Editor's note: At the end of 2013 there were 52 orcas living in captivity around the world. Each week, 52Orcas profiles an individual orca so we can better understand his or her life history. You can see the entire project on the 52Orcas Dodo page here.
Shouka was the first orca born in captivity at Marineland of France. While living in France, Shouka's captive pod grew, and by the age of nine she was swimming with her mother and three siblings (Valentin, Inouk, and Wikie). Orcas are highly evolved social animals who form tight bonds with their families, bonds that endure their entire lives. However, at nine years old, Shouka was moved from her family and relocated to Six Flags in Ohio to live without another orca companion. As highly social animals, holding an orca in solitary confinement is illegal. Shouka's isolation outraged many activists including the organization Fins and Fluke, who fought hard to get Shouka moved. After living without another orca for 10 years, Shouka was moved to SeaWorld San Diego in 2012. It was here that she first met Corky, the oldest of SeaWorld's orcas, who welcomed Shouka to the San Diego group. Today, Shouka still lives in San Diego. She will never see her mother (now deceased) and likely her siblings again.