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Serial Killer Whale?

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Posted on Mar 1, 2010

A marine conservationist from the American Museum of Natural History says of the SeaWorld orca that killed its trainer, “This was not an insane, uncontrollable act. This was premeditated and the whale, for whatever whale reasons, the whale did this ... intentionally.”

There are political implications to that statement from Richard Ellis. One theory for the whale’s fatal attack was that it was driven insane by captivity.

We’re not sure what this guy’s angle is. After describing how safe and domesticated captive orcas have been, he appears to suggest that this whale was just murderous.



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By tdbach, March 3, 2010 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

Samosamo: not true. Virtually all of the Sea World orcas were born in captivity. Indeed, one of the reasons Tilly isn’t being put down - besides sympathies for instincts he can’t control - is that he’s been a prolific stud with much lucrative siring in his future.

I’m not sure why everyone here is so down on Ellis and his very reasonable assessment. Whether you’re for or against captive animal displays, his analysis neither supports nor refutes your case - or more accurately, you could use it to support either position.

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By diman, March 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

Toss him into the same pool with this orca, just to make sure the theory is correct.

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By samosamo, March 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

I dunno, to me this guy in the video doesn’t make more than
an arrogant and ignorant assumption about this killer whale
and especially killer whale intelligence.

I don’t doubt that some killer whales have been born in
captivity but most have not and to take these animals out of
their open environment for public amusement in a prison cell
is unconscionable and what this one did would, as I have
read, been acting as a killer whale would.

As for putting it back in the ocean, I am all for it because it
would not have forgotten how to survive in a natural
environment where it was born.

Just as with elephants and chimpanzees, people have the
arrogance to think animal intelligence is far behind humans
but I say they are wrong because people cannot or will
misinterpret animal sounds(that we can hear) or their
movements and body language except for extreme times of
attack and just think of them as crazy and stupid.

And can anyone tell me how a mainstream media addict can
even come close to having usable intelligence compared to
wild animals.

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By Basoflakes, March 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

Having volunteered as an assistant keeper in a zoo, I don’t see any issue here.  Wild animals, okay, listen close, are WILD.  All wild animals will kill and no one knows when any of them will again.

The only reasons to keep any animal in a zoo/aquarium is if they are near extinct and it is the only way to preserve the species or the animal was abandoned by it’s mother, it was raised by humans and there is absolutely no way for it to survive in the wild.

Zoos and aquariums that exist for showing people animals that they could not see in the wild is a ridiculous notion.  That idea has kept animals in ‘prison’ and resulted in an underground animal trade that in no way helps the animal, which is what should be the only goal, seeing as we are supposed to be the highest animal species here - though I wonder.

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By truedigger3, March 2, 2010 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

That so called “expert”, is full of shit and what he is saying is pure drivel or intetional bullshitting for whatever that “expert”‘s agenda is!!
That whale killed two people in the past, and it and all the other killer whales in captivity have a long history of near misses and one another fatality too, conrary to what that “expert” is saying that the history of killer whales in captivity is almost spotless??!!.

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By SoTexGuy, March 2, 2010 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

It’s the information war surrounding this tragic incident that is most compelling.. the soft-selling by Sea World and many cetacean huggers is perhaps the best (worst) example.

In early reporting (I think on BBC) eyewitnesses describe a classic attack.. the whale exits the water, grabs the victim and shakes her violently then takes her down into the water.

If this had happened out in nature, with a seal or other pinniped or an Emperor penguin as the target no one would be questioning what had happened or the whales’ intentions..

But of course there’s so much more at stake than just the truth.. and everybody has to spin and spin and spin.


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By CHRISTINE CRAFT, March 2, 2010 at 10:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

f r e e   t i l i

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By samosamo, March 2, 2010 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

Man, was the mainstream media ever ready to jump on this bit
human pomposity of some quack trying to elevate him/her self
to charlatan by declaring what is in the mind of another animal.

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By tim tam, March 2, 2010 at 4:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

a predator like tilly is hard wired to kill. it must be very frustrating to be captive and denied hunting and killing for this large sea predator. i give credit to the captive whales for showing much restraint that there have only been a few attacks.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 2, 2010 at 4:21 am Link to this comment

Let it go!

Swimming around in our polluted overfished oceans dodging the Japanese and killer navy sonar should be punishment enough.

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EJH's avatar

By EJH, March 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment

They ought to toss him in jail and, especially if he is
a drug addict, throw away the key.  This orca should to
be grateful he ain’t from Texas, else he’d find out all
about real justice on his way to the electric chair.

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