Tag Archives: whales

Things Are Looking Up for Orcas

Two representatives from California have introduced legislation into the U.S. House of Representatives that would eventually end orca (killer whale) captivity across the nation. Known as the ORCA Act (Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement), the law would ban breeding of captive orcas, capture of wild orcas, and import or export of orcas for public display purposes.

If you support this law, you can call, write, or email (calling is easiest, and probably most effective) your representative and ask him or her to support the ORCA Act. Here is a quick, easy zipcode lookup for your congressperson.

This comes on the heels of other good news:

SeaWorld San Diego just announced that it will be ending its captive orca shows (SeaWorld San Antonio and Orlando will continue their orca shows for now). The whales will continue to be held for display, and will likely perform in a show that is more conservation-oriented, and not based on tricks. Activists would like to see the orcas released from captivity altogether. But this is a good start, indicating that Sea World is starting to bow to the public pressure against its orca shows that has increased since the release of the film Blackfish in 2013. (Thanks to Netflix for streaming it!)

I recently posted that California Coastal Commission approved an expansion of the San Diego SeaWorld’s orca tank while at the same time, banning SeaWorld from breeding its captive orcas. If this rule stands (SeaWorld has announced plans to sue the Coastal Commission), then the 11 orcas currently in captivity in San Diego will be the last.

I also posted that endangered orcas off the coast of Washington state are in the middle of a baby boom, with six newborns and, apparently, several more pregnant mamas in the group. Of course, these new babies will need to eat once they’re weaned off their mothers’ milk, so we need to make sure that their favorite fish, salmon, is abundant. A good step would be to take down four dams that are blocking some of the best inland salmon habitat in the U.S. This not a short-term goal, but since orcas can live to be 100 years old or more, we must think ahead!

Read the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article here.

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Entangled Whale Freed off California Coast

So, it took two days, but the poor humpback is free. Rescuers from the national oceans agency (NOAA) and San Diego SeaWorld finally cut away over 300 feet (!!) of fishing line, including a lobster trap, that was entangling the whale from tip to tail. There may have still been some fishing line in the whale’s mouth when it swam off, but hopefully it will be all right.

This incident is one of a growing number of whale entanglements. California fishermen are actively working with the state to come up with ways to prevent the abandonment of “orphan” fishing gear, which is usually what entangles marine mammals. Unfortunately, NOAA has had to respond to 50 whale entanglements so far this year.

If you see a marine mammal in distress, please maintain 100 yards distance, and call the NOAA Response Hotline at 1-877-SOS-WHALe (1-877-767-9425).

View the video at Huffington Post here

California bans captive breeding of SeaWorld killer whales

“The California Coastal Commission on Thursday approved a $100 million expansion of the tanks SeaWorld uses to hold killer whales in San Diego — but it banned breeding of the captive orcas that would live in them.

Animal rights activists praised the decision as a death blow to the use of killer whales at the California ocean park. . . .

Under the expansion, SeaWorld would demolish portions of a 1995 facility that included a 1.7 m gallon pool and replace it with a 5.2 m gallon tank and 450,000 gallon pool.”

Because SeaWorld can no longer obtain orcas from the wild, the 11 at SeaWorld San Diego will be the last to live in captivity there. At least they will live in a much bigger tank … but many scientists animal activists will continue to fight for their eventual release. SeaWorld has not yet announced whether it will file a legal challenge to the Coastal Commission’s new ruling.

Read The Guardian article here