Last night I watched the documentary Blackfish (it’s in Netflix for those interested to see it). It was such an amazing horrible movie! Horrible because of how the orcas were treated, and taken from their ocean homes.
One of the things that really affected me was the scene were they talked about hunting orcas, and how the herd would separate. The mommy and baby would go the opposite way he boats were trying to get them to go, the other big orcas would go with the boats. They were trying to save their young! The documentary also reported that orcas oral vocalizations to communicate with their own herd is different per herd. They have their own language!* It was heartbreaking to hear the mommy orca cry when her young was separated from her, and moved to a different park.
Another thing they talked about was how trainers were taught a bunch of misconceptions about orcas, and the “trainer accidents” surrounding the orcas in captivity. Misconception (1) the orcas lifespan is about 30 years. While male orcas live about 30 in the wild, female orcas live to about 50; and that orcas in captivity barely makes it to 20.** Misconception (2) orcas dorsal fins are usually bent like the ones you see in Sea world. When in reality, only 1% of the orcas in the wild actually have collapsed dorsal fins.*** Misconception (3) the orcas really loved their trainers, and that they perform to the audience because they want to. It was not in any way affected by the fact that performing is the main way to get fed. Misconception (4) the orcas are safe in the corals, there is no such thing as “bullying”. Tilikum have been repeatedly “raked” by the other whales in the pen, and he has nowhere to go and escape. Misconception (5) trainers get killed by orcas, not because the orcas became aggressive, but because they did something wrong.
The movie is such a great eye opener about why we shouldn’t support companies who mistreat animals this way.
*Do Orcas Use Symbols
**Life Expectancy of Orcas in Captivity
***What Causes Dorsal Fin Collapse