Orca News
Freya (1982-2015 Marineland Antibes, France)

These are news about captive orcas only (with a few exemptions). If you are interested in news about wild orcas, I suggest the fabulous Orca Network!

September 29, 2015:

28-year-old female Unna at SeaWorld Texas is battling a serious fungal infection.

Source: Voice of the Orcas

September 29, 2015:

Look out, SeaWorld, there is a new website out there fact-checking your statements! It is run by killer whale experts Dr. Naomi A. Rose, Dr. Ingrid N Visser and Candace Calloway Whiting.

Source: SeaWorld Fact Check

August 15, 2015:

Three more killer whales have been caught in Russian waters over the past month. Two have been captured by TINRO, the Russian Pacific Scientific Research Fisheries Center, based in Vladivostok in charge of coordinating fisheries research in the Russian Far East (Pacific) waters. The other one was caught by a local team thought to be hired by either by the White Sphere/White Whale/Aquatoria group of companies or by Primorsky Aquarium in Vladivostok which opens its new facility this autumn and is thought to want to exhibit killer whales.

Source: Erich Hoyt

August 26, 2015: Update from a Russian News site with quite horrific details regarding the fate of adult orcas killed during those captures. Apparently all three captured orcas are now at TINRO's Seaside Dolphinarium.

Earlier, captors kept belugas in the sea pens at one the bays of the Chkalov island. Currently, there are two young killer whales owned by TINRO-Center. Yuri Blinov, deputy director of TINRO, said these orcas will provide some research at first, but then they will be sold and more likely to China. - "We can't release such goods back to the ocean!"

At the end of July one more whale was captured, tagged and released to the ocean. But that was done not for scientific research, not at all. Bronnikov A., local businessman says, it's necessary to know where the whales are and how many of them located in the area. "We are in this industry for long", - he added, - "And we vote for import substitution: who needs a captive-born whale from our enemies - Americans? Only wild, only from Far-East!" A price of a wild-caught orca from the Sea of Okhotsk can reach the mark of $15 000 000.

Ph.D. Olga Shpak researches orcas and belugas for last few years. She is convinced, that most part of captured orcas are from the same troubled population. Their behavior and the number of the whales in this population are unknown. "Once we tried to take a sample and we got too close to the orca. Probably we disturbed the whale: it swam closer to our boat and strongly slapped the water surface with its flukes," - says Olga, - "Where is the guarantee that these animals won't harm anyone in captivity, like Tilikum? I won't give that guarantee."

This is not a secret: the capture is a strictly concealed process. While applying for a job in a capture-team, each catcher leaves it's signature in the document which says not to disclose information about the methods of capture. But since there are no secrets to the closest village, local people know their "heroes" and how they "take" the orca from the sea. "Everything is simple: you or an orca. All grown females and males, who tried to save the juveniles from captors, were killed."

Last month, three more orcas arrived to the sea pens at TINRO-Center, where Narnia was kept before. Black shiny noses of young whales pointed at the corner of their "cage", while the air filled with loud and plaintive crying sounds. During the first week of August, a few grown orcas swam close to the shore near Livadia - place, next to the Srednaya bay, where all the captured whales go. Did that pod of adults hear these crying sounds and try to find their lost pod members? Absolutely possible.

Source: Komsomol'skaya pravda (many thanks to Captive Russian Orcas for the translation!

June 20, 2015:

33-year-old female Freya passed away today after fighting an undisclosed illness for several months. Freya leaves behind 20-year-old son Valentin. She suffered four stillbirths between the years 1991 and 2003. Freya was caught off Iceland in October 1982 at about age 1, together with long gone Haida 2, Kim 2, Nootka 4 and an unnamed male calf.

Source: Marineland Antibes' Facebook page

June 3, 2015:

The Miami Seaquarium is finally no longer allowing trainers to work in the tank with Lolita. This comes as result of a citation issued by Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 2014.

Source: Miami New Times

May 31, 2015:

By a landmark bill the Canadian Province of Ontario has banished the breeding and purchase of orcas. Unfortunately this bill does not include 39-year-old Kiska, who remains in solitary confinement at Marineland Ontario..

Source: The Georgia Straight

March 27, 2015:

Former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove has written a brilliant book about his experiences as a killer whale trainer:

Here are great interviews with John Hargrove on National Public Radio and Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.

Highly recommended to learn more about the conditions of killer whales in captivity, especially at SeaWorld.

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