The Ultimate Proof That Keeping Orca Whales In Captivity Is Monstrous

Illustration for article titled The Ultimate Proof That Keeping Orca Whales In Captivity Is Monstrous

The oldest known orca whale was spotted this past weekend off the coast of British Columbia. Named "Granny," the grand matriarch is estimated to be 103 years-old. So given the extreme lifespan of these creatures, why do we still insist on locking them up in veritable goldfish bowls?

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Formally known as J2, the orca was likely born some time around 1911; the estimates of her age are based on studies of the family group that began in the 1970s. Granny's pod is the most studied population of orca whales in the world. The lifespans of wild orcas are typically between 60 to 90 years.

The orca was spotted near Vancouver Island this past weekend as she made her annual visit to her home waters.

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"With her age, we're always concerned, you know, whether she's going to come back, you know, for another year. And so everyone's really … you know … it's the first question … is Granny there?" noted Ocean Ecoventure's Simon Pidcock in a CBC article. "And sure enough, she was. She was traveling with the front of the pod with another larger male … so, everyone was pretty excited."

Can you imagine being confined to such a small space for decades and decades on end? It's time to put an end to this exceptionally cruel practice.

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[Via CBC]

Image: Simon Pidcock/Ocean Ecoventures.

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DISCUSSION

thehomeworkogre
The Homework Ogre

So given the extreme lifespan of these creatures, why do we still insist on locking them up in veritable goldfish bowls?

I'm not sure this is an argument against orca captivity so much as an argument for making seniors jump through hoops for tins of fish. There's a whole untapped market out there!

ETA: More seriously, I think "captivity makes them intensely depressed and occasionally murderously so" a much stronger argument than lifespan. We still have tortoises and parrots in zoos, after all.