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An Inconvenient Truth: Orca Captivity

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Orcas were never meant for a life of captivity — but many still live in confinement. Here’s why that matters. 

There is a poignant clip from the 2013 documentary, Blackfish, that still resounds today. The documentary told the story of one killer whale, Tilikum, who had been housed at SeaWorld for over 30 years. He was involved in the deaths of three people, and became a symbol of the consequences of life in captivity. This part in the story recounted how Tilikum grabbed his trainer’s arm during a “relationship session,” pulled her into the water, and violently killed her. It was an event that rocked the marine park world — but it also wasn’t the first.

Just what have we learned from events like this and the continued practice of orca captivity?

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