Social Question

mollypop51797's avatar

What do you think about Shamu, the killer whales, and the occurrence of injuries and deaths?

Asked by mollypop51797 (1425points) February 25th, 2010

I’ve been hearing a lot about Shamu, killer whales, and the people they’ve killed. It’s on tv, the internet, etc. I was wondering, do you think it’s safe for these trainers to swim with whales, that have good potential, but hurt human beings by nature and instincts? I see that Shamu is a great example for young kids when they learn about whales, or sea life. Shamu is a sweet whale, but do you think that for the future, we should still be able to swim with these “killer“whales?

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27 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Serial killer whales. Current score: Whales, 3 Humans, 0.

tinyfaery's avatar

It wasn’t Shamu who did it. And they are porpoises not whales. And they are not killers. They are wild animals that do not belong in a tank.

Buttonstc's avatar

There are parallels here to instances of elephants doing the same.

The fault lies with the humans who have taken these animals out of the wild for the amusement of other humans.

These are intelligent animals who are being cooped up in a space which to them and their size is similar to confining a person to a bathtub.

Elephants also are intelligent social animals who were not primarily designed for human amusement.

I do feel sorry for those injured and the families of the dead. But it is not the animals fault.

There was an early pilot for the first Star Trek series which showed humans who were kept in a zoo enclosure by another alien race. They certainly didn’t take to it kindly. Would you?

Too bad humanity fails to make that kind of connection with the plight of these unfortunate animals. You reap what you sow.

davidbetterman's avatar

You have to be seriously mentally impaired to play with killer whales.

dpworkin's avatar

I think it is extreme chutzpah to believe that as intelligent primates we are at the top of the hierarchy. Elephants, dolphins, whales, and some birds may have as much or more self-awareness and intelligence as humans, and there is no doubt that whales and elephants have social relationships. In fact, elephants grieve for their dead, indicating a knowledge of the finality of death.

syz's avatar

The idea that these wild animals are held in captivity as a teaching method is a fallacy. The are captured, held, and trained to make money.

What the general public does not realize is that injuries and attacks are quite common. I interviewed at Sea World at one point, but after talking to people in the field, I chose not to undertake the risk. Only the truly horrific stuff makes it into the news – much of the other incidences are kept quiet.

You cannot expect a predator that normally has a range of thousands of square miles to remain sane in a cement pool.

jca's avatar

Great Answers to @tinyfaery , @dpworkin , @syz and @Buttonstc

jbfletcherfan's avatar

In this particular incidence yesterday, I think this whale should be put away. This is the 3rd time it’s attacked, it’s 2nd death. And I heard on the news this morning that they’re definitely going to put it back in the shows. How many people is thing going to kill before it’s gone? Any sane person will not get into a tank with it!

dpworkin's avatar

@jbfletcherfan Seriously? You blame the whale?

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Well, PD, it DOES have a tainted history. Ideally, all types of these creatures should be in their natural habitat. But since that doesn’t happen, they need to be watched. If there’s a problem….........

squidcake's avatar

Animals are a great learning opportunity. That’s why I approve of zoos that rescue animals and try to mimic their natural habit. But taking an animal that’s a natural killer in the wild and teaching it tricks? That’s just asking for it.

Oh, and for those of you who are all commenting about how unfair it is for them to be contained and how small it is for them and whatnot, I DO agree, but also think about the even worse conditions in factory farms for pigs, cows, and chickens. They suffocate in their own shit. For our burgers. Think about that. If you wanna be all animal rights, include all the animals. Thanks.

bobisho's avatar

I heard that the whale had killed two people already. My stance is why didn’t they take the whale out of show after it killed the first person? the second???

MissAusten's avatar

Wild orcas have never killed a person. It’s not surprising that when you take a predator out of its natural environment (and this orca was captured when it was about two years old), it will eventually lash out. For an orca to kill a person isn’t natural behavior, but it’s not surprising. Taking an animal of that size and strength, with that much intelligence, and making it live an unnatural lifestyle is wrong. Doing to to make money is even worse. The educational value is not high enough to justify it. What do you learn about true orca behavior from going to Sea World?

The only thing I wonder about is whether or not animals such as dolphins and orcas in captivity need the intellectual stimulation provided by the trainers. In the wild, they use their skill and intelligence to survive. In captivity, maybe they need something like that as well. Not that it should be put on display, or animals captured to provide that kind of display, but if they can’t survive in the wild enriching their lives might be a good thing. I thought of this when reading “Tribe of Tiger,” where the author states she would rather see big cats in the circus, where they are active and stimulated, than lounging around in a zoo with no challenge or interest in their lives. I thought it was an interesting position to take, and she backed it up very well.

I’d rather go to an aquarium or zoo that provides as natural a habitat as possible for an animal that has been bred in captivity or has been rescued and rehabilitated but is unable to survive in the wild.

Merriment's avatar

@jbfletcherfan – the first incident involved, according to what I have read, a disturbed and suicidal man that entered the park and tank after hours. He died of hypothermia from the seriously cold water and had post mortem “wounds” on him.

In other words, the cold of the water killed the guy and the whales played with the body…which to them is no different than any other toy in their pool.

Unless that whale stood up on it’s tail fin and chased the human down the sidewalk and took a swipe at them…it is the fault of the humans who captured them, imprisoned them, and then failed to take adequate safety precautions.

ratboy's avatar

Great white sharks would provide a more exciting show.

dpworkin's avatar

We could feed Teabaggers to them.

janbb's avatar

Ah, what did the poor sharks ever do to you? (“Tastes like chicken.”)

PacificToast's avatar

We must still understand that these are wild animals that can kill. The trainers know the risk going into the field, so you can’t really blame anyone for anything. The animal is a savage, the human knows what it’s getting into.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

You know, when we set all the captive killer whales free, killer whales will stop killing trainers.
Problem solved. You can’t blame an animal for behaving the way animals do.

JeffVader's avatar

My take on it is…. If you confine potentially dangerous wild animals, what do you thinks going to happen!

mzgator's avatar

When I wanted to see Orcas and show them to my daughter, I took her to the Northwest coast of Washington, Oregon and Vancouver. We were blessed to see pods of these beautiful animals thriving in their natural habitats. It was awesome, and much better than seeing them in a tank performing shows . I do not blame the animal. He was taken out of his environment to make money for the owners of the park.

My heart goes out to the trainer’s family for their loss. It was obvious, from the footage shown on tv, that she loved these animals dearly.

PacificToast's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy The animals don’t know how to care for them selves in the wild as they’ve been pampered their entire lives, not knowing danger.

jca's avatar

This is a big topic now, just as every time a racehorse has to be put down after getting injured during a race there is an outcry. then, after a few weeks, the fuss dies down and everyone forgets about it. i think places like Seaworld should have programs to introduce the whales back to the wild, teaching them how to hunt again, like Free Willy.

syz's avatar

An additional note: a good article and a lovey photo display.

Since the 1960s, 200 killer whales have died in captivity.

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