Even before killer whales had become popularized as performance animals at marine parks, paraded in advertising campaigns, the general public seemed to prefer they remain free.
In 1961, when a crew from Marineland isolated what would be the first orca taken into captivity at Newport Harbor, California, many of the nearly 8,000 who gathered to watch were unhappy with the idea. As the frightened young killer whale, dubbed Wanda, desperately tried to elude her captors, she won the support of onlookers.
"Not everybody ashore [...] was pulling for the crewmen as they drew the net tighter around the errant Wanda. When she broke out, cheers rose from thousands lining the banks. Every time a lookout on the bowsprit missed her snout with his lasso, or broke his line, she got cheers," reported the Long Beach Independent Press Telegram the next day.
Despite the crowd's displeasure, Wanda was eventually captured. She died less than two days later.