Shut Down SeaWorld



by Lynn Dang

She was forty when SeaWorld killed her. Dawn Brancheau took blunt force trauma to the head, neck, and torso before drowning. The SeaWorld trainer died doing what she loved, which was interacting with orcas. Killer whale Tilikum attacked her.

Opened in 1964, theme park and entertainment company Seaworld has three locations: Orlando, Florida; San Diego, California; San Antonio, Texas. SeaWorld’s most popular attractions include their orca shows, including “One Ocean” and “Blue Horizons.” Once an orca belongs to SeaWorld, it stays there for the rest of its life.

SeaWorld should be shut down for its mistreatment of orcas.

Killer whales, who swim up to 100 miles a day in the ocean, are confined to pools which are 40 feet deep at the maximum. Not only are they trapped in what would seem like a bathtub to humans, but they are trapped with several other orcas.

Orcas are forcibly bred, often with their own family members. Then, SeaWorld transports baby orcas to other parks, often too soon to be away from its mother.

Born September 25, 1985 at SeaWorld Orlando, Kalina was the original baby Shamu. According to British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Kalina was moved in 1990 to SeaWorld Ohio for 10 months, SeaWorld San Diego for 8 months, then SeaWorld San Antonio.

Kalina’s mom, Katina, was never a very vocal whale according to former SeaWorld trainer Samantha
Berg. After Kalina was taken away, Katina stayed in the corner of a pool, shaking, screeching, and crying. “There was nothing that you could call that, watching it, besides grief,” said Berg.

In 1994, Kalina returned to SeaWorld Orlando. After such a long absence, her mother ignored her for the rest of her life.

Captivity is detrimental to orcas’ healths. According to PETA, less than 1% of orcas in the wild have collapsed dorsal fins. A collapsed dorsal fin is a sign of depression, illness, injury, or dehydration. In SeaWorld, 100% of captive male Orcas have a collapsed dorsal fin.

Orcas are captured from the oceans and thrown together in a pool. Though all have that signature black and white pattern, they are not all the same. Neuroscientist Lori Marino discovered that orcas are highly emotional due to an extra part of their brain that even humans do not have. An orca’s sense of self is distributed among the individuals in their group.

A pod of killer whales in the ocean is a family. A world-wide assemblage of whales in a pool is not a family. Captive orcas at SeaWorld have different behaviors and vocalizations. They may not be able to even communicate with each other.

According to neuroscientist Lori Marino, existing violence in captivity would never be seen in the wild. A captive environment is filled with hyper-aggression because the orcas are from different places.

Killer whale aggression affects to the trainers of SeaWorld, too. Decades back, there have been numerous attacks and many deaths according to Blackfish, a documentary featuring multiple former SeaWorld trainers, autopsies, and court cases. The distress and frustration of killer whales is obvious, but SeaWorld has covered it up every time.

Though eyewitnesses saw Tilikum grab Dawn’s arm, SeaWorld reported that Tilikum grabbed Dawn’s ponytail, implying that she was responsible for her own death.

Dawn’s autopsy reveals marks on her left upper back and left upper arm.
Change these intelligent creatures’ lives. Boycott SeaWorld and fill out PETA’s action alert to tell SeaWorld you want them to release its animals to seaside sanctuaries.