Sea World Under Scrutiny Again #endcaptivity

With the recent release of the highly anticipated documentary, Blackfish, which provides a critical look at the family orientated Sea World’s treatment of whales,  two other videos released on youtube provide further insight into Sea World’s treatment of the dolphins and whales.

Distressed Pilot Whale at Sea World: Sea World find itself under fire after trainers failed to help a distress pilot whale stuck on a slideout ledge for approximately 25 minutes. The video was caught on camera by an audience member, who has stated that his views of Sea World have been changed forever.

Peta released this statement after the release of the video: “Audiences should be horrified by every video taken inside SeaWorld,” PETA wrote in an emailed statement Monday. Whether they show a pilot whale stranded on a concrete ledge in front of a shocked crowd, an orca killing his trainer, or intelligent, sensitive whales forced to swim day in and day out in tiny circles for a reward of dead fish, these videos are a potent reminder that SeaWorld keeps marine mammals trapped in concrete tanks that bear no resemblance to their habitat in the wild, with no room in which to swim, no family groups, and no stimulation.”

Take a look at the video below and draw your own conclusions on the treatment of whales and dolphins at Sea World.

Dolphin Escapes Tank at Sea World: During a public feeding of the dolphins at Sea World, one dolphin jumped out of the tank and landed on the concrete. “I do not have children, but this is not something I would want them to see on a family vacation.” – David Kirby (deathatseaworld.com) Not only is a situation like this extrememly dangerous for the dolphin itself, as you can see in the video from the blood on the concrete, it is also an extremely dangerous situation for spectators. If a child or adult was nearby and had been injured when the dolphin jumped out of the tank, then I can assure you there would be a media storm covering this story.

If you are contmeplating or even planning a trip to Sea World in the near or distant to future, then consider this: Sea World is not a place for education on dolphins and whales. The daily shows at dolphin & whale stadium and Shamu stadium are simply that a show, designed to entertain and have absoltely no educational benefit. The dolphins and whales of Sea World and conditioned to perform tricks for your entertainment receiving dead fish as their reward and in no resemble the natural habits of a dolphin or whale in the wild.

“There is as much educational benefit in studying dolphins in captivity as there would be in studying human beings by only observing prisoners in solitary confinement.”. Jacques Cousteau

 

Death at Sea World

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DEATH AT SEAWORLD “is a groundbreaking scientific examination that exposes the dark side of SeaWorld, America’s most beloved marine mammal park.  From the tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, to other, less-publicized violent incidents, journalist David Kirby puts these brutal animal-on-human attacks in context and explores the controversial and even lethal ramifications of keeping killer whales in captivity. It introduces the real people taking part in this debate, from former trainers turned animal rights activists to the men and women that champion SeaWorld and the captivity of whales. Kirby follows the story of Naomi Rose Ph.D., marine mammal scientist for The Humane Society of the United States and senior scientist for The Humane Society International, whose warnings against keeping killer whales in captivity fell on deaf ears.  He also covers the media backlash, the eyewitnesses who come forward to challenge SeaWorld’s glossy image, and the groundbreaking OSHA vs. SeaWorld case. On May 30, 2012, the judge ruled on this case, stating that trainers performing with huge ocean predators need to be protected by physical barriers, or some other means providing the same level of safety.  The strict standard could effectively prevent SeaWorld from ever allowing its trainers to get back into the water during shows with the whales.” (Source)

Thoughts on Death at Sea World:

With the upcoming release of the new documentary Blackfish, I decided to finally read Death at Sea World. Simply put, it is an inspiring, heartbreaking, thriller, that provides significant insight into the lives of Killer Whales in captivity. Kirby takes you through a gripping investigation that is hard to put down. The book in the end, is an eye opener to Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity.

The chapter entitled Capture, which is told from Tilikum’s perspective, is absolutely heartbreaking. It is hard not to view the capture of Tilikum as similar to that of a child being taken away from its mother at such a young age. Especially considering that male killer whales spend most of their time by their mother’s side from infancy through old age. While they may swim off for a few hours or days to mate with females from other pods, at the end of the day they always come back to their mother.  As Kirby puts it, “in other words, male resident orcas are the planet’s ultimate mama’s boy.” Here is a little excerpt from the chapter “Suddenly you are snagged in another, smaller net. You cry out in shock and fear, calling for your mother. You feel the net being pulled through the water toward the boat. Your heart races and you surface to breathe, quickly and with difficulty. What is going on? Where is your mom? Then you hear her. You have never hear this wretched wail before: mournful, ragged, spiked with rage and terror. Now your other relative have joined the awful remonstration. You answer their panicked cries with your own chaotic vocalizations as you’re hauled from the water on a canvas sling.”

Interestingly enough, no killer whale had been reported to have killed a human in the wild, or even seriously attacked a human in the wild, and no killer whale had ever been known to be killed in a fight with another whale. All three of those things have happened in captivity

According to Kirby there are two vital questions:

1) Is captivity in an amusement park good for orcas: Is this the appropriate venue for killer whales to be held, and does it somehow benefit wild orcas and their ocean habitat, as industry claims?

2) Is orca captivity good for society: Is it safe for trainers and truly educational for a public that pays to watch the whales perform what critics say are animal tricks akin to circus acts?

Clearly my answer to these two questions is no, but what would your answer be?

After reading Death at Sea World, this what I can say with certainty: 1. I will continue my pledge to never visit Sea World or anything similar 2. I will be a voice for the voiceless by informing others of the brutal reality of captivity for Killer Whales and other cetaceans, 3. The only place I ever want to see  Killer Whales is in their natural environment and thanks to David Kirby I hope to one day travel to Johnstone Strait and Telegraph Cove to do so.

That being said, I urge each of you to pick up Death at Sea World by David Kirby and sit down and read it. I guarantee you that it will completely change your outlook on Sea World and the Killer Whale captive entertainment industry. Secondly, if you haven’t already heard about the new documentary Blackfish, then view the trailer below and check for local screening times on the website http://blackfishmovie.com/

Interested in reading and learning more:

http://deathatseaworld.com/

http://theorcaproject.wordpress.com/

The Real Sea World 2

Approximately 20 dolphins were spotted hunting on the Moray Firth in Scotland.

Amateur photographer Alister Kemp, 47, was  watching from the shore and managed to captured a series of amazing and stunning  shots. Alister, from Evanton in Ross-Shire, said: ‘I  took these pictures when the salmon were returning to the river to spawn during  low tide.

The pod of 20 dolphins had been  laying in  wait for the annual ‘salmon run’, where they can be guaranteed a tasty snack as  hundreds of fish swim from the sea back to freshwater  to spawn. Once the dolphins have got a fish they will  throw it out of the water and then you will see them leap out after  it.

“I have taken hundreds of pictures of the  dolphins over the years but I think these could be my best so far. Sometimes I have waited two to three hours  to see them but I have also been there at just the right time to spot them, when  the tide has just started to come in.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2342865/Heres-I-learned-Tom-Daley-Bottlenose-dolphins-acrobatic-display-leaps-water-diving-grab-salmon.html#ixzz2XnkZxSqn

Why spend hundreds of dollars to go to Sea World when you can watch an amazing display such as this in the wild. This is the REAL SEA WORLD!

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For the dolphins!

 

 

Thoughts for the Day

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Only 69 days until Sept 1, 2013 and the start of the annual Dolphin hunt and slaughter in Taiji.

Please check out www.japandolphinsday.net to join an event near you or host your own event.

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Sea World’s Dark Secrets revealed in Blackfish

Are you considering a trip to Sea World? Before doing so, take a moment to watch the new full length trailer released by CNN films of Blackfish.

Blackfish is the Sundance decuting film about killer whales in captivity and their propensity of living up to their namesake. 

The haunting footage revolves mostly around one whale, Tilikum, responsible for the very public and very horrifying death of a Sea World trainer in 2010.

Are these animals truly killers, or did we make them into killers when we stuck them inside a tank and made them perform for  crowds? That seems to be the essential question at the heart of Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s unsettling documentary.

Watch the trailer for Blackfish:

Blackfish opens in limited release July 19. Here’s the official synopsis:

Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000 pound orcas, or “killer whales,” soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers. Yet, in our contemporary lore this mighty black and white mammal is like a two-faced Janus—beloved as a majestic, friendly giant yet infamous for its capacity to kill viciously. Blackfish unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who—unlike any orca in the wild—has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what exactly went wrong?

Shocking, never before seen footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts manifest the orca’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.

Marineland’s Last Remaining Orca #OPSID

Killer whales are highly social; some pods are composed of matrilineal family groups which are the most stable of any animal species. Killer Whales are notable for these complex societies. Only elephants and higher primates, such as humans, live in comparably complex social structures. It is because of these complex social bonds and society that one should wonder why we attempt keep Killer Whales in captivity.

Captivity is about separation and exclusion. It is about the destruction of families and communities. For wild caught animals, many watch their parents and family killed in front of them at a young age so that they won’t be able to put up a fight to defend them from capture. For the animals bred in captivity at Marineland, those parents routinely watch as their offspring suffer and die in infancy.

There are no heart warming stories at Marineland, Niagara Falls, Canada. There are endless sad stories, but none may be more pressing and sad than that of Kiska. Marineland’s last remaining Orca, Kiska was wild caught from Iceland in the 1980’s. At Marineland, Kiska is the longest serving resident and she has seen dozens of Orcas come and go – and estimated 14 other Orcas die. Of those 14, 5 of them have been her own children. The oldest surviving just 6 years. (Source)

Since the removal of Ikaika back to SeaWorld she has spent her days alone. Ex-trainers have spoken publicly about their concern for her and Marineland itself have gone on public legal record establishing their concern for the health of their lone Orca held in solitary. (Source)

Kiska’s story is the story of captivity. She has survived, but at what cost? Her life has been painfully sad, she is alone and completely dependent upon humans – humans who are only interested in her as an “asset.”

There is no human need to hold other animals in captivity. There is no human need to gawk at or to turn other animals into mere commodities and spectacles. Marineland Animal Defense fights to remove Kiska and all of the other animals at Marineland and to ensure there are no more captives!

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Kiska alone in her tank.

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Cruelty of Dolphin Captivity – Sensory Deprivation

Is captivity more stressful for dolphins than other animals?

Yes, dolphins are sonic creatures—their primary sense is sound.

If you go to the zoo, take a look at the reptile exhibit and find a snake. You’ll see that the snake is given more consideration than the dolphins at Marineland. You’ll see that the snake has got tree limbs to climb on, he’s got rocks to hide from the public if he wants to, grass—there’s always something natural about the snake’s habitat.

But if you look at the habitat of a captive dolphin, you’ll notice there’s nothing there. It’s just a blank, concrete box. Is that stress? Of course it is.

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Why can’t marine parks create better environments for dolphins?

It’s really not what’s best for the dolphin; it’s about getting people to come and watch a show, and then getting another group of people to watch the same show.

The dolphins are separated from the natural rhythms of the sea: the tide, the current, the sounds of the sea, the things we take for granted. All of that is missing. That is what we call sensory deprivation. That makes it more stressful for them than other animals in captivity.

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Don’t forget that ….

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For the dolphins!

Myths – Dolphin Captivity

Myth – Dolphins are happy in captivity.

Truth – Dolphins look as though they are smiling because that is the way their faces are shaped. Captive dolphins are constantly on display with nowhere to hide and are forced to perform shows every single day. Dolphins are denied their freedom to travel, and in many cases are taken from their families and homes in the ocean. Would you be happy if you were a captive dolphin?

Myth – Captive dolphins are safe from predators and don’t have to look for food like would in the wild.

Truth – Inmates in prison are safe from being burgled and are fed each day. But do you think they are happy? The main difference between a jail cell and a aquarium tank is that on is filled with water.

Myth – Captive dolphin display have educational value.

Truth – The only thing captivity teaches is that it is okay to imprison animals and force them to perform for our entertainment. In captivity, a dolphin’s natural behavior are repressed. In the wild dolphins do not jump through hoops or drag people through the water with their fins. Captivity presents a completely false image of everything a dolphin is!

Myth – Children establish a connection with dolphins in captivity that would otherwise be impossible to achieve.

Truth – many children care about dinosaurs yet they have never see one. Through photos, videos, stories, tours to see wild dolphins and animations, children can develop love for dolphins without their having to suffer in captivity. Do you think your child would dolphins to suffer if they knew the truth?

Myth – Rescued dolphins have a good home in captivity.

Truth – Dolphins found injured or stranded need medical care and rehabilitation. However, they should not afterwards be forced into a life of servitude and display; they should be released back into the wild. If this is not possible they should be sent to a sea pen where they can live out their lives in privacy and a mostly natural environment.

“Dolphin shows are nothing but a display of human dominance over animals. They are as educational about dolphins as Mickey Mouse is about mice.’ Ric O’Barry

Dolphin exploitation continues to this day because the public remains unaware of dolphin suffering. Now that you are aware, please do not fund the suffering dolphins and other small whales by purchasing a ticket to a dolphin show or swim with dolphin program.

For more information please visit Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project

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For the dolphins!

What the Captive Marine Mammal Industry Doesn’t Want You to See!

Here are three films the captive marine mammal industry does not want you to see!

The Cove: Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.

A Fall From Freedom: The first comprehensive film to reveal the long and sordid history of the captive whale and dolphin entertainment business. Many of these marine parks and aquariums are directly or indirectly responsible for the death of thousands of the very animals they use for public entertainment. Premature deaths. Trainer injuries. Illegal practices. Educational misrepresentation. Government incompetence. Secret deals. These and many other issues are presented, and documented for the first time in this powerful documentary, narrated by actor Mike Farrell.

Blackfish: Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top killer whale trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity.

 

Wild & Free vs. Captivity & Imprisonment

In the wild vs. in captivity ( information credited to – the Animal Welfare Institute http://awionline.org )

In The Wild… In Captivity…
Each day, dolphins travel up to 40 miles and orcas travel up to 100, feeding and socializing with other members of their pods. Pods can contain hundreds of individuals with complex social bonds and hierarchies. Cetaceans are housed in small concrete or glass enclosures with no chance to swim for very long or dive deep distances.

Sometimes they are housed alone without opportunities for socialization, or they are forced to be with other animals and even species with whom they would not naturally have close contact.

Dolphins are naturally energetic, playful and inquisitive. When tasked with entertaining tourists all day, with nowhere to escape, dolphins often become bored, frustrated and aggressive.
Cetaceans spend approximately 80-90% of their time under water. They have the freedom to perform natural behaviors on their own terms. Dolphins are forced to perform artificial activities such as “walking” on water, jumping through hoops, and nodding their heads on cue.
Whales and dolphins eat a variety of fish, squid and octopi species, as well as smaller mammals.

Orcas and others work in groups, utilizing complex strategies to locate their prey. Some dive thousands of feet in search of food sources.

The animals are given a staple diet of dead fish, often as positive reinforcement during training, with no opportunities to utilize their sophisticated hunting techniques.
Cetaceans live in complex societies with their own cultures and dialects, maintaining close family ties with grandparents, aunts and uncles. Some remain in the same pods for life. Individuals are violently removed from the wild, with no hope of ever being reunited with their families. Captive animals are withheld forever from the wild gene pool.
Whales and dolphins live in a world of sound.

They rely on echolocation as their main form of communication and use sound to find mates, migrate, communicate, stay at or return to a favored feeding area, nurse, care for young, and catch and escape prey.

Animals are forced to listen to filtration systems, pumps, music and people clapping and yelling on a regular basis.

Their concrete and/or glass enclosures also manipulate sounds, so even if two individuals are housed together, their communication is warped.

Cetaceans are surrounded by other sea life and are an integral part of the marine food web.

Whales and dolphins have evolved for millions of years in the oceans, and in most cases, they are the top predators.

Artificial captive environments are sterile and lack stimulation. The animals’ water is chemically treated with chlorine – though they still suffer from bacterial infections that can be deadly.

The highly chlorinated water can also cause irritation and even blindness.

 

  • Activities like beaching themselves in aquatic shows contrast with dolphins in the wild that  never would beach themselves. Scientists believe that this is extremely harmful because dolphins resting on their bellies over a hard surface, will eventually damage their internal organs.
  • By withholding food, some trainers coerce dolphins into repetitive and unnatural behaviours, performing ‘tricks’ for the public. Hunger forces the dolphins to ignore their most basic natural instincts. They are even trained to beach themselves, despite the danger of doing so.
  • The mortality rates and abnormal behaviours of captive dolphins prove that a lack of stimulation causes them terrible stress. Swimming listlessly in circles is just one common indictor of boredom and psychological distress.
  • Space is also an issue – pools are miserably small for large, far ranging animals that would swim up to 50 miles a day in the wild. The shallow waters expose dolphins’ delicate skin to painful sunburns.
  • Dolphins in the wild spend approximately 80% of their time deep below the surface exploring the depths of the ocean. The need for continuous movement of Wild dolphins is one of the reasons that critics of captivity are using as arguments to request the release of dolphins in captivity.
  • Many dolphins do not survive the trauma of capture. Of those that do, 53% die within three months of confinement. Captive dolphins also suffer and die from intestinal disease, stress-related illness and chlorine poisoning.
  • ‘Swim with dolphins’ programmes cannot guarantee the safety of people interacting with dolphins, even those bred in captivity. These powerful animals are often stressed from being in a confined space. Unsurprisingly, accounts of deliberate and inadvertent human injuries caused by captive dolphins include broken limbs.
  • Dolphins in captivity are not trained, they are conditioned to perform “tricks” from being starved and only fed twice daily and generally only when performing “tricks”

 

A very informative video about Dolphin & Whale captivity.

After watching this video – Take the Pledge Not to Buy a Ticket to a Dolphin Showclick here