is the education, but that can also come in the form of books, television, and other such medias. Aquariums really do not help endangered animals. In fact, they are gradually reducing the animals in the wild by taking the whales, fish, sharks, dolphins, and other marine animals from their natural habitat where they need to be to populate the species. Few aquariums breed their animals for release. They breed them to keep their shows going and the money flowing.
Orca Information | Orca Media | Orcas in Captivity

Reports & Essays | Web Links | Awards | E-Mail
Hosting by WebRing.