I agree it’s terribly sad that yet another person was killed by the killer whale at SeaWorld Orlando but it’s a KILLER WHALE for goodness sake. People pay good money to go gawk at this amazing creature, SeaWorld no doubt paid very good money to keep it captive and have it jump through proverbial hoops to entertain the masses. But it’s a wild animal and frankly, it is unlikely it would have killed anyone had it been allowed to remain in the wild where wild animals belong.
I just don’t get it. You pull a wild creature from its environment, basically exploit it for money and entertainment value, and then wonder why the animal acts “wild.” Whales generally don’t encounter humans, let alone attack them, in the wild because unlike other sea animals, sharks for instance, whales don’t come close to shore where humans swim.
The SeaWorld orca (from Orcinus orca) drowned its experienced female trainer Wednesday in front of horrified onlookers. Details of the accident are still sketchy but there are news reports that the trainer was dragged under the water and thrashed about.
It’s the second time in just two months that an orca trainer has died on the job. In December, a trainer fell from a whale at a marine park on the Spanish Island of Tenerife and crushed his ribcage as the pair practiced a trick. And the SeaWorld whale, the oldest and largest killer whale in captivity, was responsible for two previous deaths. In 1999, there was the bizarre case of a man sneaking into the whale’s pool at SeaWorld and his naked body being found splayed on the whale’s back; and in 1991, a marine biology student and part-time trainer fell into the whale’s tank in Canada and was dragged under to eventual death.
What’s not clear in the latest case is whether it was an act of aggression by the whale, or if the animal was just bored and trying to play. Whales are typically intelligent and playful creatures, and with potential to reach some 32 feet and weigh up to 18,000 pounds, they are not meant to be penned in. So no matter the motivation for the whale’s attack, the sheer strength of the animal was no match for a human.
There’s no word yet on the fate of the killer whale. SeaWorld has suspended its orca show for the time being. And just maybe someone will show some sense and consider setting the orca free now.