October 8th, 2010 by Webmaster
We are saddened to report that yet another orca died prematurely this past week in a SeaWorld tank. Kalina was only 25 years old when she died. She was forced to live her entire existence in an understatedly artificial environment, crammed into a chlorinated swimming pool with other suffering orcas.
Kalina’s life is a tragedy, riddled with unnatural circumstances. She was conceived and born in a tank. She was impregnated at an extremely unnatural and young age (six years old) and gave birth to her first calf at the premature age of seven. Before her untimely death, she had been forced to give birth four times and may have even been pregnant at the time of her death. In the wild, females mature around 15 years of age and then give birth to approximately five calves every five years until they reach menopause, at around 40 years old. Female orcas can live up to 80-90 years in the wild.
One of Kalina’s offspring, Keto, is another orca whose unremittingly bleak life in captivity has caused the most terrible ending. In December, 2009, Keto killed his trainer at Loro Parque in the Canary Islands. During a rehearsal, Keto landed on his experienced trainer and pushed him around underwater for several minutes.
Until the necropsy report is released, SeaWorld is billing Kalina’s death as unexpected, yet the scientific community recognizes that the timing of her passing falls within the norm for orcas in captivity. SeaWorld in particular has an appalling premature death rate— most orcas there die before they reach 20. This year alone, the public display of orcas at SeaWorld has caused four deaths in the last four months. (The fourth was Taima’s stillborn calf.) In addition to the orca deaths, two people have been killed in less than a year as a result of SeaWorld’s unspeakable greed to breed more orcas.
While the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) continues to process public comments received this year concerning permit regulations for public display of marine mammals, we are continuing our work to finally end the cruel confinement and exploitation. What could be more obvious in understanding that orcas don’t belong in swimming pools when their home ranges in the wild have been documented to fall within 200-810 miles? Or that the trauma associated with moving orcas all over the country, even to other countries, is a violation of their intrinsic need to maintain multi-generational family bonds?
Please stay tuned for IDA updates on how we can prevent the imprisonment of orcas and other marine mammals in the U.S. There is certainly hope—the UK is one country where marine mammals are no longer on public display.