Killer Whales Kept in Captivity Essay

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For several years, Americans have been visiting amusement parks, like SeaWorld and Six Flags, to observe large animals like orcas, also known as killer whales. These whales are quite difficult to view in the wild, but can now be seen for a simple fee. Orcas are known to be one of the smartest mammals. They are friendly, and this has caused people to take advantage of them. For the past sixty years, people have brought these massive creatures into their aquariums to make a profit from their exhibitions. Often, without considering the orcas' quality of life. While kept in captivity, killer whales are forced to do many tricks they normally wouldn’t do in the wild. Over the years, there have been numerous controversies regarding killer whales …show more content…
In 2010, Tillikum killed Dawn Brancheau, as described in a recent news article: “The SeaWorld trainer, he crushed, dismembered, and partially swallowed" (Brower). Tillikum grabbed the trainer and dragged her into the water. After seeing these incidents occur, people have urged SeaWorld to ban these activities. Permitting such activities will create more problems that can cause the injury and death of more people like Dawn, who love and cared for the animals. Some people argue that keeping orcas in captivity is not a problem, yet they do not realize some of the limitations and dangers orcas suffer when kept in captivity. One reason is that these unpredictable, thirty-foot long creatures are usually kept in a tank that is too small for them, compared to the ocean where they can swim freely. In captivity, space is limited. According to one expert, “orcas can swim up to 100 miles per day- a phenomenal amount, in comparison to the exercise they receive in captivity” (Cronin). While in captivity, an orca has to keep swimming in circles or float, unable to exercise adequately in a confined space. The small tanks also prevent orcas from living in their natural group sizes, or pods. “In the wild, killer whales typically travel in pods of between five and 30” (Melissa). In captivity, fewer than five whales are kept together, an imbalance that makes the whales more aggressive towards one another. This can lead to dangerous, territorial situations in which captive
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