My stance on Killer Whales in captivity is a complicated one. I am very much in support of the Empty the Tanks movement, for I in no way believe that there are any conditions that can replicate a wild environment for a Killer Whale to truly thrive in. However I am torn on the subject of attending marine parks that hold captive cetaceans. The captive killer whales became apart of my life since the age of 11, and so they have been apart of me for over half of my life. I feel a connection towards them, because I have been following the status of each individuals for such a long time now. I have visited a marine park, that has killer whales, every single year since 2003. I have such a love towards these individuals that I wish to see them. But due to the Blackfish movement, its creating a guilt within me that I am supporting the parks by buying a ticket, to satisfy my own selfish needs to see the killer whales I have known for so many years.
However it is very concering to me that between 2003 - 2015, the time frame that I have been actively following the captive orcas, 35 individuals have prematurely died, starting with the 2003 captured Russian Orca and including, Neocia, Hudson, Kalina, Kim 2 , Halyn, Ku, Asuka, Taku and so many others. Many of these killer whales I have even seen in person myself, primarily the Marineland Canada and Marineland France individuals. I have also witnessed the loss of killer whales from Japanese parks, such as Taiji Whaling Museum, Izu-Mito Sea Paradise and Nanki Shirahama Adventure World. Thankfully none of these places have replaced the killer whales which they lost. But unfortunately Russia have been very active in recent years in supplying the captive killer whale population, which is far from ideal.
In the ideal world, I would love if the killer whales could be retired to seapens to live out a life free from the entertainment industry, but unfortuntaley this is unlikely to happen. My hope is that within my life time we will no longer see killer whales in captivity, with the hope of the current population no longer breeding, there being no more captures and the killer whales currently alive will be phased out over the course of their hopefully not prematurely lives. But until that happens, there is still that desire for me to go and see the killer whales I have grown to know. To make my visits more beneficial, I have began to introduce behavioural observations, to make analyses of the killer whales that can hopefully be of aid in the anti-captive killer whale movement.
This may be seen as hypocritical by many, but hey, I am human, as we have a knack for being like that.