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How Does SeaWorld Masturbate their Stud Killer Whales? Rocker Tommy Lee Says “Cow Vaginas” And He Is Almost Right.

December 9, 2010

Tommy Lee wasn’t totally wrong when he mentioned cow vagina use for SeaWorld’s artificial insemination program. His information was simply dated.  In a letter he shot off to SeaWorld on December 7th, the Motley Crüe drummer has written to the president of Florida marine theme park, SeaWorld, to complain about the way they are treating one of their Killer Whales.

In the letter, published on, Lee complained that the Whale, named Tilikum, “is being kept away from people and in a tank that is much too small for him”, because he is their “chief sperm bank”.

Fred Jacobs, SeaWorld’s VP of Communications fired back at Lee the following day citing “The process of collecting semen for [artificial insemination] doesn’t differ in any meaningful way from the techniques employed in managing livestock or other species for zoological display.” Mr. Jacobs adds: “Whatever his views on SeaWorld, Mr. Lee would be wise to spend more time checking his facts.”

So what are the facts? The Orca Project consulted with some former SeaWorld killer whale trainers to learn about SeaWorld’s Artificial Insemination Program (AI) and  to find out just how they obtain the prized samples, or “white gold” from their orcas.

We all know that AI is a process in which male sperm is collected and inserted into the cervix of a female human or animal, for the purpose of impregnating the female by using means other than sex. In humans, it is used as assisted reproductive technology.

Artificial insemination is widely used for livestock breeding,  as used by cattle breeders.   The practice of AI was developed by SeaWorld for the purpose of increasing its captive stock of Killer Whales. This has allowed the company to avoid the unpopular and illegal practice of harvesting Orcas from the wild and purchasing them from the market, from countries like Japan. It also eliminates the costly need to transport orcas between parks for the pupose of breeding.

As far as killer whales are concerned, the semen is collected from an adult male trained to voluntarily ejaculate. The male, positioned belly up and adjacent to the edge of the pool, is trained to present his penis.  After collected, it allows the sperm and ova of captive killer whales to be stored by a technique known as “genome resource banking.”

In the early years of Killer Whale Artificial Insemination (AI), SeaWorld DID use cow vaginas.  That said, they may very well have been artificial cow vaginas. The first mention of cow vaginas and SeaWorld’s artificial insemination program seems to come in an article titled, “The Killer In The Pool,” by Tim Zimmermann of Outside magazine: 

“Early in the morning, the animal-care crew would take hot-water-filled cow vaginas and masturbate the males in the back tanks,” says John Hall, a former scientist at SeaWorld. “It was pretty interesting to walk by.”

Today, cow vaginas are no longer used, just good old latex gloves and KY Jelly. One former SeaWorld orca trainer who spoke with TOP on the condition of anonymity, shared their experiences:

“It was rustic, latex gloves and KY Jelly, as I recall. The animals already know how to roll over. It’s a basic requirement for accessing their tails and genital slits, and other husbandry. It’s a well rewarded behavior, and the whales are usually cooperative in rolling over. Once they are “over”, the initial approximations involve manually stimulating the genital area (applying pressure around the slit where the penis “lives”). When I was there, sometimes other whales were brought into the pool to stimulate the whale undergoing the AI session. Interestingly, it was usually another male orca. If a bulge, and later an erection occur, this is rewarded with food and manual stimulation. The whale eventually figures out you’re stimulating it in an erotic way. Through many many sessions, the male is eventually stimulated to ejaculate. The ejaculate is stored in a bag or Nalgene plastic bottle.”

Watch the video to see how it’s done.  (If the embedded doesn’t work below, click here):
Despite the distasteful imagery of trainers manually extracting sperm from the penis of a captive orca, the logistial problem with Tilikum and artificial insemination is the lack of diversity in the captive orca gene pool. SeaWorld has now used AI and regular breeding with Tilikum to produce 10 living calves. Tilikum is also the grandfather to 3 living juvenile whales. Currently, SeaWorld owns 19 captive born whales of which 13 are blood related to Tilikum. This means that the gene pool is dangerously lacking diversity.” (Note: 5 of the captive born are not living at SW USA parks.)
SeaWorld states “a critical component of a successful breeding program is maintaining genetic variability.”
SeaWorld has only had two successful artificial insemination births, Kohana (2002) and Nakai (2001). Since Kohana was born in 2002, there have been 9 additional calves born, all by natural conception. SW states on their website that “with the development of AI, managing genetic diversity has become easier“, yet 8 of the 9 calves born since the 2 successful AI births are blood related to Tilikum. -Ikaika, Skyla, Trua, Nalani, Malia, Sakari, Katina’s new calf, Adan (Kohana’s calf).
The marine park also likes to boast at the beginning of their show called “Believe” that the breeding of captive killer whales has led to 27 births at SeaWorld parks since 1985, but it often requires moving these large animals between facilities.  Of those 27, eight have died (which does not include miscarriages).  However, SW doesn’t talk about their “death rate” for obvious reasons related to Public Relations.  And currently they are basking in the glow of  the latest arrival, born in October of 2010, and it being a male.  Something that hasn’t happened in quite some time.
In closing, it would be fair to argue that continuing to breed Tilikum is highly unethical based on at least 4 considerations:

 1. His known and documented aggression towards humans – which has led to the deaths of 3 people over 20 years.

 2. The number of stillborns and short-lived progeny compared to his surviving offspring.

3. Two breeding moms died while giving birth to Tilikum’s calves in very similar circumstances.

4. The lack of genetic diversity in SeaWorld whales if the company continues on this path with Tilikum and Tilikum’s progeny as its main breeding animals.

It is highly irresponsible to continue breeding Tilikum despite these known facts. No reputable breeding program in any other animal industry – beef cattle, dairy cattle, race horses, dogs, cats. etc. – would continue to use an animal as their main breeder considering this information.

98 Comments leave one →
  1. Wasko permalink
    April 20, 2020 10:51 am

    What people do for money.

  2. Laura Ray Heinbachker permalink
    January 10, 2019 12:37 pm

    Tommy Lee, lemme hit that

  3. Master of lagers permalink
    October 2, 2017 10:06 am

    Where can i sign up for this job ? Masturbate orcas and dolphins for living that is.

  4. Jen permalink
    March 18, 2016 8:37 am

    This is sexual abuse.

  5. Lauren permalink
    January 14, 2016 3:15 pm

    When I was younger all I wanted to do was go to Seaworld to see an Orca bit as I grew I started to notice the differences between the wild Orcas I saw on nature shows and the clips of Orcas at Seaworld and it took me a lot of time to figure out what it was until one day I saw a documentary about orcas, a mother had lost her baby and she wore the same expression as the poor Killer Whales of SeaWorld…utter, complete, desolate sadness. I did go to Seaworld when I was 13 and cried the whole time I was near the Orcas because they looked as sad as I felt for them.

    Keeping such intelligent, emotive animals in a box would be like me shoving you in a room made of glass where you couldn’t hide, only feeding you when you did what I asked, sexually assaulting you repeatedly to breed unhealthy children whose mothers barely get s chance to bond before they are forced to work for the dead and unwanted-by-anyone-else fruit from the store when shed rather go to the organic market and pick her own food and work for it in the right way, it would be like me punishing you when you lash out for being pushed too far and then throwing a party because I saved one cat from a fire 3000 miles away from you in your little glass room, like me forcing more and more people like you into such a cramped space that you beat on each other and leave each other scarred…
    …You wouldn’t do it to a person so why would you do it to an animal that’s possibly more intelligent than we know and easily as emotive as us?

    • orca milk is great permalink
      March 5, 2019 10:25 am

      you like beastiality?
      btw how do you know the orcas dislike it?

  6. December 8, 2015 11:25 pm

    Who is the author of this blog

    • March 28, 2016 9:57 pm


      • John Stewarts permalink
        June 23, 2016 2:01 am

        Sexual Abuse is a 100% Human concept. Amimals don’t get offended when they get touched in an erotic matter. For them, it is like copulation for Humans. with the exception of Humans, all animals are hardwired to breeding and continuing their genetic code.

  7. September 20, 2015 7:48 pm

    A wild orca swims 100 miles a day. That’s the distance from San Diego to Los Angeles. Doubling the size of the tank doesn’t change things much for the orcas. They will still be captive, still be hyper aggressive toward each other because of close quarters, They will still be masturbated, sonogramed, artificially inseminated, fed dead fish, drugged, forced to perform, be subject to fireworks (4 X a week for their entire captive lives) and loud music. They will continue to swim in a mix of chlorine and their own fecal debris, which is dumped year in, year out into the bay along with the emergent contaminants produced from disinfecting the raw feces, many of which are endocrine disrupters that wreak havoc with the reproductive systems of animals.

    NOTE: “…basking in the glow of the latest arrival, born in October of 2010, and it being a male. Something that hasn’t happened in quite some time.” -This is because males subject to daily chlorine are 35% less likely to have male offspring. Like I said, endocrine disrupters.

    Wild caught or captive bred, Seaworld will only continue to kidnap drug torment enslave chlorinate masturbate inseminate sonogram sell transfer de-tooth and drown whales while greenwashing their behavior by highlighting the occasional rescue.

    Are these the teachers we want for our children? Wild orcas act far different from those in captivity, such as droopy dorsal fins and the killing of human beings. There is nothing to be learned about wild orcas from watching captives.
    Worst of all, seaworld markets themselves toward children and then teaches them that it is acceptable to steal intelligent creatures from their families in the wild to be confined for their entire lives to a pool so Seaworld can profit.
    The world is changing, and parks like Seaworld are under building global pressure to put their days of captive marine giants behind them.

    Joey Racano, Ocean Outfall Group

  8. Azinai permalink
    April 10, 2015 12:11 pm

    I have read most of the comments here and I’m positive people do care about what is happening around them, which is good.

    I for one am in love with orcas, I have never been to a Sea World park, but was captivated after watching “Free Willy”. It was emotional not only because of the storyline but because in the end Willy was set free. After that I wanted to come in touch with orcas and naturally started looking for information about them. What I found was controverse and only theoretical. The fact that humans don’t know much about orcas should be noted especially from the people that work in any way with orcas.

    I believe that orcas have inteligence rivaling that of human beings and the treatment orcas recieve from us is anthing but humane. I don’t believe that trainers that work with orcas don’t realise what is happening around them, though they are in a way incapable of controling what is happening with the orcas because they don’t own them, they simply try to take care of them.

    I think people should try to turn the attention of the owners of parks like SeaWorld thowards the facts that need to be known. Many of them are mentioned in “Blackfish” but I’m certain more is cept away from the general public.

    Unfortunately whilst the thinking of the people that have the ownership of the orcas stays the same, nothing can be done – or at least only after public outrage like the one after Dawn Brancheau’s death.

    In my opinion we should try and appreciate what nature has provided for us – I mean all that surrounds us, and stop trying to become the master of it.

    P.S.: I apologize for any misspellings for I am not a native speaker and have learned tha language only by listening to it.

  9. March 9, 2015 1:17 am

    What doesn’t make sense with articles like these, they seem to think Tilikum’s aggression is do to DNA and will be passed to his young and his young’s young. However, Tilikum is a gentle soul and the 3 cases of death had nothing to do with a aggression towards humans just pent up frustration from being kept in tiny pools and dealing with bullies in a room with no escape door. He loved Dawn and I am sure after it happen he was reeling with what he had done because he wouldn’t see her anymore. You have to remember that Killer Whales are very intelligent and emotional creatures, I am sure once the bout of frustration calmed down, he had realized what he had done. He’s not aggressive to trainers or even other whales even though being much bigger then the others. The first act against a human was him trying to play and the other whales in his pool joined in, the second time I am sure he was just trying to play because he was bored in his tank and saw something in his pool and the 3rd was because he got frustrated when he had missed a whistle call because he hadn’t heard it and got in trouble for it and said he wouldn’t get food. There is only 3 people to be blamed for this. 1. The public that pay for shows. 2. Seaworld and 3. Sealand. That’s it. Tilikum isn’t aggressive by birth/DNA. This is the product of decades of suffering.

  10. January 10, 2015 8:19 pm

    Tommy Lee. Get on the phone to your Ex Wife Pam in Vancouver and ask her about Tilikum (where he’s from), That whale has killed 3 people, 2 trainers and a dumb-ass who wanted to swim with the whales after hours. The reason they are keeping him from the people is because he likes to mutilate them and it’s not even his fault. Captivity had probably made him crazy, it’s not normal at all to be stored like that. How he was treated in Canada (where I am from) was atrocious….

  11. Lamar permalink
    November 10, 2014 11:44 am

    I got a fat Kristin ham Dick

  12. November 7, 2014 8:24 pm

    May I simply say what a relief to uncover an individual
    who actually knows what they are discussing online. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    More people ought to look at this and understand
    this side of your story. I was surprised that you are not more
    popular given that you certainly have the gift.

  13. Anita Walsh permalink
    September 10, 2014 8:43 pm

    Mr. Jacobs does not wish to acknowledge the intelligence or true nature of these creatures as does anyone involved in promoting captivity of orcas. Egotistical and greedy human beings; they refuse to wake up. Orcas are more intelligent than livestock. There is absolutely no comparison. God forbid any of them actually became gainfully employed . I would like to investigate all of the employees personal lives considering the lie they live each day. The lives they live are a complete sham.

  14. sophie permalink
    May 6, 2014 11:39 am

    Sea world is owned but the biggest invest banking company in america. The president cannot even get free or lowed health care in america how is he really going to tackle this?
    But he should!

  15. March 8, 2014 7:57 am

    Anyone see a parallel of what has happened to the wild African elephants? How messed up mentally and emotionally many captive elephants have become because of being ripped away from their mothers and social groups when very young and forced into captivity either alone or in groups of elephants unknown to them? Remember the reports about individual elephants suddenly going berserk and killing their trainers and going on rampages, seemingly out of nowhere?

  16. poooooooooooooooop permalink
    March 5, 2014 10:39 am

    it looks like a octopus arm

  17. cheryl v permalink
    February 26, 2014 12:34 am

    I think this is disgusting. To have a beautiful majestic animal roll over on it’s back and do this. Also, why do we do this to livestock too. The things they do to livestock and in slaughter houses is incomprehensible. This should be brought to the public’s awareness too.

    • Holly OHara permalink
      March 9, 2020 12:26 am

      They do it to livestock to produce more meat so you can all keep stuffing your fat faces with meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stop eating so much meat and they will stop producing so much of it+stop supporting businesses that use animals for profit and they will stop abusing the animals=no duh

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  19. Adriana permalink
    December 21, 2013 8:35 pm

    Sea world should take a closer look and make amends. This is clearly animal torture, the government should step up and permanently close sea world. I wouldn’t want my children to watch these amazing creatures playing around with humans in a phony environment!!! We as human beings do inhumane things as it is and clearly this is one of them. It breaks my heart to think they cannot swim and explore As the want. Tragedies keep happening; it’s obviously a sign of freedom!!! This includes the zoo as well.

  20. Midnight permalink
    November 24, 2013 6:04 pm

    If you do it enough you will go blind.

  21. jhaskell67 permalink
    November 1, 2013 10:46 am

    It’s all about the almighty $$ with SeaWorld…whatever it takes to keep it coming!!! With all of the known documented fatalities that have occurred with Tilikum alone, why doesn’t OSHA step in and put an end to this? These puny fines that OSHA puts on SeaWorld are nothing but pocket change to them – I’m sure SeaWorld makes more money just off of their t-shirt sales alone. SeaWorld rakes in millions and millions each year, I’m sure that someone is getting a payoff behind the scenes. Someone needs to do what’s morally and ethically right – put an end to this so that Dawn Brancheau’s death along with many others, was not in vain.

  22. LORIE permalink
    October 25, 2013 9:52 am

    I think all the people involved in this degrading and cruel act should be made to have the same thing done to them – only in public

    • David permalink
      October 26, 2013 6:22 pm

      Lorie, I’m pretty sure that is called an orgy, or a public bath or a porno. Pretty sure that stimulating, treating and ejaculating someone would be considered a bonus.

  23. permalink
    June 5, 2013 11:37 pm

    oh my gosh…HUMANS & their ideas, just leave well enough along, let nature & GOD take care of things humans have no right in messing with, no wonder the world is full of crazy’s…..& mean people who abuse animals….ridiculous, & horrible actions

  24. OrcaLuvr'09 permalink
    January 22, 2013 10:20 pm

    Just wondering what a rocker knows about this… I mean- a ROCKER? Seriously?

    • Amanda permalink
      September 29, 2013 3:47 pm

      Just because he’s part of a band doesn’t make him an idiot that can’t have other interests. I’m a student in high school, does that make me not qualified to know about this issue?

    • HKH permalink
      June 19, 2015 4:10 pm

      There’s nothing wrong with someone of celebrity status (rock stars included) lending their name to a cause. It draws more attention than the average joe calling foul play.

    • toot permalink
      August 15, 2015 1:56 pm

      well Tommy Lee has a whale’s size penis so he has something in common…

  25. August 18, 2012 8:10 pm

    I am very concerned about the inbreeding of the orcas that has been done at Seaworld. The 4 original orcas that were sent to Loro Parque were related….the 2 females were half-sisters to one of the males. And I’m sure that there has been & still is inbreeding being done in the parks here in the states. How will this affect the health, reproduction, and behaviors of the offspring? Will they be genetically impaired? In other species, it has proven to cause some serious health issues and birth defects. With all the other reasons that orcas in captivity is WRONG, can this also be added to the list?

  26. skbn113 permalink
    August 10, 2012 7:50 pm

    This is just so sick.

    Must everything devolve into masturbation???

    Mankind…………..ain’t it grand?

    Leave the poor animals alone!

    (Can you imagine the thought-bubble of some orca
    when a crew member grabs him there? Sick.)

    • John Stewarts permalink
      June 23, 2016 2:09 am

      Despite the fact that this is really old. My mind fills with wonder towards the utter stupidity of other people. How do you propose to continue an Orca population without half the genetic code? HOw do you propose we get the semen otherwise? For one thing, like most other animals (Humans included), happen to enjoy the feeling of masturbation. The whale may have an extremely developed mind, it still has something hardwired in to it’s brain, to reproduce. It is only Humans that feel embrassment or shame when this kind of things happen, to them because privacy, embarassment and sexual abuse, because this is an entirely Human concept.

  27. Whoa. permalink
    February 11, 2012 3:32 pm

    This is really gross. Masturbaiting a whale? gtfo SeaWorld.

  28. Paola permalink
    October 13, 2011 3:45 am

    By the way, Tilikum was not the reason one of those 3 deaths happened. The guy who snuck into his tank died of hypothermia. Daniel P. Dukes, was his name.

    • Tiina permalink
      October 15, 2011 6:01 pm

      Paola you should read the comment above.

  29. Smith permalink
    August 17, 2011 6:31 pm

    Tilikum’s “documented aggression” has not led to the deaths of 3 people.

    1st incident- A trainer slipped and fell into a pool at a water park where trainers had never been in the water with the orcas. The trainer was first touched by a pregnant female orca, who then proceeded to toss her to another pregnant female orca and Tilikum’s mouths as if they were playing.
    2nd incident- A homeless man was found floating in the tank with Tilikum after visited the park and stayed after it closed. He died from hypothermia, his skin was not broken at all and the few mild scratches were caused by the bottom of the tank.
    3rd incident – Tilikum did drown trainer Dawn Brancheau in February 2010. Her death was caused by drowning and blunt force trauma (incl. a broken spine and several fractures)

    Tilikum’s “documented aggression” seems to at best be attributable to only 1 death over his lifetime.

    Personally, I’m inclined to agree with your conclusion, but the fact that your first premise is highly misleading really puts me off the whole article; it makes me a lot more weary and, in my opinion, undermines the credibility of what you’re trying to say. .

    • Mademoiselle B. permalink
      September 24, 2011 2:45 pm

      Considering SeaWorld did not allow their trainers to go in the water with Tilikum, I think even they recognized his aggressive behavior and his part in both deaths. I think you’re downplaying both of the incidents that involved Tilikum and resulted in death.

      From Wikipedia:

      — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

      1st death:

      On February 20, 1991, the three orcas that resided at Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia (Haida II, Nootka IV, and Tilikum) killed a young part-time trainer named Keltie Byrne when she accidentally slipped and fell into the tank. This facility did not allow the trainers to get in the water with the animals so the orcas were not accustomed to having people in their tank. It is unclear which orca initiated the assault but what is known is that one of the whales grabbed the trainer by the foot and dragged her deeper into the pool, the other two quickly joined in, pushing and throwing the young woman around the pool. All three animals barred her escape, continuously blocking her path and dragging her back into the center of the tank. Sealand staff tried unsuccessfully to distract the orcas with fish, noise, voice and hand commands. It was several hours before Ms. Byrne’s body could be recovered.

      2nd death:

      On July 5, 1999, at SeaWorld Orlando Florida, a deceased man by the name of Daniel Dukes was found nude and in one of the orca tanks draped across the back of the park’s largest male orca, Tillikum. An autopsy revealed that the man died of a combination of hypothermia and drowning. Dukes was covered in bruises, abrasions and bite marks, indicating that Tillikum had clear contact with the victim but whether or not Tillikum actually caused the man’s death could not be determined.

      — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

      Might not be conclusive but it seems pretty likely to me that Tilikum probably helped the man with drowning and hypothermia. Orcas may use their teeth to inspect foreign objects but they are very aware of the force they use. If they want to inspect, they know how to do it without so hard as to leave bite mark. They know what they’re doing. And if you consider the other 2 incidents, it’s pretty hard to argue that Tilikum had nothing to do with this death. Please. I think you’re in denial about this.

      It’s only due to luck that these (and the death in Spain) are the only deaths caused by captive killer whales because attacks that don’t result in death are pretty common. Some pretty severe. They are very aware of the injuries they can inflict and the only reason most of those incidents didn’t result in death is only because the whales chose not to kill and let the trainer get away.

      There are a few that can easily be found right on youtube.

      • March 8, 2014 7:44 am

        The whales’ behaviors in the first incident reminds me of a video I saw recently of several whales working a seal until they finally caught it. The trainer was lucky the whales didn’t eat her after they dragged and bumped her around.

    • May 31, 2012 5:03 pm

      Smith ..don’t be a victim to massive Sea World PR .. look deeper, or just stand by. The facts are rising.

    • Grey permalink
      November 21, 2013 5:53 pm

      If you think Daniel P Dukes (second victim) died of hypothermia, I invite you to look at his autopsy report, specifically pages 6-8. His pubic skin and testes were “avulsed” ie ripped off postmortem. There is nearly a three-page long list of bruising and abrasions on the body, and the body was found the next day draped across Tilikum’s back. Also there is video evidence of orca attacks on trainers including Tilikum.

    • November 29, 2013 3:26 am

      Are you mentally challenged? The homeless man that was killed had his penis bitten off!! He was also found “draped” over Tilikum’s back like some sort of trophy. Does that sound like a simple drowning to you? Do some more research before you make idiotic comments.

      • March 16, 2014 2:31 pm

        Exactly, Tikikum was showing with his superior emotional intelligence the humiliation of being manually “masturbated” by his handlers! Not only was this homeless man stripped of his clothing, penis mauled off, and displayed so his trainers would see evidence of his enslavement; the seaworld workers claimed they did not have it on survailence tape nor heard the man’s screams?! No simple drowning, simply a cover up….

        • March 16, 2014 2:52 pm

          Seriously people, it is obvious that breaking in near a whales territory it’s off limits!!! Ignorance it’s a crime!!!!! As a matter of fact. K whales are wild, therefore shouldn’t be at sea world. They are blameless of the human ignorance. That homeless guy, had it coming for being stupid, clueless and ignorant. People see on tv commercials that it’s fun and ok to swim with these amazing creatures. ( it ain’t true). If you want to blame someone, blame sea world for trying to tame wild life. Get your facts straight.

      • March 16, 2014 3:00 pm

        Do you actually think that tilikum would bother on exposing himself killing someone and exposing it a s a trophy? He’s a K whale!!!!!!! You asswhole!!!I he would have eaten the bastard in fist place. Crime Scene would be clear. Captivity in a a small pool ain’t fun. Perhaps you should try go to jail for a few decades and see if your happy.
        You’ll end up killing more people than whales do.

    • Gigi permalink
      June 13, 2014 10:43 pm

      Ummm the first death you could be right because no one saw which whale grabbed her first but the second guy had his penis bitten off and other marks on his body. It’s said that he tried to insert himself in tilikums blow hole…. As for dawn we know how that happend. I think if the man were capable of getting out of the tank he would have long before getting hypothermia.

  30. Tom permalink
    March 23, 2011 5:40 pm

    I love whales, I’ve always have had an affinity for animals and as a child living in San Diego went to SeaWorld on many occasions, because I loved seeing the animals there so much.

    The awareness they raise and the lessons they teach children and adults about whales and other sea life is a great thing, no matter how much you want to cry about captive orcas.

    They were also teaching us about how important it is to take care of the environment over two decades ago, way before it became chic. Captivity of animals is not wrong, zoos and aquariums teach people so much about the animals we share the world with.

    All of this hate should be turned to the Japanese whalers and the Indian tribes given permission to hunt whales with a .50 caliber machine gun (just like their ancestors did). I know what I’m saying isn’t going to change anyone’s mind, and honestly I don’t care, but I can’t just sit here and read these miss guided hippie rants without commenting.

    • Tiina permalink
      April 18, 2011 8:57 am

      This is called The Orca project so are you surprised if we’re ‘crying’ (as you put it) about orcas in here? Because of these marine mammal park captures there are areas where orcas were hunt close to extinction and pods wiped out completely or almost completely. That teaches us a lot about protecting environment doesn’t it?

      Most of the information gotten about orcas has been gained by studying them in their natural habitat not in these tiny tanks, that can’t teach us any new VALUABLE information about orcas anymore. And all this teaching they do they can be done without making cetaceans suffer and live shortened lives in these tiny, pathetic tanks.

      And you can’t seriously compare holding some of the biggest, most intelligent, long distance migrating animals to some animals in zoos. Okey, sure there are big animals in zoos as well but their demands are quite different compared to orcas and can’t really be compared. Some animals can adapt to captivity sure. But not these social creatures. Holding them captive just proves how money can turn people into monsters.

      I’m not saying holding animals in zoos and aquariums etc is bad, people should just think what animals they keep captive and in what kind of conditions. And clearly orcas aren’t the right animals to be held captive in these tiny tanks.

    • May 31, 2012 4:56 pm

      Hippy-Shmippy! Who are you fooling, Tom?
      While considering the shrunken member of the aging Tilikum ..note the shrinking number of pro-captivity support in the above comments. As passe’ as the hippy movement, there was a time when sticking these massive marine mammals in their own toilet tanks for display to observe imprisoned behavior had an educational component. Of course, that is so terribly old school backwards in the current information age. The world is no longer naive and the children who were impressed with the giant splish-splashy whales are growing up while the marine circus business is falling by the wayside. Sea World PR such as yourself, is busy making fools of themselves as they try to keep the business floating and not looking like the floppy dorsal fin of their ‘prize’ enslaved whales. Executives are wisely exploring diversification into other areas .. BUT .. they better clean up their act QUICK!! Word of their greed over morality bodes them ills which will fall to lethal whacks from global media .. including books such as, ‘Death at Sea World’ .. CNN already promotes it. Bye Bye KILLERS !! (and thinking hippies don’t mean whales)

    • Anna permalink
      October 22, 2013 3:13 pm

      @Tom. You’re delusional. SeaWorld is an entertainment business that contradicts these so called environmental lessons you speak of. It breaks family pods apart & secludes animals that travel 100 miles per hr in tiny pools. Let’s not kid ourselves, this business is about self-preservation, not animal preservation.

      If you want lessons about captive animals, then go watch them in their natural habitat. There are guided tours in the oceans, safaris & forests if you’re concerned with learning about them. These tours protect both animals & their habitat while still maintaining a safe classroom for wildlife education.

      Oh & those Japanese whalers/huntsman you speak of? Guess who funds their hunts? SeaWorld. The bounty paid for each kill ranges from the thousands to the millions. It’s because of businesses like aquariums & zoos that instigate & facilitate the bad business of hunting. SeaWorld does a lot of illegal third party transactions in order to bypass liability. If you weren’t so biased & actually did research, you wouldn’t make such ignorant statements. I believe you came up with these excuses because you have deep-seated guilt for being a part of this consumer-dependant freakshow.

    • March 8, 2014 7:40 am

      You sort of don’t really get it about large animals being forced into captivity, ripped away from their mothers and social groups, and placed into tanks that are too small. You just don’t get it.

    • March 16, 2014 5:12 pm

      If you want to learn and have awareness about whales perhaps you should google it, get a damn book or watch discovery channel. They’ll give you plenty of knowledge. You’re making stupid accuses. Blah

    • HKH permalink
      June 19, 2015 5:09 pm

      @Tom…spoken like a truly selfish human. Who cares that these animals’ lives are cut short, that they’re forced to breed, forced to perform for our entertainment and kept in tanks a fraction of the size of their natural habitat? Who cares that the original whales who were taken captive were ripped away from their families? As long as humans can benefit from it as a “learning experience.” Who are you kidding? Sea World doesn’t educate people as much as they entertain them. Their goal isn’t to teach; it’s to make money. There are much more humane ways to learn about these creatures. I almost hope you are a PR person for Sea World. I’d much rather believe you’re being paid to paint a pretty picture, than to think that you are naive enough to buy into their BS.

    • Jenny permalink
      September 23, 2015 7:10 pm

      @Tom, I too live in San Diego and one of my favorite things to do, as a child was to go to Sea World. I remember seeing all the shows vaguely, but actually my strongest memory is when I was probably about 7 yrs. old and hanging out by the “tide pools” where you could touch and look at sea urchins, sea stars, etc. I would spend hours there just watching a sea star slowly move. I touched them once with my fingertip and it flinched back- like it didn’t like being touched- so I stopped touching it. If any kid near me would bother them by touching too roughly, I remember saying to the kid that the creatures didn’t like that, and they should be gentle, because how would you like it if you were touched roughly? I remember not liking the sea otter show where they had to tricks and stuff. All I remember about the orca show was trying really hard to “soaked,” but once the novelty of being soaked wore off, I remember not feeling good while watching the orcas perform by command. I also remember not feeling good about seeing such a HUGE fish in such a tiny tank (I spent a lot of time boating in the ocean so I knew where the Orca’s home really was). I mean I was only 8 or 9 yrs. old – I just KNEW THAT IT WASN’T RIGHT. I had an adult tell me this or teach me this (actually my family and friends took me to Sea World many times when I was growing up- and these concerns were never discussed). But I knew it was wrong when I was 10 years old and 20 years later- I still know it’s wrong. I can understand that having these Orca’s ‘as pets” can give some humans that “fuzzy, warm, happy” feeling, but its still fundamentally wrong to keep an Orca in captivity. Either you know it is wrong or you don’t. We can argue all day about the details or justifications, but we would be wasting each other time. Ask yourself, what do you really believe in — if you and I lived in a truly just world?

      • Jenny permalink
        September 23, 2015 7:13 pm

        CORRECTION of my (Jenny’s) above post:

        “I had NEVER had an adult tell me this or teach me this (actually my family and friends took me to Sea World many times when I was growing up- and these concerns were never discussed).”

  31. Rita permalink
    March 16, 2011 12:49 pm

    S.Bressler I had a similar experience when I took my daughters to Marineland Canada back in 2006. I was numb watching the whales put on their show…I wanted everyone to stop clapping and cheering. I couldn’t stay there any longer. We then went to the underwater viewing area and that’s when I started crying. It was so sad…you can feel the animals aura emanating through the walls… their sadness pouring out of that place was unbearable and a reality they face daily. We have vowed to NEVER watch animals in captivity again no zoos or water parks. My children are 10 and 13 and they can grasp the fact that captivity is wrong.

  32. S.Bressler permalink
    March 7, 2011 5:23 am

    While visiting MarineWordl Africa in Vallejo California, a friend and I took in the Whale andDolphin show. As the animals entered the pool, we each began to cry. I never understood why until I began to learn how the captivity of these mammals affects their lives. Now I’m amazed at my ignorance. I will never again support any organization that keeps these beautiful creatures in captivity. As much as I have always wanted to see a Sea World show involving dolphins and orcas, I can now say unequivically I will never ever again contribute to the exploitation of these creatures. Shame onthe money mongers. From now on I consider it my responsibility to discourage everyone I know from ever contributing to organizations that hold wild animals in captivity. Please do the same.

    • JayCkat permalink
      March 10, 2012 11:13 am

      Well, at the rate we are destroying the ocean sea life, I believe the days of large sea going carnivore are numbered. SW maybe the only hope for long term survival, much like zoos.

      At this time point fishermen in parts of the world are killing off dolphin and seals because they are eating too much fish. We have reached the point where natural predation of fish stocks can no longer be tolerated. We need those fish and damn anything that gets into our way.

  33. kristie permalink
    February 25, 2011 9:09 am

    The original capture of the wild orcas is sickening. These are animals that spend their entire lives living in a family group. And the continued enslavement of them for “entertainment” saddens me. Sea World is just like every other greedy corporation in America doing whatever it has too in order to keep those dollar bills flowing in. But the real problem is The sick people who pay to go see the shows. I would like to round them up, take them away from their families , cage them in tiny Quarters, and make them perform unnatural tricks. Yet that would be against the law, yet it is okay to do the same to the orcas. they are intelligent, social creatures just like we are and we as humans have no right to torture them to satisfy our own sick wants. I wonder how many of the seaworld park visitors are pretending to be god fearing people? IGNORANCE IS BLISS.

    • Caleb permalink
      July 8, 2012 3:22 pm

      If you believe that releasing all of these orcas back into the wild is the best thing than go ahead that is just sentencing them to death

      • H Ironside permalink
        November 7, 2013 7:29 am

        24 hours of freedom beats another 40 years in a cement tub any day. They shouldn’t have trapped them in the first place.

        • John Stewarts permalink
          June 23, 2016 2:15 am

          Thats right. It’s fine to send an Orca thats spent most of it’s life in captivity in to the Ocean, an unfamilliar environment. Imagine how shocked and confused you would be if one day you were happily watching TV in your house, next thing you know, you’re thrown in to the middle of nowhere, and expected o find food. Wouldn’t be nice, would it?

  34. Amanda permalink
    January 6, 2011 4:14 pm

    “UNBELIEVABLE” on every level; Tilikums whole existence is abuse; the breeding programme is unviable given the small gene pool they now have. No other animal breeders would continue with such a small gene pool – its irresponsible beyond words and smacks of just one thing GREED!! This animals are clearly unhealthy psychological if not physically under stimulated. I find it abhorent that anyone who truely loves animals could wish to work for such an organisation. What a shame they can’t concentrate on doing the things they apparently do quite well ie their contribution to manatee rescue.

  35. aurajin permalink
    January 4, 2011 4:29 am

    This kind of invasion on such an intelligent animals is morally wrong. Although keeping these beautiful beings in captivity is unethical in itself, this process is too bizarre to ‘BELIEVE’!!

    Some people will do absolutely anything for money. Just sickens me.

  36. NoDoubt permalink
    December 10, 2010 12:02 pm

    Is it a fact that Tilikum is their main breeding animal? Just wondering because I’m skeptical at what Tommy Lee says.

    • Jenny Hannigan permalink
      December 10, 2010 12:30 pm

      @No doubt. If you read the article again – at the bottom it says, “yet 8 of the 9 calves born since the 2 successful AI births are blood related to Tilikum. -Ikaika, Skyla, Trua, Nalani, Malia, Sakari, Katina’s new calf, Adan (Kohana’s calf).” It’s pretty clear to me that he’s their main breeding animal. )-:

      Tilikum has been their stud for many years. A huge reason he was brought in from Marineland in Cananda all those years ago. And now — he just sits there all alone at Sea World with nothing to do and no one to mingle with. It’s a sad state of affairs all the way around for this poor soul.


      • pam permalink
        March 2, 2014 8:19 am

        Now that I know the truth about Sea world….it’s all $$ making….nothing more for marine well being. I won’t ever go to Sea world again. Everyone should know the fact about them

    • Jordan permalink
      December 10, 2010 2:46 pm

      They have had used Keet and now-deceased Taku, but both only have sired one viable calf. Ulysses is another bull but he’s suspected to be infertile, considering he’s been surrounded by females since being moved to SW San Diego in ’94 and has yet to produce any offspring.

      Keto is suspected to be the father of Adan, the calf that Kohana gave birth to in October, but that has yet to be officially confirmed.

      Taking all these into consideration, Tilikum is SW’s default sperm “donor.”

      • Jordan permalink
        December 10, 2010 2:48 pm

        edit: Taku has sired two calves. But one is a product of inbreeding, SO. :U

        • Rachel permalink
          December 18, 2010 9:45 am

          Tekoa is too young to have impregnated Kohana.

          Kohana’s baby is also inbred as Keto and Takara, Kohana’s mother, have the same dad.

          Tekoa, Skyla and Kohana are all calves of Tilikum’s. Keto and Skyla have the same mom, Kalina.

          Tekoa and Keto are the only two orca at Loro Parque who aren’t related. All calves born at that facility will be inbred like Kohana’s calf.

        • Jordan permalink
          December 18, 2010 7:13 pm

          Oy, thanks for clearing that up (:

      • Naomi permalink
        April 8, 2013 3:02 pm

        Ulysis has actually produced two offspring that have survived. One is here in America and the other is in France.

  37. December 10, 2010 11:38 am

    Free Tilly!!!!!

    • Naomi permalink
      January 5, 2011 3:24 am

      There is one problem with freeing Tillikum to the wild: immunity to the diseases and other illnesses. Yes he is from the wild, but he did not live out there long enough to gain the immunity he needs to survive illnesses and diseases. So basically if you send him to the wild you are sending this animal to his death. Do you understand what I am saying?

      • Carole permalink
        January 28, 2011 7:08 pm

        No one is saying release them into the wild. There are many natural seapens that are perfect for releasing orcas back into their home waters. They are very large and the orcas could be observed. They would have to be re-taught how to fish or taught if they were born into captivity, but nothing is impossible. There is a perfect seapen off the shores of San Juan Island in the state of Washington. It used to be used as a holding pen when aquariums used to capture orcas from the wild. It could very easily be set up again and would be the perfect home for Lolita, as he family (L pod) spends their summers here every year.

      • Cristina permalink
        February 5, 2013 3:01 pm

        I believe that there’s no worst thing for wild animals than to live and die in captivity. Not only Kilikum but all killer whales and dolphins should be set free. So I now ask you Naomi, if you were in prison, receiving medicines but you were offered to be free risking to catch a disease and die sometime soon… Would you still would want to stay in prison? I don’t think so.

        • John Stewarts permalink
          June 23, 2016 2:18 am

          If you were living in prison, would YOU want to go in to a new, and unfamilliar environment, and be expected to find food? Do you REALLY think that this Orca will be able to find it’s way back to it’s pod? Even if it does, chances are, it will be rejected from the pod, and killed (Even though Killer Whales are extremely intelligent, that doesn’t mean they won’t kill their own species.)

  38. Jeff permalink
    December 9, 2010 7:55 pm

    Thanks for posting this.

    I think SeaWorld is so desperate to increase their population of orcas that genetic diversity is secondary right now. Orcas are dying faster than they can breed and they are on a treadmill of breeding at any cost.

    And poor Tilikum continues to suffer. He has endured so much and he has made SeaWorld so much money. Its time to give him something and retire him. Give him some years where he can just be and live as an orca in his natural home.

    • Kirsty permalink
      February 23, 2012 1:37 pm

      he didnt preform for a year and if they relese him into the wild he will die coz he is so used to having the food handed to him

      • April 7, 2013 8:54 pm

        they have sucssecfully released trained and captive orcas into the wild by teaching them how to act wild again like in the case of the whale who played willy in free willy :

        • Naomi permalink
          April 8, 2013 2:59 pm

          Actually. Keiko was the ONLY whale to be trained to return to the wild. Even then he was travelling for miles to seek human company and was not really staying with the pod. Tilikum was only barely over a year old when he was taken from the wild, not even old enough to leave his mother’s side or to catch fish. Since Tilikum and most of the other captive orcas have never been in wild waters or know how to catch their own food; releasing them to the wild will be a death sentence.

        • HayRay permalink
          April 19, 2015 12:53 am

          Keiko died…He was the only one that was ever retrained to hunt and survive in the wild, but he had boats and his own team of veterinarians following him. He never reintegration with other orcas, and he missed human interaction. He died lonely, but at least they tried to Free Willy.

  39. Gabrielle Pellé-Hyvon permalink
    December 9, 2010 7:11 pm

    No coment is possible…this is just scandalous. Give Tilikum back to real life.


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