Whales in Captivity

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“… building a tank the size of Rhode Island wouldn’t be large enough for a six-ton male killer whale such as Tilikum, an animal capable of swimming 100 miles a day,” states an anonymous whale expert. Whales have been in captivity since 1861 when P.T. Barnum displayed the first live whale that was captured in Canada. However, Barnum had no idea how to care for the mammal and it died after only a week in captivity. (Animal Legal and Historical Center, 2014) Being up close with killer whales could give us some clues about how they interact with each other, including physical behavior, their dialect, and how their pods work together as a family unit. However, what we are finding is that whales who belong in the wild are suffering in…show more content…
There is so much we can learn from Orcas in captivity. Biologists have limited understanding about killer whales in the wild. We cannot observe them 24/7 and we cannot live in their environment. Being with these mammals up-close could give us some clues about how they interact with each other. This would include physical behavior, their dialect, and how their families work together. These are things we would never have to chance to do with the killer whales in their natural habitat. (Teen Inc., 2010) However, when a whale is placed in captivity it is stripped of its ability to communicate with the whales in its pod. In essence it would be like placing someone in a completely different culture with no means of communicating with anyone around them. Imagine the stress of not being able to communicate any needs or feelings with those around you. Marine parks around the world introduce the public to an animal that they would never encounter on their own. Seeing the majestic whales perform and listening to what the trainers share about the killer whale educates large groups of people about killer whales and creates excitement about the wild animal. However, some of the information being shared may not be accurate. Marine parks exist to make a profit. It would be in their best interest to tell the public bits of information that would keep them interested in the illusion created by the performance….that the killer whales are happy,
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