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Brownies support whales and dolphins

07 February 2018

'Talking' Orca Not Such Great News

 An orca called ‘Wikie’ held in captivity in France has apparently been trained to speak according to scientists.  She has been recorded saying ‘Hello,’ ‘one, two, three,’ and other words and phrases, after copying trainers saying the words directly or in voice recordings.

Orcas, bottlenose dolphins and belugas are all species that vocalize, with individuals capable of learning and adapting a variety of sounds.  Some communities of orcas even have their own ‘dialects’, or variations of a more widely used ‘language.’

Orca in captivity

Whilst this study does highlight how intelligent orcas are, it does not add anything at all to our understanding of wild orcas or how to protect them.  The truth is that we can learn so much more about orcas by studying them responsibly in the wild.

Cathy Williamson leads our WDC campaign to end captivity, she said: ‘Orcas should not be kept in tanks for study or any other purpose. They belong in the wild.  Wild orcas live rich and varied lives, with complex communication between individuals and groups. Teaching them to copy human words only demonstrates how intelligent they are and how unsuited to confinement in captivity they are.”

What do you think Wikie might say if she was able to let us know how she feels about being confined to a small tank for the rest of her life?

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