Yesterday, news channels aired the story concerning the unfortunate and tragic event at Sea World in Orlando, FL. A 40 year old, female trainer was killed by a bull killer whale during a performance. She was apparently taken off her platform by the whale and shaken to death. This particular whale has been linked to other deaths according to reports. There was a student who slipped and fell in the pool with the whale and there was a gatecrasher who tried to swim with the whale, both resulting in death.
In the hours after the trainer’s death, animal rights groups are already blaming organizations like SeaWorld for keeping animals in pools and requiring them to perform. These killer whales are obviously huge animals, and cannot be forced to perform. They perform because of the reinforcement they receive for doing so. Although animal rights groups disapprove of shows like the ones at SeaWorld, there is no doubt that these magnificent animals have helped educate millions of people. They have even helped to promote a greater concern for their wild cousins.
Dr. Scott Weber at UC Davis shared the following information about killer whales. The whales are the largest members of the dolphin animals with adult males nearly 6-10 meters in length and weighing up to 10 tons. The females are slightly smaller averaging 5-7 meters and can weigh over 7 tons. Their life spans can be similar to humans in the wild. They are toothed whales which have a wide variety of prey items that may include fish (schooling species, sharks, and rays), invertebrates, sea birds, and other marine mammals including other whales, walrus, sea lions, seals, and sea otters, making them one of the most formidable predators of the sea next to humans.