Orca Baby Born at Sea World: These Little Slaves Are So Cute
Please don’t think this is good news: a baby orca was born on October 9 to Katina, a thirty-four year old orca in Sea World Orlando. This is her seventh baby. She was first pregnant (with a daughter) at eight years of age, something that never happens in the wild. That daughter died last month, and as she approached the birth of her seventh child, Katina watched her first-born’s body lifted from the tiny pool that is their home.
We’ve all heard of puppy mills. Katina is used to replenish the performing stock for Sea World, as female dogs do in puppy mills, while Tillikum, captured from Iceland, and who once was kept here in Victoria, is isolated in a back pool as a living sperm bank.
Four orcas have died in captivity in Sea World in the last four months, Kalina, Katina’s first-born; Sumar, a male of twelve; and Taima, twenty-one, along with her unborn child, in labour. The list of orca deaths in captivity over the years in North America since Wanda died after two days’ captivity in California in 1961, and since Moby Doll was harpooned off Saturna Island and towed into captivity in Burrard drydock 1964 is horrifying. The worldwide number stands at 155, today. The deaths are always reported as “unexpected”, but if you take into account orca intelligence, family ties and culture, none of the deaths is unexpected. They all die young, except for Lolita Tokitae in the decrepit Miami Seaquarium, captive for an unbelievable forty years (a Southern Resident of L pod, a native of these waters), and Corky, captive for forty one years in Sea World San Diego (a member of Northern Resident A5 pod, from the North BC coast). Orcas’ lifespans in the wild are similar to ours. Granny (aka J2) is 99 and swims by Victoria frequently, leading her family. Her brain is bigger than yours or mine. Her memories are extreme.
Katina’s baby will never fulfill the potential of his or her mind, and will live a life of limitation and boredom, knowing there must be more, and never to feel the ocean in a storm, the slide of kelp over skin while playing “kelping” with friends and siblings, the taste of fat chinook salmon fresh caught after a chase, or see the bright anemones in sunlit water. This baby’s home will be a barren concrete tank.
Orcas captured from the wild can be released, with a science-based program of support. Captive bred orcas may not have much chance of success in the wild, though release has not been tried. Wild capture has been banned in North America but still takes place in other waters. However, captive breeding goes on.
This is a plea to tell your children why you are not going to see an orca or dolphin show as you plan your next holiday. Children are sensitive to injustice. Their tears will fall like little rain in the water of the orca prison, as the baby born in the water looks up at them and wonders “Is this all there is?”
Please help Orca Network to bring Lolita Tokitae home, and help end this atrocious industry based on animal abuse. Don’t buy a ticket, and contact Orca Network on their website.