These animals are NOT our pets. These animals were NOT put here for our pleasure. I understand that they are fascinating, as I too want to see them, and to learn about them. Yet, it seems that greater lines need to be drawn, regarding our handlings of other life of Earth.
Sea World is world-reknowned for it’s collection of orcas. These aqautic animals have captured the fascination of society, and have been presented for public review through the efforts of these aquatic educational and entertainment facilities. It always has seemed that the water wildlife park has done excellent levels of caring for it’s collection of creatures from the seas. Yet again, the question must be posed, regarding where the line is to be drawn, regarding our fascinations with these animals, our capturing of them, and when we need to learn simply to leave them alone.
Sea World San Diego is like the rest of the Sea World Parks, famous for it’s orca presentations. Shamu was the standout sea whale of the eighties and nineties, drawing massive crowds to see the animal in action. Millions of visitors viewed the spectacular shows, seeing the trained sea animals perfoming exotic and exciting presentations to well-paying crowds. Yet, after all of the fun is said and done, these animals remain captive, serving at the will of human beings.
It was during a presentation in 2006 when an attack by an orca onto one of the Sea World trainers was taped. Kasatka, the 6,000 pound orca at the San Diego park, was participating in one of the regular shows. Something occurred, which apparently agitated the animal. Before anyone knew what was happening, Kasatka grabbed hold of trainer Ken Peters, then dragged him beneath the pool water!
Kasatka actually kept Ken Peters beneath the water for an extended time. The orca tossed the trainer back and forth, as other pool workers seemed inept in the face of this action. Some of them did try to pull Peters away from Kasatka. Yet, the orca kept hold of Peters by one of his feet, flailing him back and forth like a ragdoll! Kasatka made one final move toward Peters, but the other trainers were able to rescue him before that could happen. They likely saved Peters’ life!
Recalling 2010, a trainer at Sea World Orlando trainer was attacked and killed by an orca. Dawn Brancheau had become well-acquainted with one of the aquatic mammals, which had been given the name Tillikum. She had not suspecting that she ever would be harmed by it. Yet, during one of the shows, the six-ton Tillikum suddenly grabbed hold of Dawn, dragging her beneath the pool water, where it held her until she drowned!
That entire incident was taped. It is now that this tape is being presented to the public, as legal issues are stirring. The United States Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis has stated that handlings of orcas at Sea World Parks create situations of danger for the parks’ staff. Her statements have added fuel to reactions about having orcas removed from public captivity, and having increased levels of safety for humans handling aquatic wildlife that is being used for public entertainment.
I only can reiterate that these animals were not placed here for our amusement. I truly believe that it is a mere matter of time before something bad happens when so-called trainers think that they have control over wildlife, and something happens that causes one of the animals to snap. It has happened before, and it WILL happen again. At some point, we need to recognize that these animals are to be left alone!
Dawn Brancheau and Tillikum