Killer Whales: Turns out, Aptly Named

Killer Whales: Turns out, Aptly Named

I'm sure most of us have already heard about the Killer Whale attack on the trainer in Florida. She was pulled in and apparently drowned, or possibly mauled to death. It was show time and families were watching, which makes it especially tragic.

I watched our local news and they went to the former Sea World park in Vallejo, CA, now run by Six Flags. They also have a Killer Whale named Shouka. I assume Shouka lives alone. People were outside saying stuff like "I hope they tighten up their precautions so it doesn't happen again."

Well, considering these whales are like prisoners being held in a sensory deprivation chamber and are isolated from their natural social structure of a pod, it's little surprise the whale is a touch irritable. The whale in question has already been involved in two other fatal incidents. One a three-whale attack on a trainer and another when someone apparently snuck into his tank and maybe tried to swim with him? Whatever, he ended up dead too.

CNN said it best, "(this killer whale) is a breeding male and is worth millions."

Factor in gate sales at the park...

I'm not sure if my point is that more precautions cannot stop this and that is always what Americans want, more restrictions. A lady climbs into a pool with a two-ton whale with a mouth full of teeth and expects it to work out every time, even working near a pool. More restrictions will never take the 'wild' out of nature. Didn't anyone see Jurassic Park? Nature will not be contained. Sadly, this trainer, who in all likelyhood understood her risks, paid with her life.

A more extreme point, yet valid, could be that the holding of whales in pools in small groups or even alone is not healthy for the whales and could be considered cruelty, and is obviously dangerous to trainers. Add in coercion through food source manipulation to do parlor tricks day after day and I understand if you have one pissed off Orca. And who knows, he might not even have meant her any harm, he is only 2000 percent bigger than her, maybe he was playing or got carried away.

Sometimes I ramble, but I think humans, and especially Americans, still view animals as brainless beasts and they are therefore at our disposal. Orcas are highly social family animals and their mental health depends on intra-species relationships. Imagine spending your entire life in a four-bedroom house with a guy named Steve and a bunch of bossy elves who give you fish when you flush the toilet for company. Exactly.