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 Award, Death 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.
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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.
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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. “
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 →
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.
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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.
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This will be a short post from The Orca Project. The centerpiece of the subject matter is shown in the short video below.
We believe “A Better Way to See Orcas” is a pivotal piece of documentation clearly informing people who may have not been aware that these intelligent beings belong in the wild, and not on display in a sensory deprived pool working for their food.
We at The Orca Project apologize that this video is no longer available. Due to possible copyright infringement of some footage, we regretfully have removed this important and compelling video.
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