Four years of Awareness since Dawn’s Death

Today marks the 4th anniversary of Dawn Brancheau’s death and the four year journey of heightened awareness of orcas in captivity. Sadly, that awareness came too late for Dawn.  One has to wonder how she would feel if she were still here today, especially knowing that she was blamed for her own death.  There is no denying that her story opened the eyes of millions of people to the issues surrounding captivity.

I still remember that day clearly, the local news in Orlando constantly showing Tilikum alone inside his tiny tank as if being punished.  I didn’t know what to think.  Up to this point, I had never considered captivity being wrong.  I had visited the park on many occasions and had undoubtedly seen Dawn perform in several shows through the years. She was a local hero and a senior trainer at the park. I was dumbfounded.  Who’s fault was it? What would happen to Tilikum?

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Photo from WFTV gallery

Many others also began questioning what went wrong.  First was Tim Zimmermann who wrote the comprehensive Killer in the Pool, an inside look into the subject of orcas in captivity.  He writes about Dawn:

IF ANYONE WAS GOING to take care around Tilikum, it was Dawn Brancheau. She was one of SeaWorld’s best and completely dedicated to the animals and her job. (She even met her husband, Scott, in the SeaWorld cafeteria.) She had worked at SeaWorld Orlando since 1994, spending two years working with otters and sea lions before graduating to work with the killer whales. She was fun and selfless, volunteering at a local animal shelter and often keeping everything from stray ducks and chickens to rabbits and small birds at her home.

Next, David Kirby writes Death at SeaWorld, giving detailed information of not only Dawn’s death, but also those victims before her. Kirby also outlines many other prior incidents previously hidden from the public.  Coupled with the studies of wild orca populations by Dr. Naomi Rose, the book exposes the dark side of orcas in captivity.

Following the release of the book, HSUS released The Real SeaWorld, a powerful 4 minute video featuring David Kirby, Dr. Naomi Rose, Jeff Ventre, Sam Berg and Carol Ray.

Probably the most powerful change has been the release of Blackfish.  Blackfish director Gabriella Cowperthwaite tells David Kirby that she made the film to answer the questions: Why was a senior trainer killed by such a highly intelligent animal, an animal with whom she presumably had a relationship?  Why would such a highly emotional, intelligent animal bite the hand that feeds it?

Blackfish opened at Sundance Film Festival last January and premiered on CNN October 24, 2013 as #1 in cable news averaging 472k in the key-demo adults 25-54 rating. Millions of people have seen the film and the views of the public are rapidly changing against captivity.

Dawn was the fourth victim taken by killer whales in captivity, but it was her death that brought the captivity issue into the forefront of public awareness.  There is no doubt that she had a love for the animals she cared for. I only hope that her story changes the way we view these animals and that our love for them is translated into doing the right thing.

2013 Year in Review

I had just finished reading David Kirby’s Death at SeaWorld at the beginning of 2013, and I was highly anticipating the release of Blackfish.  Reading reviews after it’s premiere at Sundance, I couldn’t wait to see it for myself.

When I heard Blackfish was premiering in Florida at Miami Film Festival, I had to go.

March 3, 2013


Most of the stories in Blackfish were also told in detail in Death at SeaWorld, but seeing them on screen and hearing the former trainers talk about them was very powerful.  I was also in shock at hearing John Crowe recall the captures of wild baby orcas to supply SeaWorld’s collection.

After seeing the film, I wanted everyone to see it.  Blackfish was the opening film a month later on April 5 at Sarasota Film Festival, so I took my dad.  My dad had taken me to SeaWorld several times as a child, thinking it was educational (as many of us believed).  He was shocked by what he saw in the film!

April 25 I attended another round of OSHA vs. SeaWorld to decide if the Petition for Modification of Abatement Date should be extended.

Soon after, as I got more involved in the anti-captivity community, I became a board member for Fins and Fluke.  It is such an honor for me to work with such a great group of people who are passionate about our oceans.

My first event was attending the annual Hands Across the Sand event in Vero Beach on May 18 with fellow board member, Amanda Fagan.

Death at SeaWorld was released on paperback July 2.  It sold out at Amazon UK in just 16 days and was listed #1 in Animals at Amazon Canada on July 9 and at Amazon US on July 20.  Death at SeaWorld has now undergone several reprints.  Have you read it yet?

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July 27 was the first annual Empty the Tanks, and my first protest.

Fins and Fluke put out a petition to SeaWorld asking them to stop their captive breeding program at the end of July.  This is imperative to phasing out the horrible practice of keeping orcas captive.  If you haven’t signed yet, please sign and share.

Blackfish premiered at the Enzian near Orlando on August 9 with all major news channels reporting, including Mike DeForest of Click Orlando.

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During a brief hiatus from Fins and Fluke, I launched a fundraising campaign to help fund the release of Roxanne the Risso’s dolphin from Riverhead Foundation.  Roxanne was released August 28.  You can track her progress here.  Riverhead continues to need support in rehabilitating other dolphins, seals and sea turtles that regularly need their help.

On September 1, I also hosted an event for Japan Dolphins Day, the beginning of the dolphin drives in Taiji, in Daytona.  It was great to meet so many other fellow advocates, including Andrea Bosiger who later became a board member with Fins and Fluke.

Andrew Schwartz's photo.

On October 10, I had the great privilege of representing Fins and Fluke at a protest at Miami Seaquarium filmed for SBS Dateline and meeting Ric O’Barry.  I was so overwhelmed by everyone who attended the event giving their support to Lolita.

Blackfish awareness exploded after several screenings on CNN, premiering on October 24.

Andrea and I became Sea Shepherd on-shore volunteers this year as well.  I had the opportunity to volunteer at Veg Fest and DEMA later this year.

 Veg Fest Oct. 26, 2013

 DEMA Nov. 7, 2013

November 9 was the next SeaWorld protest bringing awareness to the 30-year anniversary of Tilikum’s capture.

On December 5, Fins and Fluke partnered with Oceana and Surfrider at the Seismic Airgun Testing forum.  We are looking forward to continuing this partnership in the future to bring awareness against seismic airgun testing.

December 22, Andrea and I joined the protest at SeaWorld Orlando to celebrate Cash’s birthday and the eight bands who have dropped out of SeaWorld’s Bands, Brew and BBQ event.  The momentum has been unstoppable and we are hoping it continues well into the new year and beyond.  With 100 protesters, the word is spreading!

So what’s next in 2014?  Keep spreading the word!  Get involved!

Do you need some ideas?

You can follow Ocean Advocate on Facebook or Twitter and follow Fins and Fluke on Facebook and Twitter, or visit our website.

Read Death at SeaWorld and follow David’s blog series at the Death at SeaWorld page at TakePart.

Read David’s article “Six Ways You Can Help Captive Killer Whales Right Now” for more ideas.

Follow the trainers featured in Death at SeaWorld and Blackfish at their blog and on Twitter.

Let’s make 2014 even bigger!!!

Blackfish gives SeaWorld an Opportunity to Step Up to the Plate

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As the World Series rages on, Blackfish has been shown several times on CNN over the past few days.  The ratings have shot through the roof as the film ranked #1 in cable news during the debut screening with a total of 1.36 million viewers. The film ranked #1 in page views on CNN films as well.

CNN covered the film with major publicity throughout the week.  They repeatedly invited SeaWorld to be part of the conversation, yet they were repeatedly denied.  This is the same scenario that Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Blackfish director, faced as she put the film together.  David Kirby, author of Death at SeaWorld, experienced the same unwillingness to contribute while researching for his book.

Instead, CNN aired several debates with other spokespeople speaking out in defense of SeaWorld and captivity in general. These debates included input from Jack Hanna, Bill Hurley of Georgia Aquarium (who incidentally has also appealed NOAA’s decision to deny the recent beluga whale import permit) and Grey Stafford.  Those who were speaking out for captivity clearly did not bring a strong enough case to justify the practice now that we know better.  Hopefully SeaWorld will take note.

CNN conducted a poll, and public opinion has shown an overwhelming 90% now against captivity.  This gives SeaWorld the amazing opportunity to be a leader in the industry and do the right thing. Dr. Naomi Rose explains it best as the opportunity to be a win-win situation for trainer safety and orca welfare by creating sanctuaries where captive orcas to be rehabilitated and retired.

It is not realistic to demand that all captive orcas be released since  many have been bred in captivity and are not good candidates.  However there is no reason why they can’t invite the public to visit these sanctuaries from a safe distance and use current trainers to help these animals adjust to being wild animals again. No shows.

So what’s it going to be SeaWorld?  It’s time for you to step up to the plate.

A Treadmill is No Substitute for the Ocean

As David Kirby pointed out after talking to several activists last week, SeaWorld has introduced a new “treadmill for whales.” In my opinion, this seems to be a last-ditch effort for them to be portrayed as a facility who cares for their animals.  As David said, “If you make something less bad, it’s still bad.”

Yes, it is true that Tilikum spends the majority of his time stationary in a small, back pool.  He could benefit from some exercise, but we should not stray from the big picture.  No matter what kind of machine is introduced, the bottom line is that he is still living in a small concrete tank.

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There are many unknown variables with this new treadmill, but I can’t help but wonder about the potentially detrimental factors.  We do not know what kind of noise it makes or how cooperative Tilikum will be.  If the machine is loud underwater, I would think that it will be doing him more harm than good.  An animal who naturally uses sonar to assess his surroundings should not be exposed to anything that will further harm his senses any more than his concrete tank already does.  I also have to wonder what frustration this might cause for him.  Although he is not being asked to perform, he is being asked to swim.  In a performance, he would get frequent dead fish as a reward following any command.  How long must he swim before he is rewarded (if you call dead fish a reward).  I feel that Tilikum is smart enough to realize that he is being duped.  Although I can’t speak for him, if this was happening to me I would be extremely frustrated.  Frustration could possibly lead to another injury to himself or to someone else.

The real issue continues to be the fact that Tilikum and all of the other cetaceans in all parks don’t belong in captivity. Period.  It is a sad fact that SeaWorld must look for other ways of “enrichment” for Tilikum’s life when the natural ocean provides all the enrichment he could ever need.

As activists, the focus needs to continue to be on stopping their breeding program and phasing out the captivity of these animals for good, not finding a way to make captivity better.

I tend to agree with Naomi Rose who stated, “It’s still not good enough.  Only the ocean is good enough.”

The Curious Case of Daniel Dukes

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Today’s post by Voice of the Orcas includes horrifying testimony from former animal care handler Cynthia Payne.  The post is tragic enough in itself as Cynthia talks about heartbreaking stories surrounding Gudrun, Nyar and Gwen.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s a must-read.

What stirred things even further was a comment posted by another former employee, KJ.  KJ describes more details about the night that Daniel Dukes, Tilikum’s second victim, was found dead on Tilikum’s back.  According to his comment, KJ says that there was a calf at the park during that time.  When there is a calf, there should be a minimum of FOUR night-watch trainers.

According to Sam Berg, another former trainer, the night watch trainers job is to take respirations on every animal twice an hour for 5 minutes.  Where were they?  How could they have missed a dead body in the pool all night?

People have questioned the circumstances of Duke’s death for a long time, but this only brings up the point even more.  Not one, but four, people in the area and NOBODY saw or heard anything?  It seems rather suspicious.

Those who were present at the time of Dawn’s death in 2010 stated that they could hear and see commotion from A pool, the opposite side of Shamu Stadium.  I find it hard to believe that anyone in the area could have missed what happened, much less all four.  Where were they?  SeaWorld has also maintained that there is no video surveillance that showed what happened. What about the Sky Tower camera?  Where was the security guard?  The guard is known to stop by the area every few hours to check on things.

Many have wondered how Dukes got into the pool.  Did he jump?  Was he pulled in?  SeaWorld report states that Dukes drowned, but there are so many questions left unanswered.  His body was dismembered, genitals removed.  Did that happen before or after his death?

It has been easy for SeaWorld to once again blame the victim here, especially since he is not here to defend himself.

We might never have the answers, but it does make you wonder.

Death at SeaWorld paperback release kicks off the Summer of the Killer Whale

The 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau at SeaWorld Orlando shook thousands, leaving many to question why such a highly intelligent animal would do such a horrific act.  David Kirby dove head first into the questions that lingered, and the result is the informative, thrilling book, Death at SeaWorld.

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Death at SeaWorld delves deep into the beginning of the captive whale industry and chronicles the behind-the-scenes reality of these animals in order to understand what might lead them to kill.  Former SeaWorld trainers share their stories and observations, leading them to have their own doubts about captivity.  To compare their stories to killer whales in the wild, Kirby shares input from Dr. Naomi Rose, leading marine mammal expert with Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Death at SeaWorld was first released in hardback in July 2012 to rave reviews.  The paperback is set to release on July 2, one week from today.  The paperback includes an updated look including a quote from The Wall Street Journal and a promo “splash” for the highly anticipated documentary, Blackfish, on the cover.  There are also rave reviews and three pages of blurbs inside.  Look for Death at SeaWorld on New Release tables in your local bookstores.  Let’s put it on the Best Seller shelves as well!

If you have already read Death at SeaWorld, please consider purchasing a paperback to donate to your local library or school.  Most of those who visit marine parks just don’t know any better.  Awareness and education are key, and it is our jobs to spread the word.

You can find the link on Amazon here:  http://www.amazon.com/Death-SeaWorld-Killer-Whales-Captivity/dp/1250031257/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372033559&sr=8-1&keywords=death+at+seaworld+paperback

Or Barnes and Noble here:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/death-at-sea-world-david-kirby/1110787181?ean=9781250031259

For an autographed sticker for your book, join our event on Fins and Fluke:  http://www.facebook.com/events/420429341398500/

David has continued to document stories of killer whales issues in the past year on TakePart.  A list of these stories, as well as links to other advocacy websites, can be found at:  http://deathatseaworld.com/?p=669

He would like to thank you all for your continued enthusiasm and support, and he hopes we can make this the “summer of the killer whale”.

A Call to End SeaWorld’s Captive Breeding Program

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To sign this important petition, click here:  http://www.change.org/petitions/seaworld-end-captive-orca-breeding-program

This is a call to action to end the captive breeding programs at SeaWorld Parks.  SeaWorld continues to boast about their “successful breeding program” when in all actuality that is far from the truth.  There have been thirty-seven known pregnancies at SeaWorld parks since the first captive birth in 1985.   Only eighteen of these calves still alive today, barely half.  The captive breeding program at SeaWorld has resulted in 6 stillbirths, two miscarriages, and five maternal deaths during childbirth.  One remaining calf is a result of inbreeding.

The five females who have died during, or shortly after, birth experienced very unnatural circumstances.

One of the most disturbing was that of Gudrun.  When Gudrun went in to labor in February 1996, a pulse could not be found on the unborn calf who was presumed dead.  Since she was not delivering the calf, they needed to pull it from her.

David Kirby writes in Death at SeaWorld:

The pain must have been unearthly.  Gudrun began to hemorrhage severely.  Her dorsal fin collapsed, probably due to dehydration.  She refused to eat and ignored all attempts by people to make contact with her.  She remained motionless in one spot, unprotected by shade, so staff lovingly lavished her back with zinc oxide.  After the bleeding stopped, Gudrun stayed that way for four days as her worried caretakers did all they could to nurse her back to health.

     On the fourth day, Gudrun finally moved.  She slowly swam over to the gate where her disabled young calf, Nyar, was watching.  Nyar had had to be separated from Gudrun after the mother began attacking her daughter.  Now Gudrun gently nudged Nyar’s rostrum through the bars, as if to ask for an overdue rapprochement.  Gudrun died a few hours later.

Many times, mothers reject their calves either due to having them at a young age, spaced too close together, or not having the experience necessary to care for them properly.

In “Keto and Tilikum Express the Stress of Orca Captivity” by Drs. John Jett and Jeff Ventre, they state:

At SWF (SeaWorld Florida), Taima was a notoriously poor mother as well. She died from a prolapsed uterus while giving birth to her fourth calf on 6 June 2010, at the age of 20. Keep in mind that killer whale gestation is approximately 18 months in duration, and to eiterate, wild Northern Resident calves are “born at five-year intervals.”

Gudrun rejected her first calf, Nyar, who was born with a birth defect.  Kayla also rejected her calf, Halyn.  Halyn was bottle-fed every two hours around the clock by staff.  Taima rejected Sumar as well.

The paper goes on to list other stress factors of killer whales in captivity and their impact on each other and those who work with them.

The practice of keeping killer whales in captivity has proven to be detrimental to the health and safety of animals and trainers alike.  Captured animals are confined to small, acoustically-dead, concrete enclosures where they must live in extremely close proximity to other whales with which they often share no ancestral, cultural or communication similarities. The resultant infighting amongst captive orcas is exacerbated by virtue of having no place to run, as confinement fails to provide spatial escape options that natural settings offer.

One of the most notorious of these fighting incidents was that of Kandu V in 1989.  The incident is described in Death at SeaWorld:

Kandu had been resting in the back of the pool with her one-year-old calf, Orkid, along with Corky.  Corky had shown undue interest in the calf, something that had agitated Kandu intensely.  Though younger and smaller than the twenty-five-year-old Corky, Kandu exerted dominance over her from the beginning.

Kandu slammed her head into Corky, severing a major artery in Kandu’s upper jaw.  Blood stained the back of the pool and a ten-foot geyser of crimson spouted from Kandu’s blowhole.  Over the next forty-five minutes Kandu bled to death as SeaWorld staff and the audience looked on in helpless distress.

In the wild, these whales travel hundreds of miles with the whole ocean at their disposal.  When enclosed in a small area, there is nowhere to run.

SeaWorld started their captive breeding program claiming it had educational value.  While the early breeding did give researchers valuable information such as the length of gestation time, there has not been a new source of research or education in quite some time.  The latest work cited in their Animal profiles is 13-years-old.  Since then, more recent publications have shown this information to be inaccurate, or false, in most cases.  SeaWorld is no longer a reliable source of educational information.

Dental care is another stress-related, or boredom, issue of captivity reported in the paper.  The whales break their teeth by biting on the horizontal metal bars between tanks.  This could be “jaw popping” as an act of aggression or chewing as a result of boredom.  Either way, it results in broken teeth, which then need to be drilled out to prevent exposure of pulp.  To treat this, a hole is drilled through the pulp using a variable speed drill.  Once the procedure is complete, the holes must be irrigated 2-3 times per day for the rest of the whale’s life.

Some whales are treated with Tagamet, the same medication given to humans, for stress-related ulcers.  Although SeaWorld states that this is common, I’ve never heard of a whale in the wild taking Tagamet, have you?

The dorsal fin flop is also a “side-effect” of captivity, particularly for males. Although some form of bend is possible in the wild, it is only common in 1%.  Captive males have a 100% flop.

Two deaths at SeaWorld in particular would have certainly not occurred in the wild.  Those are the deaths of Kanduke and Taku.

In Dr. Jett and Dr. Ventre’s paper, “Orca captivity and Vulnerability to Mosquito-Transmitted Viruses” they write:

Since orcas (Orcinus orca) were first placed into captivity for entertainment purposes serious health issues related to their captivity have become apparent. Among these, mosquito-transmitted diseases have killed at least two captive orcas in marine parks in the United States. Kanduke, a 25- year-old male orca, died suddenly in the summer of 1990 at SeaWorld of Florida in Orlando. Necropsy results identified St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) as the cause of death (7). Subsequently, Taku, a 14-year-old male orca, died suddenly and without notable premonitory signs of illness in 2007 at SeaWorld of Texas in San Antonio. The necropsy results also confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in brain tissue, with observed lesions consistent with those caused by WNV in other animals (42). An extensive record of mosquitoes feeding on zoo animals exists (1), and mosquitoes may exhibit altered host preferences within zoo settings (44).

Based on prior experience and observations working directly with captive orcas at a marine park in Florida (U.S.), we identify several factors that could place orcas held in U.S. theme parks at increased risk of exposure to mosquito-transmitted viruses, as well as an increased risk of developing the manifested diseases from these viral pathogens. Our animal trainer experience includes thousands of cumulative hours conducting “night watch” observations of captive orcas held in Orlando, Florida. Night watch duties at this park included recurrently documenting killer whale respirations for five minute intervals, and simultaneously noting the orcas’ behavioral patterns from night until morning (typically 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.). We routinely observed long periods of logging behavior during night watch duties at the park, which coincided with the presence of biting mosquitoes.

Another mosquito-related death is also possible.  In June 2008, Halyn died of encephalitis in San Antonio.  While there are other factors that could have caused the encephalitis other than mosquitoes, it is very likely that it was.  A monk seal in the same park died of West Nile Virus at around the same time.  Halyn was less than three years old at her time of death.

Other current problems that make for good reason to stop the breeding program would be the limited gene pool.

Tilikum has now been responsible for siring seventeen pregnancies since he came to SeaWorld Orlando in January 1992.  Three of these calves, still owned by SeaWorld, are currently on breeding loan at Loro Parque.  The gene pool is shrinking.  The last calf born in San Diego was sired through artificial insemination by Kshamenk, a whale held in Marina Mundo in Argentina.

Of all whales to choose from for breeding, Tilikum would be the one obvious choice NOT to procreate further if common sense applies.

With Tilikum responsible for the deaths of three people, it’s obvious that these whales have aggressive tendencies in captivity.  Tilikum has not been the only whale to lash out at his trainer.  The first documented aggression took place in San Diego in 1971 when Shamu thrashed his “rider” off, grabbing her by the leg and carrying her to the bottom of the pool.

The year 1987 was a dangerous year to be a SeaWorld trainer.  In March, a trainer in San Diego was attacked by multiple whales.  He spent nine days in the hospital with a ruptured kidney among other injuries.  In June, Kandu landed directly on top of a trainer causing a broken neck and permanent loss of head movement.  Later that summer, another trainer was rammed in the stomach which sent her to the hospital.

But November 21 was the most dangerous yet.  John Sillick was riding on Nootka I when Orky II slammed down on top of him.  It took 6 operations over 12 months to put him back together again with 3 lbs of pins, plates and screws including a plate in his pelvis.  All vertebrae in his neck had to be permanently fused.

June 12, 1999, an experienced trainer named Ken “Petey” Peters was doing a show with Kasatka and Takara.  Takara unexpectedly split to the back tank during the performance.  Kasatka then left Peters in the water and began circling the perimeter of the pool at high speeds.  She then opened her jaws wide, moved in to grab his legs and tried to push him out of the pool.  Fortunately he was pulled from the pool by the spotter.

In 2006, Kasatka showed herself again…twice.  On November 15, Brian Rokeach was doing water work with Orkid for the first time.  Three other trainers were onstage, including Ken “Petey” Peters, who had already experienced aggressive incidents with Kasatka in 1993 and 1999.  Rokeach had just completed a ride with Orkid and she was on one end of the pool.  The trainers called Orkid and Sumar back to the stage and they dove under the surface.  Rokeach started to swim back to the stage when Orkid sneaked up behind him and grabbed his left ankle.  Orkid did a barrel roll, pushing him all the way to the bottom of the pool.  After several calls, the whales finally returned back to the stage and Rokeach was pulled from the water with the help of the trainers.  He suffered a torn ligament in his ankle, which took a lot of physical therapy for him to recover.

The most notorious incident occurred on November 26.  Ken Peters called on Sumar and Kasatka to perform much of the water work in the show.  Orkid was not doing waterwork because of the previous incident and Corky had been put on light duty after being raked by Kasatka.

Kalia, Kasatka’s newest calf, was backstage getting rowdy in one of the pools.  Kasatka began the segment perfectly.  As he dove under the water to meet with the whale, he suddenly heard a loud whale vocalization, sounding like a distress call or cry.  Kasatka instantly grabbed his ankles, pulling him underwater for several seconds.  When he surfaced, she began “rag-dolling” him, taking him under again for a minute or more.  She slowly brought him up to the surface, where he yelled for help, before she took him back down again.  As she brought him up, he told his colleagues not to recall her since it only made her bite down harder.  He gently stroked her in an effort to calm her down.

A trainer threw “scubacuzzi” onto the surface.  Keeping Peters in her mouth and away, Kasatka went over to inspect the object.  Staff deployed a net as the audience was ushered out.  Kasatka let go of Peters to inspect the net before grabbing his foot again, this time pinning him to the bottom for a minute or more.  Finally she grabbed him, brought him to the surface and let go.  He backed away slowly, then quickly turned away towards the stage.  She charged at him again, but the other trainers grabbed him and pulled him to safety.

Ken Peters suffered puncture wounds to both feet and a broken metatarsal ligament in his left foot.  He was transported to the hospital for surgery and three days of antibiotics to prevent infection.

There is no denying the evidence that these killer whales do not cope well in captivity.  Period.  Stillbirths, miscarriages, calf rejection, dental care, dorsal fin collapse, ulcers, encephalitis, infection and aggression towards themselves or trainers all point to captivity.  It’s time to stop spreading the horror.  It’s time to give a true education of what these whales’ lives are like in their natural habitat.  End captive breeding now.

Sources:

Death at SeaWorld by David Kirby can be found at http://www.amazon.com/Death-SeaWorld-Killer-Whales-Captivity/dp/1250002028/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1319656181&sr=1-1-catcorr

“Keto and Tilikum Express the Stress of Orca Captivity” by Dr. John Jett and Dr. Jeff Ventre can be found http://theorcaproject.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/keto-tilikum-express-stress-of-orca-captivity/

“Orca Captivity and Vulnerability to Mosquito-Transmitted Viruses” by Dr. John Jett and Dr. Jeff Ventre can be found most recently http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2013/05/are-mosquitoes-a-secret-killer-whale-killer/

Dates of births and deaths were found on various pages of http://www.ceta-base.com/