A killer whale at SeaWorld in San Diego is recovering from a nasty gash to its jaw that is the subject of a dispute between the park and the animal rights group PETA.
SeaWorld says the 11-year-old killer whale named Nakai was injured during a show last month when he somehow came in contact with a portion of the pool. The gaping hole is so big that Nakai’s jawbone was left exposed.
PETA says an anonymous whistle-blower told them that Nakai was attacked by other captive, angry orcas at the park.
“You can’t keep three young males together in what is, for them a fishpond or a fishbowl,” PETA president and co-founder Ingrid Newkirk told ABC News. “They will have nowhere to go unless they can swim through concrete when they feel aggressive towards each other.”
The animal rights group has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, saying it wants SeaWorld disciplined for not keeping the whales separated as required under the Animal Welfare Act. The law requires incompatible marine mammals to be kept in separate enclosures, PETA said
SeaWorld says veterinarians determined the injury was not a result of an animal bite and provided video to ABC News showing Nakai on the mend. Trainers and veterinarians say they are closely monitoring his recovery and treating him with antibiotics.
“He’s [Nakai] doing very well and interacting with all the other whales and trainers,” said Kristi Burtis, supervisor of animal training at SeaWorld.
Nakai is a killer whale with a violent family tree. Nakai’s father, Tilikum, was the orca that killed a trainer at SeaWorld in Orlando two years ago.
“It’s hard to tell if they’re just playing rough or if these are just aggressive interactions between individuals,” said Robert Pitman of the National Marine Fisheries Service in San Diego.
I'm not really siding with PETA here, but that doesn't just happen. If it was something in the pool, it needs to be addressed. I'm not a usual "save the animals" kinda guy, but those pictures are terrible. I feel legitimately bad for the whale.
^While obviously this is an issue that needs to be attended to, it should be noted that SeaWorld (as a company, as well as specifically at the San Diego park) has been working with killer whales in their shows for over 47 years and this appears to be the first time a major injury has occurred from behavior like this for the whales at the park.
Some things are just unpredictable, and animal aggression is certainly one of those things. SeaWorld shouldn't be blamed for this situation no more than they should be blamed for it raining occasionally. Some things in nature just happen, and there's nothing you can do to prevent or prepare for it.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
I realize that my comment came off as a "this is an epidemic and is going to keep happening at all the park," but wasn't what I meant. I just thought their statement about it came off as "Eh, he just hit something in the pool the wrong way, no big deal." It's obviously is a fairly big deal and what ever caused it should be addressed to avoid it in the future, which is what they could have said.
No need to school me on the history of Sea World and their expertise in caring for animals. Having spent the better part of a decade working at an animal park, I'm aware accidents happen. I just didn't care for their response to it.
^They gear their haunt stuff more to kids now. I was there the last weekend in September and it was the first weekend of their "Spooktacular" stuff. It really looked amazing for kids from about 3 to 10 and they were giving away free candy! You didn't even need to buy an extra ticket or anything, FREE CANDY!
And as far as the killer whale goes that has a giant gash, it wasn't performing in the show but it was definitely active in its area behind the main pool while the show was going on. I feel bad for the guy cuz he just wants to perform. Plus, a trainer was back there with him the entire time the show was going on.
On another side note, I finally rode Manta and I was really impressed with it. I think it is a great addition to the park and the projection screen in the beginning was pretty amazing. Not to mention some awesome pops of airtime throughout the ride. Sea World has definitely improved over the years.
Jimmy "I love free candy" Bo
Do not believe this post!
90% of the time, I am sarcastic all the time...it's science!
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