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Helping You To Know The News > Do you agree with Sea World's decision?

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message 1: by Kevin (last edited Feb 26, 2010 08:35AM) (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments The recent Sea World death has sparked many opinions about animals in captivity as well as what to do with Tilikum the killer whale involved in this.

Here are some facts as reported by news agencies: There have been 4 people killed in the 48 years that killer whales have been in captivity. 3 of the 4 have involved Tilikum. Sea World has announced they will keep Tilikum but not sure to what capacity. They have said they will not euthanize him.

Is this whale safe to be around? Should he be released into captivity? Should Sea World euthanize Tilikum? Was this an accident?

message 2: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) I do think he should be released from captivity. He's demonstrated he doesn't live well in captivity, but it really, really bothers me when zoo animals are euthanized for behaving like animals. Yes, if a tiger escapes its enclosure, it's probably going to attack someone. That's what tigers do.

I haven't seen any explanation from anyone yet about why they think Tillikum attacked the trainer. Was the whale agitated? Was it misguided playing? Was it hunting instinct (which let's face it can't be suppressed no matter how cute we think a given animal is)?

I'm not anti-zoo. I think zoos and aquariums do a lot to educate people about diverse animal species, and can help preserve animals who are otherwise dying out in the wild - the polar bear in my icon, for example, which I photographed at the Point Defiance Zoo near Tacoma. As I took the photo, I wondered how long it'll be before this bear and others like it in captivity are all that are left?

But I do think if a particular animal shows it can't live in captivity, then the best answer is to release it back into the wild where its behavior would be appropriate for its environment, unless the behavior stems from disease or some other mitigating factor. But if it's just behaving the way wild animals behave, then let it go. This should have been done with Tillikum a long time ago.

message 3: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) These animals are kept in an unnatural state. They're still wild animals subject to all of the instincts for survival of the species -- but yet they can't live out of captivity. It's just not right, in my opinion. I dislike zoos for the same reasons.

It wasn't an accident. But the animal should not be killed because of it. It should be kept away from people, though -- at least all of the people that Sea World wants to keep around.

People don't play with full-grown gorillas in the zoo, either.

message 4: by Flora (new)

Flora Smith (bookwormflo) Something definitely should have been done much sooner about this particular animal since it has already demonstrated on more than one occasion that its incompatible with captivity. I don't think it should be euthanized for behaving like an animal but it definitely should not be living in capativity or at the very least not used in shows where it has constant contact with ppl.

message 5: by Misty (new)

Misty | 36 comments I agree, Larry, and I would add the circus to the list as well. I can see how it's magical and over the top from a child's perspective, but it's not for me.

A little off topic...when the circus came to town a few weeks ago, PETA made the news because there was a person in an elephant costume that had a bandage on its head handing out coloring books to children leaving school. One mother stood near the PETA representative and reminded children that they shouldn't talk to strangers.

message 6: by Mary (new)

Mary (madamefifi) Unfortunately, the whale is probably not fit to be released from captivity; killer whales in the wild live in social groups and would not welcome a stranger, especially one who has spent most of his life in such an unnatural environment. Remember what happened to Keiko, the orca from Free Willy? Very sad. I think that Sea World has an obligation to this whale to give him a safe home for the rest of his natural life while--obviously--not using him in shows anymore. Though personally I don't believe he had the intention to kill that trainer.

message 7: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments i have heard several times that "this whale is worth millions". do you think that Sea World will take care of this whale and give it a good home for free while not capitalizing somehow on it? i doubt it.

message 8: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) I don't think they have too many options at this point. Can't kill it, can't use it in shows.

message 9: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments they euthanize pit bulls when they attack people once

message 10: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) It would be very bad PR to take out the orca that way.

message 11: by Mary (last edited Feb 26, 2010 09:42AM) (new)

Mary (madamefifi) The whale could still be on display--just not used in performances. It would also be an excellent educational tool about the darker side of life-in-captivity, if Sea World is brave enough. It's easy for Joe Public to watch the whales and dolphins doing their little tricks and think that the animals look happy and satisfied with their lives--to anthropomorphize them, a word which I can spell but not pronounce. However, they are wild animals with all the instincts and drives of their "free" brethren, they're just not permitted to act on those instincts, which is probably very frustrating for them and which clearly some of them cannot tolerate.

Zoo animals are not required to perform tricks in exchange for their room and board--why should this whale be treated any differently?

message 12: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments not saying they should larry but it is true

message 13: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Kevin "El Liso Grande" wrote: "not saying they should larry but it is true"


message 14: by Mary (new)

Mary (madamefifi) Yeah but it's not like the whale is going to be lunging out of its tank to snatch up passers-by. I really don't think the whale is vicious, just confused.

message 15: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments isn't that sort of what happened?

message 16: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments 48 years, 4 deaths and this whale was involved in 3 of them? maybe it is vicious

message 17: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Any orca in the wild would be just as unpredictable and dangerous. They've been very lucky with Shamu et al.

message 18: by Mary (new)

Mary (madamefifi) There has never been a documented case of an orca in the wild attacking humans.

message 19: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Mary wrote: "There has never been a documented case of an orca in the wild attacking humans."

I don't think people play around with them in the wild as they do at Sea World, either.

message 20: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) I thought I had read that this orca (which is actually a form of dolphin, not whale) wasn't born in captivity. It's one of the few remaining Sea World orcas that was captured in the wild, so I'd disagree that the situation is analogous to dumping a domesticated dog in the wild. Dogs have been bred for millenia to live with humans. Orcas have not.

I don't know the feasibility of returning it to the wild, whether it could be returned to the same social group, whether that group would recognize Tillikum and whether he'd be allowed to reintegrate. I'm not a marine biologist. But I do think if that's a feasible option that it should be exercised. If it's not, then a safe home away from people is the next best thing.

message 21: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Which part?

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I agree with Larry, too. No, the whale should not be killed, nor released to fend for itself after years of captivity. Perhaps it was captured wild, but that doesn't mean it would be able to reintegrate back into the wild easily.
And I agree with Mary, about using this as an educational opportunity.

message 23: by Lori (new)

Lori There have been many reports about the conditions of Sea World in particular, and it's awful that it took another death to have this finally explode in the media. Orcas, which are abundant here in the PNW, are not dangerous in the wild, unless of course provoked, as any animal would be. There are daily orca watch boat excursion up at the San Juan Islands, and nothing has ever happened - no Orca snatching people off the boats, or even approaching the boats in an aggressive way. Of course the boats, which do get close, keep a respectful distance.

I'm sickened by the treatment of animals in all the Sea Worlds and the circus and think they should all be freed into safe environments. Maybe we should keep the owners of these places in a closed environment and watch them turn on each other!

message 24: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) Kevin "El Liso Grande" wrote: "48 years, 4 deaths and this whale was involved in 3 of them? maybe it is vicious"

In the first death, a trainer fell in the water and three orcas - one of which was Tillikum - passed the trainer back and forth like a toy. They'd never been in the water with a human being at that point.

The second involved a guy who broke in to swim with Tillikum and died from hypothermia and drowning. There's no indication in anything I've read that it's believed Tillikum actually killed him.

message 25: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments agreed bun. not always. but they def do sometimes. my point was only that there is sometimes diff rules. a man eating alligator is always tracked down and killed

message 26: by Mary (new)

Mary (madamefifi) When you think about it there's a certain ammount of risk involved with any interaction with animals, wild or domestic. Lyle Lovett was almost crushed to death by his pet bull when the bull leaned against him, smooshing him up against a fence. Roy Horn of Siefried and Roy was nearly killed by one his tigers during a performance. I myself once had to get stitches when my cat, under severe duress at the vet's and not properly restrained by me, ripped my forearm open with his teeth and claws. Under none of these circumstances were the animals acting maliciously. Euthanasia is a knee-jerk reaction to animals sometimes just acting on instinct in a situation that they don't understand. I hope Sea World considers their response very carefully.

message 27: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) I think one of the main problems with human-animal interactions is that we anthropomorphize animals that are domesticated or live in captivity and somehow expect them to behave like us. We ascribe human emotions and motivations to them and forget that they are in fact animal. And then when they behave in ways tht remind us they are animal, we punish them for their transgressions.

We treat an animal predator that attacks or kills a human the same way we would a premeditated murderer and mete out capital punishment, perhaps as a way to forget that despite all of our smarts and technology, we're really not at the top of the food chain. We are fragile and vulnerable, so we kill to make ourselves feel stronger.

message 28: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17322 comments Mod
I'm sorry I haven't read more of this thread before chiming in, but I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with Mary's sentiment in msg 6. From what I read in the paper this morning Talcum wouldn't survive in the wild. His pod (right?) lives at Sea World. His kids, his friends, his family.

I think that the trainer knew exactly what he was capable of, and had signed on for the possibility of death at the hands of a killer whale when she started a career working with them. Maybe he shouldn't be interacting as heavily with humans anymore, but he should not be put down, and he should not be released.

message 29: by Dr. Detroit (new)

Dr. Detroit | 6019 comments Of course he's not safe to be around. Whoever came up with the bright idea of bringing Orca into captivity and then performing like a trained seal must have had a lot of free time on their hands. Instead of getting sardines for wiggling his flippers, Tilikum figured he deserved a woman.

He's like "Free Willy" raised by the Wild Man of Borneo and a she-wolf and fortified with PCP, three lids of primo weed, some belladonna, six grams of cocaine, twelve wagon wheels and seven hits of windowpane.

message 30: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17322 comments Mod

And in other news, don't click any video links of the Orca killing his prize. I hear there is a nasty virus being spread by the video/links.

message 31: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) People who want to watch someone die on video should get a nasty virus.

Not that I'm being judgmental or anything.

message 32: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11627 comments Kevin "El Liso Grande" wrote: "a man eating alligator is always tracked down and killed"

In that case, I will never eat alligator.

Facts I discovered while laughing at my own joke:

-- A 4oz serving of alligator is only 144 calories.
-- Alligator tastes similar to chicken with a slightly different texture.
-- Alligator meat contains only about 3% fat.

message 33: by Mary (last edited Feb 26, 2010 04:33PM) (new)

Mary (madamefifi) I dated a guy who did 2 years of federal time for poaching 'gators in the bayou. I couldn't even get mad ay myself for dating yet another felon because I thought it was kind of funny.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments Did you get to eat any gator while you were dating him, Mary?

message 35: by Mary (new)

Mary (madamefifi) Nope. We smoked a fair ammount of chronic though.

message 36: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17322 comments Mod
I continue to adore Mary more each and every day.

message 37: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments i def do. sally must really love mary as she lets her misspell things

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