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New Report Confirms Harmful Effects of Captivity on Orcas

New Report Confirms Harmful Effects of Captivity on Orcas

The devastating impacts of captivity on orcas have been published in a recent report which will serve as an indispensable tool to help end orca confinement and exploitation. This comprehensive report compares empirical data gathered from both wild and captive orcas to demonstrate the detrimental effects of captivity on this complex, intelligent species.

The Harmful Effects of Captivity and Chronic Stress on the Well-being of Orcas was authored by prominent researchers including Lori Marino, Naomi Rose, and Ingrid Visser. This report covers a breadth of information regarding orca whales, who are known to have complex needs due to their “evolutionary history, brain anatomy, physiology and cognitive-behavioral characteristics.” The data includes patterns of morbidity and mortality of orcas in captivity which support the argument that their complex needs are not met in confinement, and indisputably asserts that captivity simply doesn’t work for this species.

The report is jam-packed with data illustrating the harsh reality orcas face in captivity, including the impact on their immune system, dental health, and behavior. The authors expand upon this by describing how life in a tank can cause chronic stress, which influences all aspects of their lives. The authors review the social stress that captivity causes, along with the stress of confinement, sensory deprivation, lack of control, and boredom. Abundant evidence is utilized to argue that morbidity and mortality of orcas in captivity is likely to be caused by these stressors. 

With the extensive empirical evidence covered in this report, it’s undeniable that a life in captivity is unsuitable for orcas. So, what’s next? 

Although the orca captivity industry may be growing in some places of the world, it is showing signs of decline in North America. There have been two significant victories recently, with Canada banning cetacean captivity and a major travel agency ending sales to SeaWorld. However, the industry persists due to companies like SeaWorld continuing to hold many orcas captive. To end this cruel industry, plans to create a seaside sanctuary for those currently held in captivity must be fostered and supported, and all breeding and captures need to end around the world. 

Due to the hard work of these authors, we now have irrefutable evidence contained within one report that will be extremely difficult for SeaWorld or any other pro-captivity corporations to challenge. This pivotal tool will aid in advocacy efforts to end captivity, once and for all.  

See the latest captive orca and dolphin news and take action here.

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