But SeaWorld's survival rate has been changing - the quality of care is better now than it was several decades ago, for example - and some of the age groups have different ASRs. Rose also said that the company "cherry-picked" data from the last 15 years to calculate the average longevity, which didn't help. The resulting average life spans are simply invalid, she added.
SeaWorld used several wild populations including the southern residents, an endangered group of orcas living off the coast of Washington state, to calculate wild life spans. But the southern resident population is hardly stable, and the ASRs of the other wild populations have been changing as well. So the calculations the use in the paper are totally off.
And on the basis of those calculations, the paper looks to revise the estimated life span down to 60 to 70 years for wild female orcas and 50 to 60 years for males, claiming that 97 percent of orcas don't survive to age 50 in the ocean.
But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the average, not maximum, life expectancy of a female orca is 50 years, with a maximum longevity of up to 100 years.