Saturday, March 4, 2017

Elizabeth Shares Her SeaWorld Orca Images with the World

At Voice of the Orcas, Carol, John, Samantha and I continue our evidence based advocacy work via writings, interviews, symposiums, consultation, sponsoring legislation, journal articles & Superpod conferences. We also partner up, when we can, with young leaders. 

On 24 February 2010, and as former SeaWorld (SW) trainers, we were compelled to speak out when it became apparent SW was misinforming the public and skewing facts surrounding the death of their star trainer. The captivity giant is also famous for spreading misinformation regarding captive orca longevity, dental health, collapsed fins, social strife and more. Note the rake marks on Amaya's head below. 

Image from Elizabeth shows a fresh and fairly deep rake mark on Amaya's head

Participating in the captivity debate has taken us abroad, and it's been the young people we've met, globally, that give us hope. The younger generation gets it. It gives us great pleasure to link up with students who shifted their dream from "orca trainer" to animal advocate.

Photo by Elizabeth: Shows two collapsed dorsal fins on Keet & Ikaika "Ike" 

This blog features Elizabeth, a young marine biology student who, like us, felt the need to speak up for the orcas at SeaWorld. She does her work of taking high quality still images and videos, with a camera. After this paragraph, we turn the blog over to her, including images she wants you to see and the inspiration for her work. Note that she lives in San Diego and uses her access to the park to collect these photos, all from SeaWorld's California "collection" 

From this view, Corky has no viable mandibular teeth. You can see bore holes and evidence of teeth grinding on concrete. Photo by Elizabeth 


Hi, my name is Elizabeth... 

I was that kid…  Entranced by the lights, the music and the energy that was so thick you could feel it in the air. But most of all I was mesmerized by the raw power of the Killer Whales. As I got older I realized the truth that SeaWorld so desperately tries to hide. 

A fresh rake make (still red in color) is seen on the right dorsal surface of Keet's body (caudal to the dorsal fin) 

I witnessed a very aggressive attack between two orcas that changed the way I viewed them in captivity.  After years of doing my own research on the captivity industry and learning how SeaWorld obtained many of its orcas I decided to take action. I’m currently in school for marine biology to help bring change for these animals. Before I decided to go to school I really wanted to be a SeaWorld trainer. 

The skin covering Nakai's lower jaw has not healed properly since it was scraped or bitten off 

Some may call me a hypocrite... but the way I see it, I was blinded, like many, when it comes to SeaWorld. My goal is to help people wake up. Or at least give them accurate information so they can decide for themselves what they think. 

Rake marks are unusually prominent on this young orca, Makani 

My goal isn’t to have SeaWorld shut down. But to have them cycle out big animals that are not suited for captivity and urge them to do right by "their" animals.  I've collected numerous photos and videos that show the truth. These animals suffer every single day. Collapsed dorsal fins are not “normal” as most trainers would have you believe. 

Fungal infections seen here on Kasasata are caused by stress, in-discriminant antibiotic use and water quality issues, per the Merck Veterinary Manual

Broken and worn down teeth are not “normal."  It’s time we all stand together and put an end to this. Even if you don't have a degree or have any experience, you can still do something to help these animals. Speak up for them at school or online. Go to protests and help sign petitions to end their suffering. 

"We all have a choice to do right by them and we all have a voice to speak for them" Elizabeth 


Another perspective on Amaya's rake marks.   Photo by Elizabeth