Skip to content

Body of Killer Whale Nami Dug Up for Display at Taiji Whale Museum

April 25, 2012

The skeletal remains of killer whale (orca) Nami exhumed for display at Taiji Whale Museum

The skeletal remains of a killer whale (Orcinus orca) were exhumed on Tuesday to become part of the display at the Taiji Whale Museum in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.

Nami, also known as Nami-Chan, died January 14, 2011 at the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium just 7 months after being transferred there from her captive home of 24 years in Taiji.

According to Japanese news reports, Nami’s body was returned to Taiji seven months ago and buried to allow for decomposition of the 28-year-young killer whale. She was the last surviving orca captured in Japanese waters.

Captured off the Taiji coast in October of 1985 when she was barely 3 years old, Nami was forced to perform at the Taiji Whale Museum in an enclosed sea pen at the seaside marine park for 24 years. In June of 2010 she was sent by barge to the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium to become a part of a breeding program in conjunction with Kamogawa SeaWorld. It is during her stay in Taiji where she is suspected to have ingested some 491 stones weighing 81.4 kilograms (179.5 lbs) found lodged in her stomach during a necropsy performed following her death.
…..Continue reading →

Dolphinarium Harderwijk Reputation Rebuilding Falls Short

April 5, 2012

Morgan at Dolphinarium Harderwijk ~ photo courtesy Liz Sandeman

In a futile attempt at damage control, the Dolphinarium Harderwijk has published an article in Zooquaria Magazine, a quarterly publication of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) following the November transfer of rescued orca Morgan to Loro Parque in Tenerife.

The 1-page article is published in the appropriate section: MEDIA AND PR, because it’s nothing more than that. And it definitely doesn’t contain anything “scientifically sound and realistic”:
…..Continue reading →

Investigation Finds Hazardous Chemicals with Killer Whale Food Supply at SeaWorld

February 28, 2012

Recently released photos reveal more damaging evidence into the haphazard management of killer whale care and trainer safety at SeaWorld’s Orlando, Florida theme park.  The Orca Project has obtained photographs from the 2010 OSHA investigation into the death of veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau, which appear to show harmful chemicals stored with the food supply for killer whales at Shamu Stadium.  The placement and storage of the potentially toxic materials are not in compliance with OSHA Standards for employee safety and are clear violations of the Animal Welfare Act, placing the orca’s nutritional supply at risk for contamination.
…..Continue reading for in-depth details and exclusive photos →

Author of “Death at SeaWorld” on NPR Radio Orlando

January 30, 2012

Listen to David Kirby, author of the soon-to-be-released book “Death at SeaWorld” on National Public Radio’s Orlando affilliate WMFE 90.7 FM broadcast on Tuesday, January 31, 2012.

David joined “Intersection” host Mark Simpson and a panel of guests including former SeaWorld trainer John Jett, PhD and Rollins College Professor of Marketing and Ethics, Mark Johnston PhD, to discuss how SeaWorld will move forward following the death of Dawn Brancheau and what the future holds for the marine park’s “Shamu” shows.
…..Continue Reading for a link to the broadcast →

Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity

January 27, 2012

In what is sure to be a blockbuster best-selling book, author and journalist David Kirby introduces his latest investigative venture “Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity” (St. Martin’s Press), hit book stands July 17, 2012.

Prominently previewed in the Library Journal and nominated by St. Martin’s Press for the Columbia School of Journalism’s 2012 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress AwardDeath at SeaWorld takes a look at the often secretive and much maligned practice of keeping the ocean’s top predators in captivity for entertainment purposes.

Spawned by the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in February 2010— the legal, ethical, health, and safety ramifications of orca captivity and display have been thrust into the limelight in the media, in courtrooms, as well as in the chambers of Congress.

David dives into the numerous and varied issues as they play out in public arenas amidst the backdrop of the ongoing legal battle pitting OSHA against the multimillion-dollar marine park following the veteran trainer’s brutal death by Tilikum, the 12,000 lb (5,440 kg) orca.
…..Continue Reading for details on this monumental book →

Voice of the Orcas

January 26, 2012

With rich multimedia presentations, testimonials and documentation- four former SeaWorld trainers, sharing a common philosophy, provide a voice to those without. A new website showcasing the once killer whale trainers’ views has been unveiled to bring their wealth of knowledge and expertise to the topic of killer whale captivity and the marine park industry. Now highly educated and valued professionals in their respective new-found careers, departed from the lives they once knew, each offers insight into the realities of orca captivity with provocative details, constructive dialogue and in-depth interviews.
…..Continue Reading more about

Judge Rules Morgan should be moved to Loro Parque ASAP.

November 21, 2011

UPDATE: NOVEMBER 29, 2011: As The Orca Project reports below, Morgan’s fate has been sealed. On November 29, 2011 despite valiant and heroic efforts of supporters, the young female orca was transferred from the Dutch dolphinarium to Loro Parque in the Spanish Canary Islands where she will join 5 SeaWorld-owned orcas. Read below for more info on this year-long battle for her freedom.

Today, a disappointing and shocking decision was made by the Judge in the case of Morgan, a juvenile orca found alone June 23, 2010 in Dutch waters.  She is to be moved to Loro Parque in Tenerife, Spain as soon as possible, even though a site for her sea-pen was located and warmly welcomed by the locals. There are wild orca in the area and more than likely, her family nearby.  Read more on the proposed site here.

Via Free Morgan on FaceBook: “The judge ruled that Morgan must be shipped asap to Loro Parque, because there is no socialization possible with the dolphins in Dolfinarium, because they have herpes!! What a shame. The Dolfinarium hadn’t told the judge the first court case about it so they could keep Morgan there instead of Neeltje Jans. “

…..Continue Reading to learn more about Morgan’s plight →

SeaWorld vs OSHA Hearing Concludes- Judge’s Decision Pending

November 20, 2011

Artist rendering of SeaWorld vs OSHA hearing- via Wesh 2 News, Orlando

In August, 2010, OSHA issued citations to SeaWorld for apparently placing profit above employee safety following the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau who was brutally killed by Tilikum, a nearly 12,000 pound (5,443 kg) killer whale (Orcinus-orca) on February 24, 2010.

The citations include fines totaling $75,000 for safety violations including the maximum $70,000 penalty for the “Willful” act of knowingly placing its employees at risk, a charge that has major implications beyond the monetary value which is not substantial for the multi-billion dollar marine park.
…..Continue Reading to learn more about the SeaWorld vs OSHA hearings →

New Photos of Killer Whale involved in Trainer Death at SeaWorld

November 10, 2011

Tilikum slides across the shallow ledge as he begins the brutal death of Dawn Brancheau

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released new photos of Tilikum, the killer whale involved in the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in February, 2010 at SeaWorld of Florida.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, The Orca Project has acquired 71 photos on file from OSHA’s investigation. Two of these photos were taken by a guest at the underwater viewing area during the moments as Tilikum pulled Mrs. Brancheau into the water.

Upon review and examination by former SeaWorld trainers, it is increasingly clear that Dawn was killed after being “barrel-rolled” by Tilikum after he initially grasped her arm as they drifted along the shallows of the Dine with Shamu pool.
…..Continue Reading to see more photos →

New Video Shows Killer Whales in Captivity vs. in the Ocean

October 13, 2011

The Orca Project has released a new video that was created by by some incredible friends which reveals the differences between life for killer whale families in the wild and in captivity.

Although we have previously posted “A Better Way to See Orcas”, which can be seen below, this powerful video-short will change the way the public looks at orca captivity and give them the opportunity to make informed decisions about their next travel/entertainment destination:

We at The Orca Project apologize that this video is no longer available. Due to possible copyright infringement of some footage, we have regretfully removed this important and compelling video.

The video was prepared by Leah Lemieux, author of the book Rekindling the Waters, and Lori Marino, Ph.D., neuroscientist at Emory University, who has studied dolphins and whales for over twenty years.
…..Continue Reading for details on orca families that have been torn apart→