Killer whales have been kept in Captivity since 1961. They have been separated from their families; helpless and disarmed, they have no idea what is going on. One minute they are happily swimming freely in the wide open ocean, going wherever the seas take them. Next to them swim a calf, barley one year old. Suddenly a scream fills the tranquil ocean and the calf is entangled in a strong piece of netting. It squirms and struggles to get out. Its mother is calling for help, trying to untangle her baby, but she can’t for she is weak and tired. The calf is heaved upwards and into the world of sun. Everything goes black.
The calf is called Tilikum; he is kept in SeaWorld – Florida, Orlando. He is kept in an enclosure that is too small for him, and in the shows, which are held three times a day, he has to put up with people standing on his fin which is now bent.
Tilikum spends night after night in a tiny enclosure with 3 other orcas, having to endure 14 hours of this daunting experience. When Tilikum did not perform a trick correctly, he did not get any food. His fellow tankers did not get any either and started to bite Tilikum and rake their teeth against his body.
On 21st February 1991, a diver fell into the pool containing the three orcas. They were not getting fed properly and stress levels were very high, Tilikum dragged her down into the pool and she drowned. In 2010 a diver named Dawn was found dead in Tillikum’s enclosure. Killer whales are very dangerous and should not be messed around with. Tilikum was then put into a minute cage, just big enough for him. He is often found floating above the water. After a year of isolation Tilikum returned to performing, forced to endure the same cruelty as before.
There are even more orcas in danger because of this and we need to stop it. Would you like to be laughed and ridden on for 12 hours a day? Would you like to have endless days without food? Would you like to be stuck in an enclosure not even big enough for you to breathe in?
No? Then we need to put a stop to this.
By Sameera Patel 7R