Target: National Marine Fisheries Service
Goal: Improve protection and treatment of orcas in captivity
Keeping orcas, AKA “killer whales,” in captivity is a controversial issue. At times, orcas are kept in captivity for protection, as they are threatened in some locations. Other times they are kept in exhibits for entertainment purposes, their man-made environments having little in common with their natural habitat. Either way, the treatment and protection of these creatures is often inadequate.
Even famous orcas experience maltreatment in captivity. Lolita, an orca from the Miami Seaquarium, has spent over forty years in a concrete tank in complete isolation. Orcas are very social creatures, and the effects of this isolation have certainly taken a psychological toll on Lolita. On top of that, she continues to be used for entertainment purposes underneath the scorching Miami sun without adequate shelter and protection. Shamu – the original one – experienced similar circumstances at Sea World, and the stress ended his life after only a short six years in captivity.
In the wild, orcas form “pods,” which are similar to human families and social circles. Orcas taken into captivity are often ripped away from their pods and kept in isolation. Orca’s also have very sensitive hearing, and unnatural sounds such as human voices, cleaning equipment, and water pumps cause anxiety. Tanks are also smaller than their natural environment, limiting mobility and the ability to swim freely.
These beautiful creatures deserve respect. If humanity is going to continue to keep orcas in captivity, then their environment must be made more similar to that of their natural habitat. Please write to the National Marine Fisheries Service demanding improvements in protection and treatment of orcas in captivity.
Dear National Marine Fisheries Service,
Orcas kept in captivity are not treated as respectfully as they deserve. These man-made environments seldom resemble anything similar to what they would naturally experience in the wild. If orcas are going to be continued to be kept in captivity, laws and guidelines must be improved and enforced.
When being brought into captivity, orcas are often taken away from their pods, leaving them lonely and isolated. The tanks they are kept in are often far too small for optimal movement, and the unnatural sounds and stimuli cause great distress. Each of these factors contribute to significantly shorter lifespans, which is counterproductive to orcas kept in captivity for protection.
If you enforce animal welfare and protection more strictly, and improve man-made habitats for orcas, they will lead much longer and happier lives. Fixing the flaws in these habitats will not be difficult to do and will make a huge difference. I ask that you please improve protection and treatment of orcas in captivity.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Terabyte via de.wikipedia