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Few people are aware of the fact that:

In 1980 Sea World San Diego (SWC) had four young (untrained) Orcas in their petting pool where for over a year they interacted with thousands of untrained visitors to the park with no trainer oversight and no one was ever hurt. EVER


I had the privilege of getting to know these four Orcas (Kasatka, Katina, Kotar and Canuck II) through visiting every weekend for both days for almost a year without the restrictions of having to be a trainer or working for the park. I was able to earn their friendship and trust without the need of food to coerce the interactions as park staff does in/for shows, but just patiently waiting for them to come over and check me out. That is Kotar in my icon pic. His sad captive life is a story unto itself. Kasatka was featured in “Blackfish” and is the same Orca that, after much behavior modification by the parks, is shown repeatedly dragging one of their top trainers, Ken Peters, underwater in 2006.

Once we had gotten to know each other well, on more than a dozen occasions one grabbed my arm in its mouth up the elbow (in the same manner the final reports say Dawn was grabbed) as had been done to me many times before by the BNDs in the tank there and at other parks I visited back then and gently (for them) pulled on me inviting me into the water. Once two tried this at the same time, one on each arm and almost succeeded. Unfortunately, though I wanted to, I could not accept their invitation to get in the water and play and I was able to get across to them that while I was OK with the idea, the park would not have allowed it. Had there been *any* desire to harm me on their part for any reason, the opportunity was certainly there and yet I am still whole, alive and unharmed. As are the many other visitors to the park who had similar experiences with them.

I was under constant observation by the tank monitor and after the Orcas were consistently coming to me for interaction, by staff from the Orca show observing me from the far side of the tank, apparently wondering how I was so good with them without the use of food to coerce the interactions. Had I been doing *anything* wrong during these interactions, I would have been challenged by one or the other of these two, and even possibly ejected from the park. As this *never* happened, what I was doing was considered not dangerous or harmful to the Cetaceans or to me.


Strangely, whenever I attempted to walk over to them to ask them questions about the Orcas or the shows, they would quickly run off when they saw me approaching.

Now after over 3 decades of captivity, handling and conditioning with training and behavior modification, the latent effect that this type of interference in their natural state has shown its affect on them in their social, mental, and inter”personal” interactions. And, how having been subjugated has elicited obvious changes in them over this span of time.

This does not speak well towards Sea World’s handling of these highly intelligent/sapient individuals, nor about what Sea World calls the “special training” of the orcas or their staff who “have been specially trained to work with Orcas” when I, as well as dozens of other (untrained) visitors to the park at that time, interacted with these then, untrained Orcas and were *never* injured. This really debunks/disproves what SW, OSHA and other’s claim as to how “wild and dangerous” Orcas are.

Back then, I wanted to be a trainer myself. However after this unique and rare opportunity of open and unrestricted interaction, which likely will never happen again, I changed my mind about that and about keeping them in captivity.


I have also worked on three Interspecies Communications Projects including Dr. Lilly’s JANUS (Joint Analog Numerical Understanding System) project and have gotten to know dozens of other Cetaceans through thousands of hours of hands on experience, all without using fish to coerce the interactions. I have learned from this just how intelligent/sapient and sensitive beings Cetaceans are and that captivity, especially in it’s current form, is no way to treat an intelligent/sapient being like them. Working on these three different projects with their diverse approaches to communication has also showed me that communication with them is possible but not by using any method currently being employed.

Lilly recognized their intelligence/sapience and shutdown the research project because of this. The two dolphins, Joe and Rosie, who were (fortunately) never show trained, were shipped to Florida where Ric O’Barry taught them to catch and eat live fish again before they were released back in their home, the Atlantic Ocean after 5 years of captivity. The only other researcher that I am aware of has ever done something like this is Dr Randall Wells of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. They were freeze branded with the male and female symbols on their dorsal fins and were sighted many times over the next several years in the company of other dolphins as well as on their own.

People belittle and deride the former staff whistle blowers for bringing to light the problems with keeping Cetaceans in captivity that the general public is blissfully unaware of because of what they are led to “Believe” is going on by the fancy shows at these parks. Being a whistle blower is a good thing and these people are to be commended for their strong moral compass for being forced to leave a job they love to save the animals they love and work with from the poor living conditions in these same parks.

So I do not support their captivity, though I do acknowledge that without captivity I would not have had such an opportunity as this, I have not bought a ticket to SWC or any other similar park with Cetaceans since the time of those visits even though I still have several Cetacean friends there and it pains me to not visit them. I made a singular exception to this last year (2013) to visit Kasatka and her new calf at SWC. I was thoroughly disgusted by how much more commercial the park had become in the intervening years and the open interaction petting pool had been turned into a “Pay to Interact and Fake Being a Trainer for an Hour” income stream for the park. The smell of chlorine was everywhere in the park. It was so sad.

Why would a facility with stated goals like “Marine Life Awareness and Preservation” need a roller coaster anyway?

To attract visitors?

Isn’t that what the animal displays are supposed to be for?

I’ve seen Blackfish and IMHO I think it was fine. Sea World was asked *repeatedly* to participate in the filming and their input was requested and they *refused* each time. They can’t whine about it now. They had their chance and they ignored it. Like they also turned down helping Keiko when asked.

Keiko’s release was not a failure as some seem to think either.

Many people love and like Dinosaurs all without there ever having been one in captivity to instill this in people so the claim that captivity is necessary/required to create these same feelings towards Cetaceans is really not valid.



I needed to experience seaworld at least one time before I could decide weather I was towards or against killer whales in captivity. I have watched blackfish several times and have watched hundreds of YouTube videos about this topic… I have had a passion for killer whales ever since I got a free willy VHS I LOVE orcas… And tbh there the most spoiled animals in seaworld, nobody can argue that it is humane to put these animals in tanks .1% the size of the amount of ocean they swim in… Yet on the contrary for people like me whose dream was to meet orcas and swim with Kieko seaworld is so much more personal than seeing orcas than going whale watching… My problem is that I feel like I’m being greedy because if I wanted the best for these whales due to my passion for them… All the activists say the best thing to do is not go to seaworld. I’m so drawn between what is the better decision to make… But I am comfortable to say that I have been to seaworld and I have seen enough to satisfy me for a lifetime… The orcas that I saw in the underwater viewing are we’re constantly biting each other and seemed quite depressed even though both of those whales were born in captivity… It seemed that even though the orcas seemed a little unnatural and umcomfteble they were treated like kings compared to the dolphins… Dolphin cove was one of the most disturbing experiences of my life… I have always been an orca fanatic but this was terrible it was the size of my pool and there were about ten fully grown bottle nose dolphins there… I have so many mixed emotions but I want YOU to tell me you position on seaworld so I can come to some type of agreement weather seaworld Is or is not a good place to go!?

Believe me, I know where you’re coming from. Orcas are my favorite animal, and one of the reasons I had such a hard time choosing to oppose orca captivity was because it would mean not being able to see them at all. I live in San Antonio, close to SeaWorld and a few hours from the coast, but I don’t have a car. Even if I did have a car, the Gulf of Mexico orcas are almost never seen. I know this is a cliche, but eventually I reached a point where I realized that if I loved these animals, and if they were doing poorly in captivity, I shouldn’t support captivity even if it meant losing what could be my only chance to see them.

And the dolphin thing? I had a similar experience myself. I first started to question SeaWorld a few years back, not because I saw some Blackfish-style video, but because I visited SeaWorld. I was going for the first time in years, I was so excited and couldn’t wait to see the animals and learn about them… But I wasn’t happy with what I saw. The dolphin pool wasn’t very big, and being part of a “feed the dolphins!” program, the animals were swimming back and forth by the feeding area, waiting for people to give them fish. Looking back, they were clearly agitated, and I’m wondering if they were kept hungry to ensure that they would approach the people who had paid to feed them. Eventually the dolphins all got in a straight line, turned around, and splashed the group of people (who had no food yet continued to stay in the feeding section, despite being told not to by the SW trainer) with their tails. This taught me two things: dolphins are smart enough and have the ability to communicate well enough to coordinate these kinds of things, and that they don’t like being teased.

What further concerned me was the lack of environment and enrichment. I’m interested in zoo management, and I like to read about how they create environments that keep their animals happy and healthy (physically and mentally) and busy. SeaWorld, it seemed, didn’t have much of that. Some of the smartest animals on this planet, yet they’re kept in blank, concrete tanks, with little enrichment besides performing tricks in exchange for dead fish. I was also concerned with exposing sound-sensitive animals to loud music several time a day. (I wouldn’t be surprised if strobe lights caused stress too)

And yet, I put all of the concerns at the back of my head and continued to visit for the rest of the year, since I had a season pass. However, I had gone into SeaWorld hoping to learn, and for the most part came out disappointed. So I began binge-watching nature documentaries. Eventually I came across one about killer whales, and learned that they were much more amazing than I previously thought. So I sought out more orca documentaries, focusing only on nature ones and actively avoiding anything that brought up the captivity issue. While I was on like, the fourth or fifth one, I sat there in awe thinking about what intelligent, wonderful creatures they were… Then seemingly out of nowhere, got the thought that they might not be good candidates for captivity. As I said, it was not an easy thought to have. I’m generally a supporter of zoos and aquariums, and again, captivity has really been the only way I could see orcas at all. But I know some animals aren’t good candidates for captivity, and I wouldn’t support keeping such animals in captivity just so people could see them. (while I think zoos and aquariums can be useful in education and conservation, I don’t think people NEED to see an animal to care about it) I finally decided to do some actual research into orca captivity, and came across some not-so-fun facts. After quite a long time of research and thinking, I eventually made that tough decision to oppose it.

What you’re doing now is good: research. To form a full opinion, try to look at the debate from both sides of the issue. It might also help to do what I did and look for neutral information as well, the plain and simple facts. Keep doing this research and I hope you make an informed opinion. :)

The park, and how they handle the Cetaceans (not just the Orcas) has changed over the decades and mostly not for the better either.  I summed it up in another post you can read here.

Why is it dangerous to participate in a captive "Swim-With-Dolphins" Program? Here's one story of someone who was attacked by a captive dolphin.


These are wild animals. There’s no way, trained or not, that you can predict how they’re going to act, and they definitely can inflict some serious damage. Forget the debate over whether dolphins should be held in captivity or not for a minute, and consider the danger humans are being put in by…

Not a surprising reaction from the Cetacean at all for being forced to associate with people he/she may not want to on a daily constant basis.   Humans react similarly as well.  Do you (generic you not you specifically) interact with every human you might encounter?  Doubtful.  Everyone has their own personal limits, even Cetaceans. 

People of all ages/types/attitudes thrust into their home/personal space and they have no say in it at all just to satisfy some humans ego/desires.  Let them have some say as to who they associate with and the result can be quite different, be it in the water or out of it.

They may be ‘wild animals’ but they are also highly intelligent/sapient.



I’m going to be that person for a second, and give SeaWorld a little bit of credit.

Believe me, I want the world to fight for the rights of animals more than anything, but we need to cut SeaWorld a little bit of slack. Blackfish was a very one-sided argument, as most revealing documentaries tend…

In 2013, SeaWorld gave $1.2 Million to fund conservation efforts. And since the creation of their foundation "the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has given more than $10 million in grants to protect animals and their habitats.””

Only 0.0006 of the profit SeaWorld makes is spent on rescue and rehabilitation. Most of the money that funds the conservation program comes from charity events, merchandise donations, or park guest donations. [x][x]

SeaWorld helps to protect over 200 endangered species, not limited to aquatic animals, at their facilities.

Just giving this as exemple: 

"subpopulation of beluga, whose habitat is the Cook Inlet in Alaska, has been classified as critically endangered in response to multifactorial impacts of habitat change and subsistence hunting"

Short- and long-term sperm preservation methods have been reported for four cetaceans; the bottlenose dolphin (Robeck & O’Brien, 2004), killer whale (Robeck et al., 2004), Pacific white-sided dolphin (Robeck et al., 2009) and beluga (O’Brien & Robeck, 2010). Systematic banking of spermatozoa for long-term storage from 33 trained cetaceans has been accomplished by our group and collaborators (bottlenose dolphin: n = 21; Pacific white-sided dolphin: n = 4; killer whale: n = 6; beluga: n = 1) and from wild beluga (n = 4) in conjunction with native subsistence hunts (Robeck, Gearhardt, Suydam, & O’Brien, unpublished data).”

In the same paper they talk about endangered species, they also admit they have a partnership with Beluga hunters to obtain sperm from the dead whales. Does it sound like conservation the species?

"However, they are providing and funding research expeditions all over the world and helping to educate the general public, which is priceless when you consider how much more there is to learn about these animals. "

How exactly they’re educating ht epublic with something like this? Besides, SeaWorld has been also lying about the research numbers.

SeaWorld also wrote an official response to Blackfish, you can read that here. I think the most important part of their response is this: 

"Blackfish employs false and emotionally manipulative sequences concerning the collection and separation of killer whales: Through stock footage and video mismatched to the narrative, the film implies that SeaWorld collects killer whales from the wild and separates mothers and calves.  NEITHER IS TRUE."

- Morgan who was “rescued” and taken to Loro Parque is now part of SeaWorld stock. Also, I’d like to point out that if this is true, SeaWorld is also responsible for the capture of Marineland Canada Killer Whales during the 80s.

- 12 or 2 years old, in the wild families will always stay together. Tkaar’s age doesn’t make her move okay. And yes, SeaWorld does separate calves from their mothers, some exemples: Skyla (2), Keet (1), Katerina (2), Trua (3), Splash (2).

"There is no actual evidence to prove that Brancheau’s death wouldn’t have happened if Tilikum was given more space. "

Space isn’t the problem, Marineland France has the largest tanks and attacks still occurred. Loro Parque’s tanks are larger than SeaWorld’s and a trainer still died.

If the documentary’s main goal was to raise awareness, consider everyone who watched it officially aware. But what else were they trying to get out of it? Were they trying to shut down all of SeaWorld’s parks? What would happen to the whales? You can’t release animals that have been born and raised in captivity back into the wild without easing them into it, and that could take years.” 

No one is trying to shut down all SeaWorld parks or simply release the whales back into the wild. The main goal is to improve their lives in captivity or even retire them to a sea pen or sanctuary.

I don’t think that it would be beneficial to anyone if SeaWorld got rid of their current selection of animals, it could possibly be harmful to the animals themselves, and to any further research.”

I’m sorry, but what research? Forcing them to perform with loud music and fireworks or breeding them at young age isn’t exactly what I’d call research.

I’ll continue to fight against SeaWorld, there’s no “There’s really nothing anyone can do about that”, many people said Blackfish would have no effect on SeaWorld and look how far we’re getting.

SeaWorld was also asked to help with getting Keiko out of Mexico but they declined because he was not “Cosmetically appealing”.




Fastest way to get through a border patrol checkpoint

are you fuckingkidding me


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