Orcas in captivity – the tragic story
Orcas or killer whales are held in captivity in 11 different dolphinaria or public display facilities in seven countries across the world. 42 (May 2011) of these unfortunate animals survive in these places, performing tricks for tourists, often in the name of conservation or education.
But the reality for these animals has very little to do with conservation or education. Twelve orcas were captured from the wild, taken from their families in the waters of the Pacific Northwest, Iceland, Argentina and Japan. They are the survivors of the 136 orcas taken into captivity from the wild since 1961. A thirteenth orca, Morgan, now also resides in captivity, following her rescue from the Wadden Sea in June. Twenty-eight others were born in captivity. Whether wild-caught or captive-born, these animals suffer significantly reduced life expectancy in captivity. They also suffer from stress, disease, aggression and behavioural problems.