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"I Know Of No Marine Mammals Kept In Captivity In Natural Conditions. As A Matter Of Fact, There Is An Inherent Contradiction In Using The Term "Natural" To Refer To Captive Circumstances"
- Professor Hal Markowitz -


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. . To really understand dolphins and whales, one must study them on their own terms. For then the sea is a realm .. whose vast species are defined accoustically.

Todays level of awareness forces us to ask whether captivity serves the interests of science or visa versa. The ideals of education do not abide easily in the captive marine entertainment. Uneasy facts of life are always presented in cherry, show-biz gloss.

It is easy to follow the promise that contact with marine mammals is educational. Observation helps us understand and respect the animals and the motivation to protect them in the wild. But in a larger sense, everything that we have learned from our involvement with captive marine mammals serves to buttress the principal conclusion that the injury suffered by the animals far out-weighs any benefits resulting from their confinement.

Killer whales, more properly known as orcas, have been kept in captivity for 37 years, helpless victims of a blatantly commercial experiment which has seen dozens of wild orcas plucked from their families and forced to live in artificial social groupings which bear scant resemblance to their natural order.marineland Unaware of the plight, millions of people flock each year to watch the orca show, seduced by the extravagent promises of the display of "circus acts". Glossy brochures boast a spectacle..billed "The Wettest Show On Earth" which will simultaneously educate and entertain the whole family..

I'm truly concerned about the millions of Americans who go to our "amusement parks" and come away thinking that is OK to dominate animals and manipulate them into performing tricks to please the crowd! How we treat these animals is an example of our overall relationship with nature..Finally, there is some cause for optimism. Greater public awareness of the issues has led in turn to a willingness to question seriously taken for granted assumptions about captivity. Attendance of several marine parks has declined in recent years and others have stopped displaying orcas altogether.marinelandThe reality of existance for the captives has become painfully obvious. Cramped, chlorinated tanks often inhabited by frustrated and unhealthy whales, performing "circus tricks" which bear little resemblance to their natural behavior. Many people now feel that witnessing such impoverishment is unlikely to yield sound educational benefits..

Corky and Kandu were tankmates at Sea World, San Diego. No one paid much attention to the unrelenting harrassment of Corky by Kandu, the dominant orca. Then in 1989, Kandu rammed Corky in from of a stadium full of spectators, fracturing her own jaw. Spouting blood from a ruptured artery, Kandu died 45 minutes later. The show continued until puzzled trainers realized something was wrong then quickly ushered out shocked spectators. Kandu's orphaned calf, only 11 months-old even performed the following day. Sea World claimed it was a "normal" display of dominance, and tried to suppress the media accounts by describing the incident as an "altercation" which ended tragically..


  • Nootka At Marineland - Canada

    I visited Marineland several years ago, some months after the birth of an orca calf. I was astounded to observe the conditions in which the animals were kept. The mother and her baby had the larger show pool to themselves. Two other orcas were being kept together in a tiny circular enclosure adjacent to the main tank. It was barely larger in diameter than the length of their bodies. Questioning of a staff member indicated that such treatment was routine at Marineland where calves were born. I find such treatment of a normally free ranging animal unconscionable and exploitative. In my opinion this is indicative of the broader approach to the care of animals at Marineland...

  • - Dr. Paul Spong -


  • Neocia At Marineland Canada
  • It has been argued that the educational benefits flowing from keeping cetaceans captive outweigh the detrimental effects on the "few" individuals involved. I reject this line of thinking. In my opinion the education component of captive cetacean exhibits is far less important that the entertainment component. Moreover, the "education" offered the public is typically inaccurate, incomplete, and misleading. The principal messages conveyed by captive displays of cetaceans come from "shows" which demean the nature of the animals, turning them into circus performers and objects of amusement and riducule. It is a disservice to the public, and to cetaceans, to present the captives in such a manner. We do not need to, indeed we much not, teach our children that it is proper to treat animals in this can only lead to perpetuation of an unfortunate cycle of abuse..This is a life of no parole...where they are dying to entertain you!..

    - Dr. Paul Spong -


    Change will be gradual, but the very fact that change is taking place with Keiko is important. For the sake of the captives..we must ensure that this momentum is not lost! What you will learn here will go further than your wildest dreams..