As you may have heard, last week a whale trainer at SeaWorld was killed when a 12,000-pound killer whale pulled her into the water and drowned her. This is the third death of a person connected to this whale.
Some people are shocked, and/or view this as a very unfortunate or sad event, but perhaps this really is not surprising, considering a couple facts:
First, these animals have been taken out of their natural environment. They are pulled out of the vast sea and into limited tanks. Second, such close interactions between humans and killer whales are not typical in nature. Take a look at the first link I’ve posted above. It’s a video and it gives some good examples of interactions between trainer and whale. Do you think such interactions excite or “wind up” the whales, making them more likely to snatch a person?
At marine zoos like SeaWorld, mammals are basically a commodity in entertainment. They serve no aid to research, education, nor conservation.
Some relevant questions:
As these types of deaths continue in marine zoos, should any changes be made? (This is a broad question in terms of where and what kind of change.)
Are employees clearly taking their own risk when working as trainers with killer whales?
Can dangerous marine animals really be “trained”? Should they?