For your entertainment: The brutal truth behind killer whale capture

Puget Sound Captures 4 Puget Sound Captures 3 Puget Sound Captures 2 Puget Sound Captures 1

These are stills of footage from the capture of 7 killer whale calves from L-25 pod in 1970 at Penn Cove in Puget Sound, Washington US. The pod of over 80 killer whales were chased and herded for hours before being netted to separate the juveniles for live capture.

This venture resulted the death of 4 calves and 1 adult female as she drowned in the nets trying to reach her baby. As the calves were held in netted pens, destined for a life of captivity, the rest of their pod were released, but waited for hours nearby, crying in distress. As their babies were lifted from the water, the calls stopped and the pod swam back out to sea. Although an area they frequently visited, they have not returned to the cove since then, that was 43 years ago.

Remember that although SeaWorld are desperately trying (and failing) to develop a captive breeding programme, killer whales are still being taken from the wild in Russia through methods not dissimilar to what you have seen in this video. They will be torn away from their families, destined for a life of stress and torment in aquariums around the world for our “entertainment”.

I think the image of that lassoed baby whale will haunt me forever.

Wild disabled killer whale cared for by its pod

Disabled killer whale

Photo: Rainer Schimpf
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

In anticipation of the killer whale feature on Dolphins – Spy in the Pod tonight on BBC1, I thought I’d share this with you.

This juvenile killer whale is disabled. He is missing his right pectoral fin and half of his dorsal fin meaning he has difficulty in swimming at times and is unable to hunt. But he’s well looked after by the rest of his pod, who hunt on his behalf, share food and assist him in reaching the surface to breathe when he has difficulty :’)

The majority of other mammals living in family groups would instinctively see a disabled individual as an unsustainable burden that would be unable to contribute to the continuation of the species. But not killer whales, of course.

I have loved these animals since I was a little girl, but they still never cease to entirely amaze me. They, quite simply, do not belong in captivity.