The killer question: orcas in captivity

Orcas in captivity
[This article first appeared in TTG]

Graceful, playful and intelligent: it’s easy to see why we’re so fascinated by dolphins and killer whales, and why attractions involving them are so popular.

The Born Free Foundation estimates that as many as 2,000 dolphins, 52 orcas and 37 porpoises (known collectively as cetaceans) are in captivity globally. These include marine attractions in the US, Mexico and Caribbean that attract significant numbers of British holidaymakers.

But animal-rights activists have long criticised such parks and aquariums, claiming that the intelligence of cetaceans means they cannot be kept in small tanks, or trained to perform certain behaviours for food, without impacting on the animals’ mental wellbeing and natural instincts….

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Orcas JPG


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