SeaWorld still doesn’t understand how the Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) population became endangered Either that, or they do understand full well, but fly the balloon of uncertainty for reasons of their own.
Reading this just might make you gasp.
Oh, SeaWorld. No study on captive orcas is needed to understand that the horrific and massive extraction of the young orcas for the aquarium industry coupled with the birth-age of females and their gestation cycles is largely responsible for the SRKW population’s being placed, and very little recovery since being so placed, on the list of Endangered Species.
As of September 2013, the SRKW population totaled 81 individuals ( J Pod = 26, K Pod = 19, L Pod = 36). The size of all three Southern Resident pods was reduced in number from 1965-75 as a result of whale captures for marine park exhibition. At least 13 whales were killed during these captures, while 45 whales were delivered to marine parks around the world. Today, only Lolita (Tokitae) remains alive in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium. – From the Center for Whale Research
But for SeaWorld to suggest that it is still apparently a mystery reveals little more than its agenda; I’m not sure if that is “at best” or “at worst.” As with other similar situations with SeaWorld and other aquariums <guess who>, I honestly don’t know if it would be better if they knew the truth and infused uncertainty, or if they truly didn’t know, but were entrusted with the lives of these magnificent beings.
Either way, looks like a Catch-22 for the orcas, both captive and free.
The rest of us can understand that studying orcas in concrete tanks has not translated significantly to conservation of the wild ones and will not tell us why the wild ones became endangered. In contrast, organizations like the Center For Whale Research, whose mission is the study and conservation of the SRKW population, is where the daily scientific study of this wild population actually occurs, study that may yield important information on how to protect them and their habitat from further assaults.
Perhaps SeaWorld “may someday” understand how the Southern Residents became endangered. If it really is “someday”, that day will be after SeaWorld has been forced to retire its “collection” of living beings to sea pens where they can once again, or for the first time, enjoy life in real seawater, with real tides, and a real sun, moon, and stars, and a real shore, and people who really get the right of orcas and all beings to have that life, to experience their birthright.
What you can do: Become a member of or donate to the Center for Whale Research and contribute to real protection of the wild ones.