No matter how you look at it, orcas do not belong in captivity. It has been proven that these animals experience frustration and suffer emotionally and physically when kept in tanks the size of a fish bowl. Sadly, we’ve learned this hard lesson too many times, in the form of trainers who have been injured or even killed by captive whales. In the wild, there is no recorded evidence that an orca has ever attacked a person – but the same cannot be said for captive whales.
Marine parks often claim they use these animals for “educational purposes,” in addition to providing entertainment for guests. But that “educational” element is quickly undermined when we realize that the orca behavior is so drastically changed once they are imprisoned in an unnatural environment. In the end, the only thing we learn from captive orcas is that orcas don’t belong in captivity.
That fact is wonderfully illustrated in the video above, which was posted on Charles Harmer’s Facebook page. Here we see a curious orca is in its natural habitat, free to engage with the human visitors for as long as the animal feels like. Could anyone ever see that much of an orca’s true nature and behavior in an aquarium? Doubtful.
This is truly how we should learn about marine mammals – in the wild.