Killer Whales in Captivity
Captive killer whales are currently live aquatic killer whales that are held in captivity primarily for conservation or performance purposes, most commonly for reproduction. Killer whales are one of the most endangered species of whales and are protected throughout most of the world except in a few locations. These whales are the second largest predatory fish after the blue whale. This species is the most abundant predator on earth, contributing to the balance of nature in many parts of the ocean. They feed on a variety of different foods including small fish, crustaceans, small sharks and squids.
The population of killer whales has been watched over the years with great interest by scientists and marine enthusiasts. For the last thirty years or so, there have only been a few live births reported from this population. Of course, since the population is so rare, the chance of finding a baby is very low. With that being said, some whales do still give birth and raise their young in captivity. In addition, there is a push by some groups to add the killer whales to the Endangered Species List. If this occurs, it could drastically reduce the availability of these beautiful animals in the wild.
There are several attempts going on right now to preserve these magnificent creatures. Most conservation efforts focus on promoting the capture and rehabilitation of female killer whales so they can be used in reproduction programs. In the past few years, one of these programs resulted in the successful breeding of four pregnant females. It will be quite a few years before this project ends but it is still an ongoing effort. The success of this project led to the capturing of two more female whales this past summer.
There is also a push to end the practice of keeping killer whales in captivity. This practice is often done by groups who use the whales as entertainment. These groups often promote the idea that captivity is not only painful for the whales but also for the people who come to visit the whales. A single whale that is held captive can be severely hurt if it is handled improperly.
There are also proposals to put the California State Department of Fish and Wildlife in charge of taking care of any whale that is held captive. They currently hold four female killer whales that were held at a marine park. They were born in captivity and managed to produce a baby once a year. The whale mom was removed from the newborn calf and was not able to nurse it. This is not the first time this has happened though. There have been other incidents where calves that were born in captivity have not been properly cared for.
This situation is a critical one. There are many passionate groups opposing the idea of holding killer whales in captivity. Some people are concerned about the possibility of these magnificent animals being harmed. The best way to see if something like this is happening is to take a trip down to the Santa Barbara harbor to see the killer whales up close.