SeaWorld Orlando loses another orca

Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2010 1:13 PM | Contributed by Jeff

SeaWorld officials report that Kalina, a 25-year-old killer whale at the Orlando theme park, died Monday, Oct. 4, after a sudden illness.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010 1:22 PM

Damn...regardless of the circumstances, the frequency of these deaths can't be good publicity for Sea World. That's the third one (chain-wide) in four months. I hate to say it, but it helps fuel the argument against animal captivity.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010 2:38 PM

Are these orcas dying prematurely or in unnatural ways? I mean, they're going to die eventually wherever they are and quite possibly due to similar ailments they face in the park.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010 3:31 PM

Since in the wild they can live 30[m]-60[f] years on average, I would say that yes, they are dying prematurely.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010 4:14 PM

We also don't know why, and there's some argument to be made that these animals born in captivity are already different in some way.

And look at Free Willy freaks in the comments.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010 4:26 PM

Juggalotus said:
Since in the wild they can live 30[m]-60[f] years on average, I would say that yes, they are dying prematurely.[/f][/m]

Unless, of course, a few end up living to 70 or 80 and the average holds true.

(that's meant to be truth delivered playfully, but both the smiley and winky seem wrong for some reason)

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010 8:17 PM

I see the idiots are already out in full force in the article comments...

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 12:28 AM

pkidelirium basically said:
I see the vocal idiots who have nothing better to do but vehemently air their uninformed opinions on issues totally unrelated to their lives are, as expected, out in force doing exactly that...

*fixed that for ya

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 8:17 AM

Lord Gonchar said:

Juggalotus said:
Since in the wild they can live 30[m]-60[f] years on average, I would say that yes, they are dying prematurely.[/f][/m]

Unless, of course, a few end up living to 70 or 80 and the average holds true.

(that's meant to be truth delivered playfully, but both the smiley and winky seem wrong for some reason)

True, except that none of them seem to want to take a run (swim?) at evening out the average.

But, I guess since most of those currently in captivity were born there within the last 25 years, we've got a few years to go to see if they make average.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 9:02 AM

With regard to some of the article's readers commentary...

You know... When an elk, antelope, penguin, or even a rare toad from the rain forest passes on at your local zoo.. I have to wonder why no one gives a hoot.

I understand these Sea World animals are "performers", But in the big scheme of things, the zoo animals are just static "performers".

Do we close and abandon all efforts under the zoo programs as well? People need to crawl back to their cubicles at work and find something else to complain and picket about.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 9:12 AM

Personally, I think the time where zoos and marinas play a significant role in education is passing, and rightly so. Twenty-plus years ago, you could really only learn about wild animals by reading about them in a book, and could only see them in action by going to the zoo.

Fast-forward to today, and you can watch them - in high definition, no less - on television, online or even via Netflix. In fact, the only place you can see certain deep-sea marine life (with some exceptions - Monterey comes to mind) is through the above-mentioned modern medium.

So, if their educational value has run it's course, the only reason we're still displaying animals in captivity is for our own amusement. I'm not sure I'm ok with that, from a moral perspective.

Last edited by djDaemon, Wednesday, October 6, 2010 9:13 AM
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 10:02 AM

We tend to be hypocritical when it comes to animals (and really a lot of other things). The higher up an animal is on the "cute, cuddly, can do tricks or work" scale, the more likely we are to care about how it is treated. The higher up an animal is on the "tastes good" scale, the less likely we are to care about how it is treated. But a lot of folks struggle with that. So we make up things like educational benefit to make ourselves feel better. I agree about the waning of the educational benefit of zoos. At least lately we have seen a move away from the steel and concrete jungles at zoos to something that at least comes closer to being a natural habitat. Much of that is to preserve the educational benefit claim though I suspect.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 10:06 AM

I love whales. They taste like chicken.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 10:07 AM

See, I thought they tasted like fish, but that's just me.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 10:21 AM

This may explain a lot....*Warning its from South Park so there is definitely some language and it is* gruesome Here

Last edited by Audioslaved, Wednesday, October 6, 2010 10:22 AM
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 10:26 AM

I think the companies/municipalities who own/operate zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks are worried about money. I think the animal caretakers who feed, train, care for, etc the animals are all about the creature. In my mind that makes me believe there are some checks and balances in place, at least at the reputable facilities.

I take a look at one species in particular, the manatee, and see the good that Sea World did on their behalf. I believe Floridians have a far better appreciation for the manatee because they were featured in SWF (and at Disney for a while, I believe). As a result, the State has enacted laws to provide for safer habitats for the manatee by slowing down boaters and providing for stiff penalties if the no wake zones are not abided by.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 10:50 AM

djDaemon said:
Personally, I think the time where zoos and marinas play a significant role in education is passing, and rightly so. Twenty-plus years ago, you could really only learn about wild animals by reading about them in a book, and could only see them in action by going to the zoo.

Fast-forward to today, and you can watch them - in high definition, no less - on television, online or even via Netflix. In fact, the only place you can see certain deep-sea marine life (with some exceptions - Monterey comes to mind) is through the above-mentioned modern medium.

So, if their educational value has run it's course, the only reason we're still displaying animals in captivity is for our own amusement. I'm not sure I'm ok with that, from a moral perspective.

Pardon the stupidly obvious statement, but seeing stuff in hi-def is not the same as seeing stuff in person. There is value in being able to observe live animals. I have a large hi-def plasma at home, but still enjoy taking the kids to the nearby zoo and aquarium, and they get something out of it, too, beyond just entertainment.

Schools still take kids on field trips to such places, right? I remember learning a thing or two when I was a kid; it's beneficial to experience things, not just look at and listen to different medium either at home or in a classroom.

I don't agree that all we need now are DVDs and the internet and pretty 16:9 pictures to learn stuff. There's not much fundamental difference between that and the tube TV, VHS, and set of encyclopedias I had back in the day.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 11:01 AM

Sure, experiencing these animals first-hand cannot be completely replaced by video or interactive displays. I'm simply questioning whether it's worth it anymore, from a morals-versus-benefit standpoint.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 11:09 AM

When I was a kid, if you wanted to see a lion you either went to a zoo or on a safari. Not many people were able to go on safaris so the zoo was pretty much the only option. Animal Planet, Discovery, etc. were not options. I took my kids to the zoo a lot when they were little and we still go sometimes. But they have learned a lot more about the various animals from TV. They have learned a lot more about cheetahs (in terms of how they live, what they eat, how fast they run, use their tail for balance, etc.) watching Animal Planet than they have seeing the cheetah at the Cleveland zoo pace around his pen slowly (sometimes) and sleeping (most often). Not saying there is no value at all to seeing animals live in person. Just that on balance, there is more to learn seeing them in the wild (ideally in person but on TV as well).

And for some things, the encyclopedias we had as a kid were not much different than educational TV shows. But in many cases (animals included), I think there is a huge difference between seeing a picture of a cheetah running with a blurred background (which I seem to recall from encyclopedias as a kid) to actually seeing moving pictures of one running.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 11:25 AM

That's a great point - seeing animals in zoos offers almost no valuable insight into how these animals interact in their native environments.

The last time I went to the zoo, the only animals that didn't appear to be on some groovy tranquilizers were the penguins, who were simply throwing themselves against the glass in order to get a better look at all the goofy humans. I'm not sure what kids are supposed to learn from that.

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