How can we change the future of the killer whale? Instead of imprisoning the animal we can develope new habitats such as sea sanctuaries which allow up close viewing of the whale without interrupting their migratory path and communication. The whales would then be allowed to enter the ocean where they can safely interact with humans and be able to live out their lives in a dignified and sustainable manner. After all people should pay to see a killer whale be a killer whale rather than a gymnast.
Many conservationists may suggest a bill be passed to release the whales. However the whales held in captivity their entire lives are unlikely to adapt to their natural environment and be accepted into a wild pod or form the proper pod. In the west there is already action taking place to protect the Orca’s of the wild. Scientists are finally being heard and the use of sonar is limited to certain areas where Orca’s are less prevalent so boats won’t interrupt the whales communication and migration. As mentioned before, since the 1970’s most of the captivated whales are born in captivity in order to eliminate the harm caused to whales when being stripped from their native pods in the wild. In regards to wild Orcas the biggest human impact on their well being is overfishing and pollution. Humans and whales are competing for salmon and other predator fish. Commercial fisheries are paid based on the weight of their catch so they objectively set out and scoop up as many fish as possible. We have seen a dramatic depletion in fish stocks over the past century and humans are not the only ones feeling the pain. Whales that rely on the same food source we do find it harder and harder to find their prey. Its important to protect Salmon and other species by protecting marine estuaries, spawning grounds, and taking some weight off the economic value of fish so the stocks can start to recover.
Cleaning our water is also vital to the protection and recovery of aquatic species such as the Orca whale. Plastics and other trash eventually get swept out to sea and are later found clogging the bellies of dead whales and other washed up marine life on coastal beaches. It is rather embarrassing that humans can’t properly dispose of our trash. If humans are capable of inventing and using technology such as iphones and computers there is no reason our empty water bottles can’t make it into a recycle bin. As far as chemical pollution goes, industry is to blame. Offshore drilling and oil transportation has resulted in spills that wipe out large ocean populations. Fertilizers and other run of from our roads, farms, and factories end up in the ocean causing nitrogen and oxygen levels to change in the water which affect smaller species. This eventually creates an imbalance in the ecosystem and contributes to the lack of resources available to the killer whale.
There are many anti-captivity groups out there such as the TakePart foundation that can illustrate the situation clearly and provide easy ways to get involved and help the whales. The media is an extremely powerful tool as most of the world gets their information from the internet or television. There is power in numbers so making the problem public will educate people around and change the way we perceive not only the killer whale, but other animals forced into captivity.