Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Killer whales and surfing dolphins

This story about the killer whale in the Star irritated me. SeaWorld came forth to say that the whale who killed his trainer last week thought the trainer's ponytail was a "new toy" and dragged the woman to the bottom of the pool in an attempt to "play" with her. This whale has seen this woman everyday in and out of the water. He knew her, her hair and probably her scent too. I'm not saying that Tilikum committed premeditated murder, but I think he surely snapped under the stress of being a 6-ton horny bull used to having the oceans as his playground being kept in a little pool and forced to perform tricks on schedule for sardines.

Representing the whale as a child-like creature no more intelligent than a domestic dog, SeaWorld gives themselves license to say, "if it wasn't for that pesky ponytail..." sidestepping the big white whale in the room: the fact that sea mammals are highly intelligent creatures, with unique personalities, deep family ties, used to roam the oceans as they wish and should not be kept in captivity. Did we learn nothing from Free Willy The Cove? Keeping whales in captivity is cruel and wrong. If we want to learn more about them, we don't need to go to SeaWorld -- look no further than in nature.

Photographer Greg Huglin caught these guys riding waves off the coast of South Africa. The fact that dolphins and whales have the mental capacity to "have fun" should make their imprisonment akin to that of a man.

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