A Timeline of Injuries and Deaths to People,Dolphins and Whales
illuminates an unpopular truth: that whenit comes to marine mammals in captivity,history is bound to repeat itself. Since 1991four people have died at the hands of orcasin captivity, and there are dozens of othersthat have nearly died over the last fortyyears. When we subjugate these animalsfor our amusement, despite their consistentprotesting behavior, it says more about ourintelligence than it does theirs.In the history of mankind not one orcahas killed a human in the wild, but Tilikum,a 12,000-pound orca in captivity, has beenimplicated in three deaths in his lifetime. Asthe death and injury toll continues to riseat marine mammal parks around the world,we need to think seriously about whatis being learned through the amusementshows that are responsible for almost allof the accidents. The very same behaviorsdemonstrated at marine parks are illegalin nature. It should come as no surprisethat Florida has a growing problem withharassment of marine mammals in the wild,when they also have more live dolphinshows than any other state.There are just as many, if not moreexamples of marine mammals becomingseriously injured or killed in captivity.Among the tragic accidents illustrated here– and this is by no means a comprehensivelist – repeat behaviors and recurringfrequent deaths are clear indicators that thiswill continue to happen unless we rethinkthe role of these wild animals in captivity.
he recent deaths of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheauand Spanish trainer Alexis Martinez, both thrashed bySeaWorld orcas within two months of each other,