Shamu Dictionary!

Anonymous asked: "why are you pro-captivity?"

I could leave a very long response here as to my stance on captivity, but as I’ve said previously, I do want to keep my personal beliefs off of this blog as much as possible, as I want it to be a neutral blog that can be used as a catalog for information on captive and wild killer whales.

That being said, I will leave you with a short response regarding my beliefs-simply put, my personal experiences (which are quite in-depth, short of working for the company) have given me no reason to believe the animals living under human care suffer in any way. In fact, often the attention to detail and care I’ve seen provided for these animals continues to leave me stunned. I’m continuously surprised by all of the little things zoological facilities do for their animals, for wild animals, and for the public that comes to learn about and be inspired by them. 

If you would like to have a more in-depth discussion about my beliefs, I welcome you to send me a private message, so I can respond to it personally, without clogging up the blog with my beliefs.

Thank you! :)

Anonymous asked: "Hi, I was wondering would you know who the main 'shamu' would have been in seaworld orlando around 1996?"

While I’m not 100% sure, I would guess it would be Tilikum, as he sprouted quite early, and would have been roughly 15 or 16 years old in 1996. At the time, he was also the only adult male killer whale at SeaWorld Orlando, as they had lost Kanduke 6 years prior, in September of 1990. Tilikum arrived at SeaWorld Orlando in 1992. 

Anonymous asked: "Are you for captivity or against it. Not judging, just wondering. :-)"

Hey anon! Personally, I tend to take a pro-captivity stance, for a variety of reasons. If anybody would like to question me further on my stance in a respectful manor, you can send me a message off anon (I just ask that it be off anon so I can keep it off of the blog, because on this blog I do try and hold a neutral stance as much as possible!)

Also as a side note: I’m not sure yet when I’ll be able to start posting profiles again, but I am hoping to soon! It’s summer for me now and so I should have more time to do so, I’ll see what I can do for y’all!

posted 3 months ago

rhaenysing asked: "Do you plan to do more profiles soon?"

I hope so, but honestly I haven’t been able to be very active on this blog lately due to school and just being busy in general. I’m the sole person who runs this blog, so it’s tough for me to update it. If anyone else wanted to jump on and help make profiles though I may be able to start getting more up!

Anonymous asked: "What is the name of the valentine baby orca if feb. 2013 last year?"

His name is Makani :)

posted 8 months ago


Baby T officially has a name! 

She has been named “Kamea” meaning “Precious One” in Hawaiian

-Personal note: Ok, so maybe it’s the least original name ever, I mean, practically every SeaWorld killer whale has a Hawaiian name and there are quite a few “K” killer whale names, but I think it’s cute nonetheless, and I like it^^

(Image credit to the SeaWorld San Antonio Facebook page)


Baby T officially has a name!

She has been named “Kamea” meaning “Precious One” in Hawaiian

-Personal note: Ok, so maybe it’s the least original name ever, I mean, practically every SeaWorld killer whale has a Hawaiian name and there are quite a few “K” killer whale names, but I think it’s cute nonetheless, and I like it^^

(Image credit to the SeaWorld San Antonio Facebook page)

thewhaletilikum asked: "Do you have any pictures of Tilikums eye patches?"

I have a few :}


missemeraldeyes asked: "I thought that wild orcas live just as long as humans. I was watching a documentary about killer whales on the discovery channel where a male whale was 50 years old. Orcas that live in captivity live up to their thirties."

Wild orcas are capable of living as long as humans on occasion, though it’s not common. Generally speaking, males live to be around 30 years old, and females to 50 years old. 

It is true that captive killer whales do not yet live as long as their wild counterparts, due to the care of killer whales in captivity still being expanded on and enhanced. 

posted 9 months ago

Anonymous asked: "Have you seen Blackfish yet? Thoughts?"

I have indeed seen Blackfish. While I do attempt to keep this blog neutral in terms of captivity, I will link you to the review I posted on my personal blog, if you’re interested in seeing what I thought of the movie.

You can read my review HERE

Anonymous asked: "why is Shamu on the to be profiled list when he already is? he is Tilikum."

Actually, Tilikum and Shamu are NOT the same whale. Shamu was one of the original killer whales SeaWorld owned. She (yes, Shamu was a female) was the first killer whale to be captured intentionally. She was captured by the notorious Ted Griffin in Puget Sound in October 1965. She was captured with the intention of becoming a companion and potential mate for Namu, whom was captured accidentally in some fishing nets and sold to Ted Griffin. Her name is a combination of the words “She” and “Namu,” hence the name “Shamu.” Shamu was sold to SeaWorld San Diego in December 1965, and she was the first killer whale to survive more than 13 months in captivity. She was also only the 4th captive killer whale, and the third to be displayed publicly. Shamu died in 1971.

You can see more images of Shamu HERE

Her name continues to be used in shows, however, it’s used more as a ‘stage name’ or ‘last name’ for the whales. Shamu was the only killer whale to ever have that name. All of the current whales have their own individual names. Tilikum is Tilikum, not Shamu.

Here’s a bit of vintage footage of Shamu and Kilroy at SeaWorld San Diego:

Also, here’s a clip with a bit more of her backstory:

Anonymous asked: "Actually wild male orcas live to be about 30ish and females live anywhere from about 50-80. Captive whales die early (a lot of the time from infection) a good number of whales born in captivity die before their first birthday."

You are right about the averages for wild orcas, and it’s true that many captive whales have died young (though the average age is steadily increasing as our ability to care for them properly increases), however, it’s actually not true that “a good number of whales born in captivity die before their first birthday.” Most captive born whales survive past their first birthday easily, or at least they do now, so long as their birth and upbringing go smoothly (I.e. They’re not rejected or injured during the birthing process, exc.)

It’s the wild born orcas that have a tough time surviving past their first birthday, which is why they aren’t named until they’ve turned a year old, because the infant mortality rate is quite high with wild orcas, especially first born calves. 

Anonymous asked: "hello! I am Cynthia and I want to ask a question. Was Nalani 6 years old now? or it's 7 years old?"

Nalani is currently 7 years old :} She was born on September 18, 2006

Anonymous asked: "Your views on Marineland Canada? If you have any it's not as big as any of the SW parks lol"

Conflicted, to put it simply. 

I continuously hear bad things about Marineland, and they have an INCREDIBLY rocky past, however, I personally have never gone there, or seen anything myself, so I can’t really give a good honest opinion about it. 

If someone had never been to SeaWorld, with all the bad press they’ve been getting, a lot of people may believe they’re a horrible institution that brutally abuses their animals. I’ve personally seen SeaWorld though, and not just the public areas-with 2 years of Career Camp and doing the Marine Mammal Keeper Experience, I actually cannot think of one area of the park I haven’t seen the behind the scenes area of! (The only exception would be Shamu Stadium, which I have not seen any of behind the scenes) Since I’ve seen SeaWorld’s standard of care, their animals, and talked with various people who work for and care for the animals, I know that SeaWorld does not abuse their animals, and in fact provides extremely good, top notch care for them.

Marineland though, I don’t know. From the pictures I’ve seen, some areas look nice, while others (Especially the areas for their land animals) look like sh*t holes. But again, I don’t know for sure as I’ve never personally been there.

At this point I’ll say that I myself will not be patronizing Marineland anytime soon, but I also won’t be speaking for or against it unless I learn a lot more about it, and possibly see it for myself (but only if I can do that without giving them any money) at some point. 

Anonymous asked: "how long to Killer Whales live in captivity vs the wild? Curious Anon :)"

Hey anon :} Great question!

Currently, if you exclude all of the deceased orcas (Both wild and captive) the average ages of the living populations is:

Captive whales: 17 years old

Wild whales (Using the Southern Resident population, exluding ‘miracle whales’ Granny (102), Ocean Sun (85), and Spieden (80)): 19 years old 

Wild killer whales do live slightly longer than captive whales (currently) and have a lower death rate among mature animals, however, the averages are fairly close. (I just did all of the math out myself, gathering up the current ages of every living captive killer whale and every living wild killer whale in the Southern Resident population-as they are the easiest to obtain the ages of-(With 3 exceptions: Granny, Spieden, and Ocean Sun-due to their extreme ages, I excluded them as I knew they would bring up the average to a less accurate number, as they are the only 3 whales over 80. The 4th oldest is only 48-there are no currently living whales in the Southern Resident population that are in their 50s, 60s, or 70s)

Hopefully that was helpful and answered your question! :}

EDIT (8/27/14): I just read something where someone had taken the ages of deceased orcas from 4-5 different populations (Northern Residents, Southern Residents, Alaskan orcas, and a couple others) and used around 300 individuals to average out the age. Their result was the average age of death was around 35 years old. 

posted 1 year ago

free-the-dolphins asked: "as an anti cap, I'm just curious to know what makes you think captivity of orca (or any cetacean) is okay? I don't mean to sound condescending, I just really want to know the other side of the story. I don't seem to be able to find any decent opinions from the other side of the argument, that isn't just emotional chatter and without any real substance :) thanks"

Hi :) I’m happy to answer your question to the best of my ability, however, before I do I just want to point out that this is one of the few times I will talk about my own personal views on captivity. I rarely do (on this blog) because I don’t want my beliefs and opinions to spoil the overall theme of the blog. When I run this blog, I try to maintain a neutral standpoint regarding captivity, so that no matter who you are; anti, pro, neutral, exc; you can enjoy this blog as much as possible. My opinions are my own and I will not push them on anyone, nor will I talk about them much more beyond answering this ask here. Now that I’ve cleared that up I’d be happy to answer you :)

As a whole, I feel like there are many pros and cons to keeping any animal captive. In the case of orcas and other cetaceans, while I am aware of and acknowledge the cons, I do feel that the pros outweigh the cons.

Obviously two of the biggest cons would be pool size and not keeping family members together. Both of these are not as easily fixed as people may believe, and I feel that the companies that care for these animals try and do the best with what they have. For example, in SeaWorld Orlando, Shamu Stadium, due to state-made regulations, can not be made any larger. So, as a way to alleviate the minimal space, the trainers will often give the animals access to 2+ pools at a time, so they have more room to roam and explore. 

Also, while captivity did start out incredibly harsh, it has advanced immensely in the past few years. The animals receive top notch care, live relatively easy-going lives, and are never forced to do anything they don’t want to (receiving no ill-consequences for doing what they want either) Things like food deprivation, isolation, and physical and mental abuse are no longer practiced in captivity, and in most cases haven’t been for many years. 

In general, I feel that captivity is ok because the animals living in a captive environment have top notch care, are very much loved and taken care of by their handlers and trainers, and are usually provided with as much as they possibly can be in a captive environment. As someone who’s seen these animals in person, and who’s seen a TON of behind the scenes areas (I’ve seen at least 75% of SeaWorld’s animal areas behind the scenes, I can definitely say these animals are not languishing in their environment, as many people believe, and most seem to be perfectly content, with all of their needs being met and more. 

If you, or anybody else, would like to (respectfully) question me further, you may do so here (I just want to keep the pro/anti/neutral opinions off of this blog as much as possible) Thank you! :)