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Captivity's Affect on Killer Whales

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by Madeline Houser on 23 May 2013

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Transcript of Captivity's Affect on Killer Whales

Stress Change Captivity's Effect on Killer Whales Is this a healthy animal? Health Problems NO. Meet Shamu Shamu the Killer Whale is a performer at Seaworld. Shamu lives in a tank that is about 7 million gallons of water that he shares with all of the other performing orcas and he performs in a tank that is only 1.6 million gallons. His performance tank is only 100 feet deep. Seaworld orcas range in weight from 5,000-11,000 pounds. Shamu may seem friendly at times but he can be very dangerous. During Seaworld's existence there have been two trainer deaths. One of the whales who plays Shamu, Tillikum, has killed twice. He killed his trainer, Dawn, at Seaworld Orlando in 2010 and he killed his previous trainer at a Canadian Seaworld equivalent. Killer Whales in captivity have been known to attack and seriously injure their trainers and even at times kill them. Killer Whales are native to all oceans of the world. Second to humans they are the most widely distributed mammal. Killer Whales are migratory animals and can travel over 100 miles in a day! They need lots of space to roam. When Orcas are not given enough space to move (like in captivity) it becomes very bad for their health. One important signifier of their health is their dorsal fin. When the Orca is unhealthy its dorsal fin becomes curved instead of standing upright. Being stuck in captivity restricts their now non existent migratory patterns and they cannot get the proper amount of exercise that they need. When migratory animals are not given the right amount of space that they need the animal becomes stressed. When the animal becomes stressed it can lead to dangerous aggressiveness. This aggression is very dangerous to the keepers and trainers of the animal. The animals in the small tanks have imitated pods. Their stress can cause aggression to the other whales. Their aggression can be deadly to those around them. The stress combined with their inablity to move can reduce the life span 30-50 years. In the wild Killer Whales can live on average between 60-80 years. The only answer for how to solve the terrible effects on Killer Whales in captivity is to simply not hold them in captivity. It is in the animal's best interest for them to be able to live freely in the ocean and migrate as they please. Killer Whales are less aggressive when they are not constantly stressed about their surroundings and they are less dangerous as well. By allowing them to be free and remain in their native home, the ocean, they are able to lead happy and healthy lives.
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