Marine Mammal Captivity Analysis

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In 2013 the controversy of marine mammal captivity was brought into a new light because of Blackfish, a CNN-produced documentary that took the United States by storm by showing a different side to the family-friendly park shows. No longer were killer whales viewed by all as cute stuffed animals to be played with and put on display, but as intelligent and sentient creatures who have been affected significantly by their continued imprisonment. The depth of their social relationships, behaviors, and mental capacity, perhaps only second to that of a human 's, results in the conclusion that orcas are not being protected, as institutions like SeaWorld claims, but are being hindered in their growth of their innate behaviors. This topic has been the…show more content…
In the wild, orcas have a strong family structure with anywhere from 2 to 50 members in a pod. Each pod has their own culture, communication techniques, sociality and hunting methods. In the wild, orca mothers maintain lifelong bonds with their offspring. However, SeaWorld’s financial decisions break apart these family bonds by separating calves from mothers while they are as young as twelve months old in order to prevent strong bonds from forming. (Whale and Dolphin 1) Young marine animals born in captivity are suffering while they are being separated and or rejected by their mothers, who, in some cases, have also been born into captivity. Because their mothers have not been able to learn and develop their natural maternal instincts in the wild, the effects of their inabilities to mother are being passed down from generation to generation. It is indisputable with current evidence that orcas, dolphins, and other marine animals have a level of intelligence that rivals that of humans in some instances, which is why it is no surprise that they suffer from mental health disorders as well. “Like humans with PTSD, throughout their lives, captive orcas suffer from threats to their physical health and families as well as exhibiting persistent fear, distress, avoidant behaviors and increased aggression.” (Ferdowsian, Hope and Carol Tavani 1). The best way to alleviate their distress is by removing the circumstances that are aggravating the animals- like social alienation, painful attacks by other foreign whales, and

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