Opinions on marine mammals in captivity.

Discussion in 'The Fire Hydrant' started by Barbara!, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Barbara!

    Barbara! New Member

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    So...

    What's your stance on animals like dolphins, killer whales, beluga whales, any kind of whale, being kept in captivity? Specifically parks, zoos, aquariums... That sort of thing. Feel free to be more broad in your answer, doesn't matter to me. Would just like to get a scope of the feelings towards that around here.

    Of course I personally don't agree with the whole PETA stance on it that they are "enslaving" these animals, however I do think keeping a 20 foot animal in a 100 foot tank is wrong, no matter how you turn it. I think I would feel better about it if they had better living accommodations for these animals.. Like roped off or gated off bays or just something much bigger than what they are provided with. And I do believe that in situations where the animal becomes too old or too violent to be properly worked with (Like in the case of Tilikum the killer whale, possibly) they should be "retired" to a bigger, final retirement home. Or even considered for release, like they did with Keiko.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

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    I'm fine with it as long as they are given the best care and facilities humanly possible and lots of mental and social stimulation. I think that it is good for the conservation of these animals for people to see them up close. Human nature being what it is, it's much easier to care for and be concerned about the fate of a species that is right there in front of you in real life than one that you read about or seen on TV.
     
  3. ruffiangirl

    ruffiangirl New Member

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    One has to remember that very very few, if any of the current whales in captivity are wild caught, meaning chances are they wouldn't even know how to hunt, and would likely die a slow death.

    Unless those 18 belugas they were talking about a few months ago ended up being transported into the USA, but I honestly never heard, perhaps I should google lol.

    I agree as long as they are properly stimulated.

    I do not agree with breeding of white tigers/lions however.
     
  4. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    In theory I don't think it's cruel.

    ...but I've never seen a set up I think is humane.
     
  5. Barbara!

    Barbara! New Member

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    I know Tilikum was wild caught, and so was Keiko, and the release of Keiko was successful. He died, but it was due in large opinion to old age. He was successfully feeding and interacting with wild orcas and was even apart of a pod.


    I guess my thing is, that IMO, they are NOT being properly stimulated. They are acting out aggressively due to their under stimulation. Wild orcas have never been documents hurting or attacking humans, even when they swim with them. There are many many documented attacks on humans by captive orcas.

    I agree with this.
     
  6. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    I don't particularly like it. At all. Most of them seem to be kept in nothing more than a swimming pool.

    I feel the same about most elephant enclosures. They're pitiful.


    There's a place here, where the elephants get "walked" over acres of land every day, every weather. That eases my feelings somewhat. But most of the other enclosures are terrible, even the new and improved ones.


    When you consider how far these animal roam (whales, elephants etc) in the wild, and how civilised and intelligently they live, it makes me feel so bad for the ones in tiny homes...


    And no amount of providing them with toys and a daily performance can make me feel better about it.


    I'd be much happier if they were given a better environment to live in. Really really thought about, size and money not spared.
     
  7. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Living in the PNW, I've had lots of chances to see captive and wild marine mammals. I've never seen a humane enclosure for pinnipeds. In theory, I wouldn't mind as much if the animal was captive bred but I do not support the capture of wild ones to be put in swimming pools. And I don't support captive breeding of the ones we have. I think people should devote the resources to letting them live out their natural lives as humanely as possible and call it quits.

    Just... once you've seen them in person, hunting in pods, how intelligent they are and how they interact and LIVE, I can't picture any captive situation that comes remotely close. Because even if you manage to give them a huge bay or something, they're still lacking that social aspect and it's such a huge part of their mental health. As much as it is for humans, maybe more. Their families are immensely important to them and they're very clannish.

    One of my friends was the captain of a whale watching boat, so he took me out on a few cruises. He was very good at predicting where they were headed, and would park the boat way ahead in their path and cut the engine. Part of it was the orcas recognized the ship and would veer toward it to say hi (hey look honey! It's The Odyssey! Wanna go human watching today?).

    Anyway, one time I was standing on the bottom deck. The floor of the deck was level with the surface of the water, and there was a three and a half foot rail. So it's kind of like standing on the water. And it's not a big ship so when everyone rushes to one side of it to see the whales it kind of dips in an alarming way... lol. The whales were swimming past the ship at full blast (about 21 knots). Some went under, some went around.

    This one huge male bee-lined straight at me. Ho. Ly. Crap. You see them in pictures and even at the aquarium and in your head you know they're big animals. But until you have a several thousand pound wild whale leap within 5 feet of your face at top speed with it's mouth gaping wide, and you see down the huge hole of his gullet, the hundreds of several inch long pointed teeth all crowded together, and realize that even if you spread your arms as wide as you can he could still swallow you whole... well. Yeah. I was this close to peeing my pants for reals.

    He dove under three feet away from the railing. I could have reached out and slapped him. It still gives me chills thinking of it.
     
  8. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    THIS.

    By no means do I think places like sea world are evil monstrous places out to enslave these animals.. but I strongly believe, with the money they bring in, larger enclosures should be the norm with these animals.

    I also accept that first and foremost, sea world and similar parks..are BUSINESSES. Looking to bring in money. And that's why I don't support them.

    As I think Romy said, I understand them to be a necessary evil. They help with conservation (by people seeing them), they breed in captivity, and they are NO LONGER taken from the wild.

    but the minimum standards for their care needs to be raised.

    Doing the same shows 3 time a day is not mental stimulation.
    Sea world has taken STRIDES.. but still, more needs to be done IMO

    Frankly, it breaks my heart to see whales in captivity, more-so than dolphins, purely because of the space issue. Dolphins seem to do ok in their captive pods, people to play with etc..
    Whales.. not so much, they need SPACE

    Either way, it is not an industry I support. I much prefer to appreciate animals in the wild (or on TV in the wild)
     
  9. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    Just to add, we learn very little about them in captivity too. Its so far removed from their natural habitat we don't see the true animal. Sure you can set up tests etc, but we have the technology to follow these animals in the wild so much better now.

    It is sort of pointless.
     
  10. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Yes. In theory I don't object to it, but even as things stand now where facilities are inadequate I think it's a necessary "evil" that makes people care about what happens to these animals in the wild.

    I was watching a documentary on Denali National Park last night, and supposedly the guy who campaigned heavily for it to become a national park did so largely because he was SO enamored of one particular animal that lives there (Dall's Sheep). So stuff like that, while it might seem petty, matters a lot in the larger conservation picture IMO.
     
  11. Airn

    Airn New Member

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    After watching The Cove, no, I'm not really cool with marine parks.

    But like everyone else said, it's nice to see them so close and it's not the worst thing that happens.
     
  12. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    It depends. With animals like dolphins, belugas, sea lions...I don't think it's impossible for them to be kept properly in captivity. In fact, I think it's probably done with some frequency, around the world. Just like a large, high energy dog breed can be properly kept in an apartment or house with a small yard, if they have the proper stimulation.

    I certainly don't think every marine park does this. For example, Seaworld Orlando...I actually went to camp there as a teenager, and worked, and got to see some of things done to stimulate and exercise them that the public might not see. I think they do a pretty good job, but I sort of think they have too many dolphins for the exhibit and the amount of trainers and caretakers they have.

    The orcas are a whole different story. No matter how much time they devote to training....the enclosure isn't big enough. You can't "walk" an orca. They don't seem happy to me. I've never seen a wild orca, but in the videos I've seen, they are way more active and playful and frolicky than the orcas at seaworld, who reminds me of caged zoo animals pacing (or swimming) back and forth.

    It doesn't bother me enough to boycott the park, because I do think they do a lot of good conservation work, educating the public, and bringing awareness to issues marine animals face.

    Basically, I think it's completely situational. I don't believe marine animals can't be kept properly in captivity, but like with any animals, they ARE kept improperly, and I don't think it's particularly easy to build a habitat or maintain the level of care they need.
     
  13. Barbara!

    Barbara! New Member

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    Definitely. Who even regulates that?

    This is the tank that Tilikum (on the right) spends most of his time in... I mean, c'mon.


    http://i.imgur.com/FG0SwoN.png
     
  14. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    zoos/aquariums CAN be certified by the AZA (assoc. of zoos and aquariums) which have their own set of rules/regulations in place.

    But the main group responsible is the USDA.

    This is Lolita's tank @ Miami seaquarium. No other orcas, just two dolphins as friends and that tank is BEYOND tiny. It's sad :(
    [​IMG]
     
  15. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

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    Proportionally it is recommended that fish be kept in larger tanks than that....
     
  16. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    She is one of the oldest living orcas in captivity and have been performing the longest. Which makes the whole situation even more depressing.
    They also JUST BUILT a new couple of million dollar swim with the dolphin enclosure.
     
  17. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    That is beyond depressing. It's heartbreaking. :(
     
  18. Barbara!

    Barbara! New Member

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    That's the reality of these captive animals. ):
     
  19. Barbara!

    Barbara! New Member

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    After a good bit more research, I have decided that I am 100% against cetacean captivity unless for conservation purposes. It's truly awful what SeaWorld and other organizations are doing to these animals.
     
  20. Oko

    Oko Silence, peasants.

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    I'm really disgusted by a lot of what goes on, and I do not think it is right to keep them in captivity. I did enjoy reading Karen Pryor's book 'Lads before the Wind', at least she was honest about how often they get ill and die, and how they weren't really happy in captivity. They did their shows to fund the research her husband was doing, and it was way back when. Just makes me sad, really.
     

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