If you’ve read my Blackfish post you’ll know how I feel about orcas (and dolphins) in captivity. So I was thrilled this morning when I read that SeaWorld have announced they will stop breeding captive orcas. The CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle said “Today’s announcement signals that the era of captive display of orcas will end”. Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of the hugely influential documentary Blackfish, called it a “defining moment. The fact that SeaWorld is doing away with orca breeding marks truly meaningful change”.
This announcement comes at a time when Tilikum, the orca featured in Blackfish, is dying. SeaWorld have said it’s “an infection” citing that he has become “increasingly lethargic” and his health is rapidly deteriorating. Maybe it is an infection or maybe the poor creature, usually contained in isolation, has simply given up. Captured off the coast of Iceland aged just 2 years old, he has spent 33 years in captivity. A miserable existence for an animal that would ordinarily spend their entire lives with their family pods covering thousands of miles of ocean together.
The whole thing makes me feel terribly sad.
Watch the trailer for Blackfish here