Project 2 Orca Reserch Paper.docx

Project 2 Orca Reserch Paper.docx - Running Head ORCAS IN...

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Running Head: ORCAS IN CAPTIVITY 1 Orcinus orca in Captivity: An Examination of Captive Killer Whales Irvin Omar Gutierrez Wong Eastern Michigan University
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ORCAS IN CAPTIVITY 2 Abstract Orca whales are generally perceived as peaceful and entertaining animals, however since the release of the documentary Blackfish in 2013, several aspects of how Orcas in captivity are treated have been called into question. Starting with the impact that the documentary had and going on to how Orca whales were captured and maintained in captivity along with the establishment of Marine Parks like SeaWorld and how Orcas behave naturally in the wild. While in the wild Orcas are free to roam about in the ocean and briefly interact with humans, their captive counterparts are confined to their tanks and deal with a lack of stimulus and constant human interaction which has led to some attacks and breeding issues. These problems circle around the question of whether these animals should continue to be in captivity. In this paper, I would like to address some of the issues that have arisen from keeping these animals in captivity.
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ORCAS IN CAPTIVITY 3 Introduction In 2013 a documentary named Blackfish was released to the public. The subject matter of the documentary centered around the effects captivity has on Orca whales. The documentary was a critical success and opened the eyes of many people to the conditions that trained Orcas face as well as some of the results that come from holding these animals in captivity. Since the release of the documentary a large amount of controversy has been focused on the treatment of large marine animals in captivity and weather it is still ethical to keep them in marine parks. Most of the controversy that was brought in by the documentary focuses on SeaWorld as the Orcas in the documentary were located or owned by Sea World. The Orcas that are kept in captivity are kept in large tanks for the public to view and are also made to preform for the entertainment of people who visit a park. Orcas In the wild tend to swim several miles a day and hunt in groups, this allows for a complex social structure among the animals. These groups have evolved in specific structures and behave very differently from each other, however this does not pose much of an issue as in the wild there is an abundance of space for both groups to coexist. Though these structures have had to adapt to human interaction and are often disrupted when humans capture or kill Orcas. While studies on Orcus have been ongoing for several years, the recent draw in attention from Blackfish has garnered more interest in the conditions of killer whales which in turn has encouraged more studies to be done on killer whales in captivity. Though the size of the tanks and the fact that the animals are confined to them is a pressing issue, the phycological toll and some of the practices used in marine parks pose more issues. The documentary Blackfish attributes simply being in captivity leads to aggressive whale behavior, however, there are several factors may contribute to whale aggression.
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