13 min read

Why the birth of Kalia's calf is not good news for Seaworld

UT San Diego today reported the birth of a new orca at Seaworld Well Kalia the hybrid has given birth to yet another hybrid, in a dysfunctional family.

The hybrid lineage goes from her father Keet. Her mother is Kasatka who is Icelandic wild caught, and father Keet who is the son of Kalina who was hybrid and Kotar who was Icelandic. Kalina's mother is Katina who is Icelandic and Winston who was a Southern Resident who is described as one of the most aggressive orcas in captivity. But once again Seaworld don't care and breed an orca with an attack history regardless.

You then have to add in the fact that Kalia is 10 meaning she was pregnant aged 8 and a half does it bother Seaworld that wild orcas are usually pregnant in their late teens, not at 8, not a bit. Babies bring in money and that is their focus not those orcas.

If Seaworld wasn't managing their own stud book, would hybrids be allowed? The answer is - definitely not as they have no conservation value what so ever and will never be allowed into the open ocean for fear of contaminating the wild orca population who have not cross bred for over 10000 years.

These orcas should never be put in that position as no reputable organization would deliberately breed hybrids. This poor baby, will never surf a wave, will never swim in the kelp, it will never rub on the stones or chase the herring fleet like grandma did when she was a calf. Unless we do something about it, this baby will NEVER ever see a live fish even though it is the oceans apex predator and that is a disgrace.

Although it will never be allowed back to the open ocean it could still experience the ocean from a netted bay, which would be a much better option than allowing it to think that sitting at the side of a tank with your toothless mouth open begging for fish is normal killer whale behaviour.

Seaworld need to do right by those orcas, science has moved on and left them standing and they need to catch up really quickly as the public are aware of what is wrong in those tanks and it will only get worse unless they do something about it soon.

This report shows In February 1984, there was a workshop on "Animals on Display: Educational and Scientific Impact" held at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. In it, the AAZPA's Ethics and Law Working Group considered the ethics of keeping animals in captivity. The group, which included representatives from marine parks and Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute they agreed amongst other thingsto display animals under conditions that, so far as possible, allow them to behave naturally. That still hasn't happened.

In the 1983 conference it was decided"Efforts should be made to bring to an end, in due course, the keeping of cetaceans in captivity."

In July 1990 the Symposium decided "Whales and dolphins are self-aware beings that routinely make decisions and choices about the details of their lives. They are entitled to freedom of choice. Thus, they are entitled to freedom. Imprisoning them in captivity is, quite simply, wrong."

1985 Critics argue that oceanaria exploit cetacea primarily for profit and that this is morally indefensible because it causes suffering to cetacea who, as intelligent and complex beings, are entitled to greater consideration by humans Philosophers Dale Jamieson and Tom Regan argue that, although scientific study may have many benefits which will accrue to cetacea themselves, the morality of these benefits depends "on the means used to secure them. And no benefits are morally to be allowed if they are obtained at the price of violating individual rights."

The Australian Senate Committee concluded "The fact that cetacea undergo some suffering in captivity is not, of itself, an overriding factor in determining whether cetacea should be held in captivity. The committee noted that empirical data has shown that cetaceans suffer varying degress of stress and trauma during capture and captivity. But, after weighing all the evidence, the committee concluded that cetaceans should "not be subjected to the possibility of deprivation or suffering which conditions and quality of life in captivity might occasion."

Perhaps the clearest explanation of the ethical arguments is given by Victor B. Scheffer, former US federal biologist and chairman of the Marine Mammal Commission. In trying to understand both sides of the issue, he has explored the sentiments people have about animals in general and whales in particular, and has written perceptively about it in his many articles and books:"At the core of humaneness," he wrote in the final chapter of Marine Mammals of Eastern North Pacific and Arctic Waters, "is the idea of kind-ness, or the idea that we and the other animals are basically of one kind." To Scheffer, the key is that we are all "part of the living animal world ... caught up together in a sort of spiritual biomass" and therefore "we have the right to insist not only that animals be spared distress (pain and fear) but that they be used in ways acceptable to large numbers of thoughtful men and women." A useful marine mammal, they say, is one out there somewhere in the wild - free, alive, hidden, breathing, perpetuating its ancient bloodline.

"In the long run," says Paul Spong in a recent article in Whalewatcher, "the whales will only be truly saved when we humans no longer regard them as resources to be exploited and 'managed', but rather as fellow creatures - self-organized social animals with clear rights that we acknowledge, grant, and protect. Paramount among these rights should be those that address issues of habitat protection and freedom."Part of that freedom is freedom from captivity.

We must intensify non-invasive research programmes and, at the same time, fight against those who would distort scientific information or use it, for example, to exploit whales. We need the scientific background to know when whale populations are in trouble and what might be done to help them.

Humans, despite a poor record of respecting the rights of other humans, as well as whales in general, or orcas in particular, are now in the position of helping or hurting all life on Earth. The question may well become: Can humans be good managers without assuming the traditional role of exploiter?

The Captive Industry have been aware of all these conferences and meetings for a long long time. The UK stopped the display of captive cetaceans in 1993, only the USA, France, Japan, Canada and Argentina continued with holding captive orcas. The rest of the world listened to the science and stopped it, it is time for those 5 countries to catch up.

Don't buy a ticket and sentence this baby to a life of begging and swimming in circles, let it be free of the tank whilst the head of the matraline is still there and has some wild knowledge. If it was free it would get to meet auntie Takara, uncle Keto, it would meet cousins Kohana, Trua, Sakari and Kamea and second cousin Adan. As it is now it will never meet them as Seaworld broke up that matraline despite saying they respect the bond and it will swim round in circles until it goes the way of all the other captives, leaving on the back of a flat bed truck.

When you see these animals in captivity, instead of asking what you get from them, ask what does that orca gain from your visit? What do you give that orca that it wouldn't have if you didn't go?

When you have answered those questions then you will know that if you loved them it would be a 2 way mutual benefit, not one just for yourself.