SeaWorld’s Double Standard Stirs Controversy
Keiko: The only long term captive orca to ever be released back into the wild did thrive despite captive industry claims.
For 6 years Keiko lived outside of the concrete jungle and he thrived. Keiko gained weight, re-learned his hunting skills and built his strength up enough to travel the oceans. Keiko died FREE. His story is one of success, even though the captive industry claims being free killed Keiko. Marine parks use Keiko’s death as an excuse to not attempt release/retirement programs for their captive orcas. This is unacceptable to us and it should also be to the majority of people.
Little does SeaWorld disclose to the public about captive orcas dying in the parks.
Orcas die all the time in captivity, yet this has not persuaded the captive industry to stop keeping them in captivity. Instead marine parks use the excuse that ONE captive released orca died 6 years after his release so all captive orcas are unreleasable. Any person using even half of their brain can see this is just not correct.
In actuality captive orca deaths have inspired the captive industry to breed more orcas to take the place of the orcas that die at their hands. You do not hear marine parks screaming that captivity kills orcas so they should not be kept in captivity. To use Keiko as an excuse to not attempt release/retirement programs is a double standard that the captive industry wishes to try to brainwash the public into “believing”.
Ask yourself how many orcas have died within 6 years of being placed or born into captivity. If you do not know the answer than you should not be debating these matters with those that do know. I can tell you this, more than one orca has died within the first 6 years of living in captivity. Ninety-seven out of 156 orcas that have died in captivity did not survive longer than 6 years….more than 62%.
Wanda 2 days, Moby Doll 3 months, Namu 1 year, Shamu 6 years, Katy 3 months, Orky 2 years, Lupa 7 months, Bonnie 4 months, Natsidalia 7 months, Corky 2 1/2 years, Tula 3 months, Ahad 5 1/2 years, Cuddles 5 1/2 years, Mamuk 5 1/2 years, Ramu2 1 year, Calypso 1 year, Patches 1 1/2 years, Kenny 1 1/2 years, Scarredjaw Cow 2 months, Chimo 2 1/2 years, Lil Nootka 7 months, Ramu4 1 year, Wally 1 year, Clovis 2 1/2 years, Chappy 3 1/2 years, Jumbo 4 years, Kandu3 4 years, Kona 6 years, Canuck 2 1/2 years, Zero 15 days, Sandy 4 1/2 years, Kandy 3 months, Frankie 5 months, Nootka2 9 months, Nootka3 9 months, Kim 5 1/2 years, Baby 18 days, Miracle 4 1/2 years, Magnus 2 months, Canuck2 4 years, no name 4 months, Spooky 11 days, no name 5 months, no name 5 days, no name 1 month, no name 2 months, Chi 4 months, Tai 3 years, Surfer Girl 9 days, Dzul-ha 4 years, no name 3 months, King 4 years, Benkei2 2 1/2 years, no name 2 months, Neptune 1 1/2 years, Nemo 5 years, no name 4 months, Benkei3 1 1/2 years, Sacchi 2 years, no name 10 days, Kiva 48 days, no name 8 months, Nandu 4 1/2 years, no name 2 months, Freyja 3 years, no name 1 months, Milagro 5 1/2 years, Baby Shamu 11 days, no name 2 months, Shachi 2 years, Prince 4 years, no name 22 days, Ai 6 years, Kyosha 96 days, no name 33 days, no name 62 days, no name 1 day, Nyar 2 1/2 years, Kanuck 4 years, no name 38 days, no name 1 day, no name 1 day, Malik 4 years, Nova 4 1/2 years, no name 4 months, no name 4 months, no name 11 days, Hudson 6 years, Algonquin 2 1/2 years, Sarah 3 years, no name 28 days, April 1 month, Athena 4 1/2 years, no name 2 days, Halyn 2 1/2 years, no name 3 days, Pascuala 2 months
The captive industry’s stance regarding the release of Keiko is degrading to the orca species as a whole. Marine parks relay to the public about how intelligent orcas are, yet when it comes to Keiko and current captive orcas, this is not the case. Despite evidence of Keiko thriving, the captive industry claims he just died, he was killed because he could not make it. Keiko made it. Keiko disproved all the claims marine parks make about releasing/retiring captive orcas. This is why they take such a terrible stance against Keiko’s release.
Marine parks have proven that some orcas have the ability to adapt. After all, their orca “collections” originally came from the wild. They have adapted to eating dead fish that is an unnatural food source for them. They have gone from swimming many miles a day to surface floating, hunting and catching birds, socially interacting with humans and even interacting and breeding with other subspecies which would never occur in the wild. If these orcas can learn to adapt to these conditions, why is it so easy for marine parks to state they could never learn to adapt to their natural state of living in the oceans? Which is it?
Many will claim “captive orcas would never survive in the wild”. The thing is Orcas have not been in captivity long enough to breed out their natural instincts. Rather they were born in captivity or not, they still have DNA encoded deep within them to ensure their survival here on Earth. SeaWorld claims to have the most extensive knowledge of orcas on the planet, yet SeaWorld does not have more knowledge and experience than Mother Nature or God or who ever you wish to give credit for creating orcas. To take such a God like stance is very arrogant on SeaWorld’s part. They do not have the ability to just magically remove certain DNA and replace it with other DNA regarding these orcas. This arrogance is displayed to the public constantly….every time they claim their orcas are “happy”, not stressed and doing very well is another one of those God like stances they take, as orcas in the wild do get stressed, they express an entire range of emotions, and sometimes do not do so well. Mother Nature, God or who ever you would like to give credit to creating orcas does not hide this from us so why does SeaWorld hide it from us?
The truth and words we share…they offer us personally nothing, except future existence of our planet for other generations to come. We have no vested interest in seeing captive orcas have better lives or more orcas being born in the wild. For every captive born orca, one orca is not born into the wild. Our time is all donated, many times we do not even personally gain credit for our work, as we do not publish using our names, our work goes unsigned. Our drive comes from inner passion and understanding that captivity can never meet the needs of many animals and they are suffering needlessly.
Seaworld…. well they do have a vested interest in keeping you “believing” their words are above God’s and natures words. They have shareholders and business partners that they have to keep happy. The dollars must continue to flow or trouble begins to trickle down. SeaWorld has to prove to the government certain things to continue to receive grant money which they use for actual conservation efforts because they have to. SeaWorld is a business and the orcas are assets.
I was raised to be leery of deceitful individuals with vested interests. I was raised to know… no good could come from these types of individuals and I am not buying it! We demand an end to captive orca and dolphin breeding TODAY and everyday forward until it ends. We support nature not captivity for orcas and dolphins.
Timeline of Keiko’s Life
Keiko was born in 1977 or 1978 in the Atlantic Ocean near Iceland. He was torn from his family at the age of 2, when he was captured by a fishing boat. Marineland in Ontario, Canada bought him in 1982 where he became a performing animal.
In 1985 Marineland sold Keiko to Reino Aventura, an amusement park in Mexico City, for $350,000. He performed for audiences for the next 14 years, while living in a pool that was made for a bottlenose dolphin. The pool was not equipped to cool it to temperatures suitable for orcas, so Keiko developed a skin disease and no other aquarium would accept him.
In 1993 Keiko, starred in the hit movie, “Free Willy” and became the center of a controversy after his fans, who were mostly children found out he was living in poor conditions in the amusement park.
The Free Willy-Keiko Foundation was founded and raised millions of dollars to relocate the orca. Meanwhile Keiko’s health began to deteriorate.
The Earth Island Institute, an advocacy group for marine wildlife started to research how to nurse Keiko back to health and return him to the wild.
In 1996 United Parcel Services (UPS) donated a plane to airlift the 7,720 pound whale to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Keiko swam in natural sea water for the first time in 14 years.
From 1996-1997 the staff worked on getting Keiko healthy and began to teach him how to hunt for live fish. Keiko gained nearly 2,000 pounds and his skin condition disappeared.
Keiko was ready by 1998 to move to a pen in the North Atlantic. On September 9, he was airlifted by the U.S. Air Force to an island near Iceland.
In early 1999 Keiko was released back into his native waters and was under the watchful eye of the Ocean Futures Society who continued his training on how to be a killer whale.
A tracking device was placed on the whale in 2000 so his caretakers could watch out for him in the open sea. Keiko was making good progress and began to interact with wild orcas.
In 2001 Keiko began spending several days in a row out in the ocean with other whales. The staff was pleased with how he physically looked when returned. It proved to them that he could compete for food with wild orcas.
By 2002 Keiko was spending weeks at a time away from his caretakers. He spent 50 days without returning to the staff for food and covered 1,000 miles.
Keiko followed a fishing boat into Norway and became a local celebrity.
December 12, 2003 The Free Willy-Keiko Foundation reported that Keiko was under the care of a veterinarian because he showed signs of lethargy. In the early evening Keiko swam to a beach where he died of acute pneumonia. Keiko was the second oldest male orca ever to have been in captivity and he died FREE!