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Captive Orcas

Orca info & essay

n 1967 [Paul] Spong was hired by the University of British Columbia to study the sensory system of killer whales at the Vancouver Aquarium. "I approached the whales as a clinical experimental psychologist," said Spong, "getting them to do things as if they were no more than laboratory rats." He and co-researcher Don White first measured orca's visual acuity. They found that a young male named Hyak could see about as well underwater as a cat could in air. They tested a young Pacific white-sided dolphin and obtained similar results. "Cetacea's use of vision is probably very specialized," Spong theorized, referring to his 1969 report written together with White. "In the wild, orca probably uses his eyes only to orient himself above water and when auditory information is not enough underwater. Living in the ocean, these social mammals use sound to navigate, find their food and stay in touch with each other. It's a very complex and varied world of sound. And we put them in concrete pools where the isolation and reverberations from their own voices tend to silence them." At the Vancouver Aquarium, Spong began to play sounds to individual whales. From the beginning of his studies, he had discovered that food as motivation was not always enough. A hungry whale might withhold a response as determinedly as a satiated animal. "So we decided to reward Hyak with three minutes of music every time he swam or vocalized, " said Spong. "We used one tone at a frequency of 5 kHz to signal'trial onset'for the swimming and another tone, 500 Hz, for the vocalizing." Hyak began to swim more every day, but Spong and White still had problems getting him to vocalize. After nine months of isolation, his vocalizations had become rare. "We tried playing a tape recording of his own sounds. No response. Then we tried recordings from another whale. Immediately, Hyak began to vocalize. After that, we had no problems shaping vocal responses to the 500 Hz signal. Yet Hyak got bored very quickly -- and we found this held true for Skana and other captive orcas. " Spong drained the last of his beer. "It was far out, mate. We had to keep changing the tunes to keep him swimming and vocalizing." Spong's attitude toward the whales began changing in early 1969. "For more than a year, I'd been working with Skana at the Vancouver Aquarium, but we were 'ust getting to know each other and share physical contact. Skana enjoyed having me rub her head and body with my hands and my bare feet. Spong ordered another round of beer. "Early one morning, I was sitting at the edge of Skana's pool, my bare feet in the water. She approached slowly, until she was only a few inches away. Then, suddenly, she opened her mouth and dragged her teeth quickly across both the tops and the soles of my feet. I jerked my feet out of the water! I thought about it for a minute and, recovering from the shock, put my feet back in. Again, Skana approached, baring her teeth. Again, I jerked my feet out. "We did this routine 10 or 11 times until, finally, I sat with my feet in the water and controlled the urge to flinch when she flashed her teeth. I no longer felt afraid. She had deconditioned my fear of her. And when I stopped reacting, she ended the exercise." It was about then that Spong began to think the whales were conducting experiments on him at the same time as he was on them. "Eventually, my respect [for orca] verged on awe," Spong wrote later. "I concluded that Orcinus orca is an incredibly powerful and capable creature, exquisitely self-controlled

and aware of the world around it, a being possessed of a zest for life and a healthy sense of humour and, moreover, a remarkable fondness for and interest in humans." In 1970, Spong decided to investigate the creatures in their natural habitat. He brought his family to Alert Bay, went out by boat to look for the whales and found them. He started coming up every summer. In contrast to the free orcas, he said, Skana seemed lonely and bored, and her pool looked small. Every time Spong returned to Vancouver, he visited Skana and talked with Vancouver Aquarium director Murray Newman about obtaining the whale's release. The aquarium's position was that releasing Skana after so many years in captivity (since 1967) would be irresponsible because the whale might die without her pod. If she could find her pod, went the argument, would she even be accepted? Asked whether Skana could survive, Ellis said that he believed an ex-captive would have no trouble catching ling cod, at minimum. "It might take her a week or two to adjust, but she could go for a long time on the fat she's got on her." Spong suggested a gradual release programme, staying with Skana until she readjusted to the wild. But both Ellis and Spong admit that it is unlikely that any aquarium 11 consent to free its relatively rare and costly killer whales. More than any other exhibit, the orcas attract the paying customers. By the time I met Spong in Alert Bay in 1973, he had become an outspoken advocate for the rights of all whales and was dropping his scientific pursuits to campaign full-time to save them. Ten years before Spong began working with killer whales, John C. Lilly had begun to study captive dolphins. By 1968, his personal involvement was similar to Spong's, and he could no longer, in his words, "run a concentration camp for my friends." It was Lilly who started people thinking that whales and dolphins might be conscious, intelligent creatures. Through the 1960s and 1970s - the era in which aquariums went from old fish-tank museums to sprawling marine mammal oceanariums and entertainment complexes everyone working with captive dolphins and orcas read John Lilly religiously and talked about " the possibilities. " On the Four Winds that summer of 1973, Lilly's The Mind of the Dolphin was easily the most-thumbed volume aboard. Scientists read him and so did the public. He was controversial, yes, but exciting. Trained as a neurophysiologist, Lilly had begun, in the late 1950s, by mapping dolphins' brains and attaching electrodes to the various brain centres. Many of the first animals died, but one, a certain No. 6, managed to "get through" to Lilly. No. 6 was quick to comprehend the experiments that stimulated his brain's pleasure centres. One day, he began mimicking laughter and other human sounds. Lilly expanded his research to investigate dolphin intelligence. The earlier numbered dolphins gave way to Lizzie, Elvar and Peter. They had gone, literally, from being numbers to becoming friends, individual beings with whom Lilly shared his excitement of learning about another species. In1961, Lilly published Man and Dolphin, his first book on dolphins, about which there is still much debate. The first chapter began boldly: "Eventually, it may be possible for humans to speak with another species." He went on to theorize about how it might be done. The ideal subject would be a species with an intelligence comparable to man's. But how to define intelligence? Scientists have yet to come up with a satisfactory definition. Perhaps the most that can be said is that the development of human intelligence has been critically dependent on three factors: brain volume, brain convolutions and social interactions among individuals. Toothed whales - orcas, sperm whales and dolphins - compare with or sometimes surpass humans in all three areas. Homo sapiens' intelligence is associated with his hands and, specifically,the opposable thumb. Speculating on the nature of whale intelligence, Lilly wrote that "without benefit of hands or outside constructions of any sort, [whales and dolphins] may have taken the path of legends and verbal traditions, rather than that of written records. " Whales and dolphins are sonic creatures. Perhaps their brains function as giant sound computers. Zoologist Roger Payne of the New York Zoological Society and his wife, Katy, began recording humpback whale songs in 1967. After more than a decade of research, Payne wrote in National Geograph'c: "So far, the study of humpback whale songs has provided our best insight into the mental capabilities of whales. Humpbacks are clearly intelligent enough to memorize the order of those sounds, as well as the new modifications they hear going on around them. Moreover, they can store this information for at least six months as a basis for further improvisations. To me, this suggests an impressive mental ability and a possible route in the future to assess the intelligence of whales." Analyzing tapes made each year, the Paynes discovered that the whales constantly change their songs, "which sets these whales apart from all other animals," according to Roger Payne. "All the whales are singing the same song one year, but the next year, they will all be singing a new song." The Paynes

found that the whales change their songs gradually, from year to year, incorporating some of the previous year's song into the new one. Over several years, the song evolves into something completely different. Lilly's dolphin research provides other evidence of Cetacea's sound abilities - although critics challenge his interpretation of the data. Lilly found that the bottlenose dolphin could match numbers and durations of human vocal outbursts and could even mimic human words and simple sentences. But their responses were often speeded up and sometimes beyond the limit of man's hearing. It seemed logical to Lilly that since sound travels 4 1/2 times faster in water than in air, dolphins would process and send sound at about 4 1/2 times the speed that man could and would also use a frequency band about 4 1/2 times that of man's. Lilly, therefore, simply slowed down the tape to decode the dolphins'responses. Eventually, he came to believe that they were trying to communicate with him. They would vocalize out of water - a concession to man, according to Lilly, something rarely done in the wild or among themselves. Lilly also cited the persistent efforts of individual dolphins to imitate various human sounds--laughter, whistles, Bronx cheers and even certain simple human words. Captive killer whales also seem able to reproduce a wide range of sounds, some of them humanlike. A talent for mimicry is probably important for their survival in the wild. Like the young of many birds and primates who mimic their parents, shaping their "accents" to fit the groups' norm, orca calves probably mimic their pod-mates to perpetuate a set of signals unique to their social group, by which they could recognize one another at a distance. Orcas at the Vancouver Aquarium, according to Spong, seemed as eager as Lilly's dolphins to interact with man. Spong said that they would vocalize at him out of water, and when music was played to one of them, the srenaded whale would come over to the side of the pool, lift its head out of the water and then turn it slowly from side to side as it oriented to the sound.

What's best for Tilikum now, and what have we learned?

The terrible tragic death of veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau at Sea World Florida has suddenly generated a nationwide public examination of our feelings about captive orca shows. We've now seen the harm they can do even to compassionate humans, and the mental distress captivity can cause in the orcas. Google shows at least 6,892 articles on the trainer's death. No other single news event has brought out such a groundswell of emotions doubting the ethical wisdom of using captive orcas for entertainment. Now that we've had a few days to digest the multitude of facts and opinions, what have we learned about orcas, and what's next for Tilikum? What happens to the orcas, so exquisitely evolved to move great distances in vast surroundings as lifelong members of complex social worlds, when they are removed from their natural settings and families, or born in concrete bowls, and confined for life in minuscule, featureless cells? Sea World had special operating procedures for Tilikum. Because of his involvement in two previous deaths and his unpredictable temperament, no trainers were allowed to get in the water with him. As an unrelated male among matriarchal females he was bullied and shunned by the other orcas and was usually kept separate from them. Chuck Tompkins, SeaWorlds curator of animal behavior, said the park's female killer whales typically want Tilikum around them only when they are sexually active. Brancheau was one of the few trainers allowed to even get near him, and by all indications had been giving him quality time and attention for at least a decade. Her sessions with him must have been very important and emotionally charged for him.

On February 24th Brancheau had been interacting affectionately and intensively with Tilikum for possibly a half hour, making sustained, enthusiastic eye contact and giving signals for all sorts of behaviors that he performed obligingly. She was stretched out on a 4-inch deep ledge on the edge of the pool, as close as she could possibly get, when he grabbed her, possibly by her ponytail, and pulled her into the pool. "Rescuers were not able to immediately jump in and render assistance to Brancheau due to the whale's aggressive nature," says a report released Thursday by the Orange County Florida Sheriff's Department. "She was recovered from the whale by SeaWorld staff members after the animal was coaxed into a smaller pool and lifted out of the water by a large scale/platform." Brancheau's cause of death was "most likely" multiple traumatic injuries and drowning, the report says, citing autopsy results. Many have assumed that Tilikum attacked Brancheau, acting out of pent up frustration from decades of confinement, domination and isolation. Others have suggested he was playing with her like a toy, or was holding on to her body as a trophy. It's not clear whether drowning Dawn Brancheau was a hostile act or Tilikum's desperate attempt to grab and keep a companion. There is a striking similarity in the three deaths he has taken part in: in each case he kept hold of the deceased and refused to allow the body to be taken away. If we've learned anything about orcas after almost four decades of field research, now worldwide, and the entire history of captivity, it is that orcas need companionship. They bond with their families for life, through good times and bad, and share their food with family members even when starving. In captivity they tend to form ad hoc bonds and swim in unison, always attuned to one another, always communicating. Human companions seem to be the next best to the real thing, and when offered quality time by caring humans they often build trusting relationships, as many a veteran orca trainer will confirm. It's plausible to say that after years of extreme isolation Tilikum has become neurotic, obsessive and mentally disturbed. He never learned how to relate normally and safely with orcas or humans, at least since he was plucked from his mother's side as a youngster and thrown into a life of domination and rejection by strangers, both orca and human. Brancheau showed great compassion and empathy for Tilikum, but she may have underestimated just how messed up he was. At this point there may be no good options for Tilikum. Sea World will probably not allow staff to get anywhere near him from now on, although he'll still need dental and other medical procedures so that may be problematic. Certainly nobody will be allowed to get as close to him as Brancheau was. Sea World is now under new ownership, the Blackstone Group, whose theme park subsidiary is Merlin Entertainments, which has a public policy in opposition to captivity for cetaceans. This incident may force the new owners to decide about the future of Sea World. If they choose to keep Tilikum, they'll have to isolate him more than he has been ever since his capture in 1982, which could tip him further over the edge and make him more hostile or suicidal. If that happens SW will suffer a massive PR hemorrhage and could lose their primary stud as well. The par's days will then be numbered in a climate of very bad will, and the new owners will be responsible. Retiring Tilikum to a bay pen in Iceland (hopefully also conducting field research there to locate his family) would build good will for doing their best for him. But such a courageous decision would also be the beginning of the end for Sea World as we know it. Not only is he their breeding male - even with his 13 progeny orcas in captivity are dying faster than they're being born - but successfully retiring a captive orca would set the precedent that has long been feared by Sea World. Keiko proved that even after long-term captivity an orca can regain his strength, catch his own dinner and thrive in the ocean, but since his death the whole project has been declared a failure in the media.

We humans with our relatively tiny brains and short evolutionary history are in no position to judge the actions of orcas, much less make plans for them, but at this point a management decision will have to be made about Tilikum's future. It's an open question whether i's too late for him to ever return home. Not only is he emotionally unpredictable but his teeth are mere nubs after years of gnawing on gates and being filed down to prevent infections, which could make it hard for him to catch live fish. His sad predicament and the hard choices now facing Sea World present the company with perhaps their greatest challenge ever.

Death of Sea World Orlando Orca Trainer The tragic death of a veteran trainer at Orlando Sea World from an apparent attack, according to witnesses, by Tilikum, a male killer whale captured from Iceland in 1983. demonstrates the hidden costs of captivity for these highly social mammals. The 30 year old male orca is likely the largest captive orca, weighing in at 12,300 pounds and 22.5 feet in length. In the wild, orcas travel 75 to 100 miles per day, and live in close, socially-bonded pods. Providing a suitable, humane, captive "habitat" for a wild mammal such as an orca is virtually impossible given their size, intelligence, social needs, and the need to be constantly swimming and diving. There have been previous cases of captive orcas becoming depressed to the point of being suicidal from the stress of living in captivity, often isolated from other orcas or forced to live with orcas from other communities. In the wild, orcas have never been known to attack or harm a human. Tilikum has been involved in two other incidents resulting in human death. In February of 1991 at Sealand of the Pacific, Canada, Tilikum and two other orcas were involved in an attack on 20 year old trainer Keltie Byrne after she slipped and fell into the whale pool. She was dragged across the pool and repeatedly submerged. After that incident, Tilikum was moved to Sea World Orlando in 1992, where he has been kept primarily as a breeding male, with little involvement in the whale shows. In July 1999 a man entered Orlando Sea World and hid, then apparently removed his clothing and entered the tank with Tilikum during the night. A dead, naked body was discovered in the early morning, draped over Tilikum. As the primary breeding male for all three Sea World parks, Tilikum is a very valuable asset to Sea World, as captures of orcas in the wild have virtually been stopped and the population of captive orcas has been going down in recent years. Tilikum should not be euthanized or punished for behaviors brought about from confinement by humans; and after 27 years of captivity he should be given the chance to retire to an ocean sea pen in his home waters of Iceland to live out the rest of his life. This incident is a reminder that orcas should be left to live their lives in the wild, and not taken from their pods, forced to live in tanks and perform tricks to entertain and provide income for humans. The education provided about orcas by marine parks is presented in a setting that demonstrates human dominance over the animals, and masks the true beauty, intelligence, and power of orcas in the wild. Observing orcas in the wild, or learning about them from multi-media means such as IMAX movies, video, and websites provides a better education about the true nature of orcas, and is better for both the orcas and humans involved. Orca Network has worked for decades to return Lolita, or Tokitae, the only surviving Southern Resident orca in captivity, back to her home waters of Washington State to retire after spending nearly 40 years in a small tank at Miami Seaquarium. More information can be found at .

Orcas of the Salish Sea Part I

he black dorsal fin slices up slowly with barely a ripple. First it rises about a foot above the surface. Like a submarine's periscope, it travels straight ahead for twenty feet until the mighty stroke of the adult male's flukes lift six feet of dripping, wavy fin into the air. A huge torpedo-shaped head pushes out just far enough for a loud burst of air out the blowhole and a quick suck to refill the orca's lungs before it arcs silently back into the depths. It's J3, a male over 40 years old, rising to breathe beside his family. His mother's sister plows up next to him to heave an explosive blow, followed by three more generations of J pod orcas, all closely related and inseparable their entire lives. J3's age is documented from photos taken in the first years of demographic field research in the mid-1970's. Several females are much older, however, including two, J2 and K7, both estimated to be over 90 years old. Wispy clouds of vapor linger high over their heads as they pass a hundred yards from the lighthouse at Whale Watch Park. One of them suddenly twists in tight circles pursuing a large salmon. The others dive into the kelp, rubbing the long soft strands along their backs and into the notches of their flukes as they check for salmon hiding in the shadows. Above them the snow-whitened Olympics stand watch over this vast inland sea, glowing with red-orange hues in the early morning sun. The orca, or killer whale, is a wondrous and impressive creature by any measure. For millions of years there has not been a predator in the sea that can touch Orcinus orca, the largest member of the dolphin family. And yet, there is no recorded case of a free-ranging orca ever harming a human. Even when orca mothers are violently pushed away with sharp poles so their young can be wrestled into nets and loaded onto trucks, they have never attacked a human being. When seen in movies like Free Willy, or doing tricks at marine parks, it is easy to see that they often show extreme responsiveness, even affection toward humans. Having little else to do in captive situations, they often initiate playful interactions and engage in mind games with their keepers. When encountered in their natural marine environment, however, their behavior is much different, much less interested in human affairs. Though always mindful of boats large and small, they tend to simply continue traveling, foraging or socializing with one another, as though thoroughly engaged in the complex social life of their families. Occasionally, however, some may pass surprisingly close to a boat as if to inspect the passengers as they glide with masterful ease through these vast estuaries. The Southern Resident Orca Community Dr. Michael Bigg, who pioneered field research on orcas in the early 1970's, designated the orcas found in southern BC and Washington the "Southern resident community," to distinguish them from the 200+ members of a separate orca community found in northern BC waters. From April through September, the three Southern resident pods, known as J, K and L pods, usually travel throughout the inland waters of Puget Sound, the Northwest Straits and Georgia Strait in British Columbia. To simplify describing their habitat, this 300-mile long inland waterway is increasingly known as the Salish Sea. From October through June, K and L pods tend to disappear to parts unknown, while J pod often continues its activities in the inland estuaries. During winter months Salish Sea orcas are seen along the outer coasts of Washington and Vancouver Island. but recently the Orca Network Sightings Network has revealed that K and L pods are also often found in lower Puget Sound during winter. Orcas usually swim from 75 to 100 miles every 24 hours, but it is not known how far offshore into the Pacific Ocean they may travel. They continually provide surprises to scientists. On January 29, 2000, approximately 50 members of K and L pods were spotted in Monterey Bay, California, feeding on salmon.

The Salish Sea orca community is an extended family comprised in late 2006 of just 86 members. Traveling in multi-generational pod groupings centered around females, they appear to be led by elder matriarchs. The twelve adult males, almost forty adult females and about forty juveniles under 12 years old are all capable of swimming at speeds of 30 mph. Each individual has been identified with a specific alphanumeric designation, such as J1. After each newborn has survived its first year they are also given more familiar-sounding names, such as "Luna" or "Samish." When Southern resident pods join together after a separation of a few days or a few months, they often engage in "greeting" behavior. Ritualized formations of each pod face one another for several minutes, then gradually merge into active groups, each consisting of members of all three pods, accompanied by intense underwater vocalizations and spectacular "play" behavior. Until field studies began over 30 years ago, very little was known about the lifestyles or abilities of these powerful and elusive animals. As a species, orcas have the widest global range of any mammal except humans and may be seen in all types of marine ecosystems, but their highly varied communities, unpredictable movements, and the fact that they spend about 95% of their time under water have made them difficult to study. Today, however, thanks to the dedication of whale researchers a picture is beginning to form of the highly refined physical adaptations and social sophistication of this remarkable species. Because each animal has unique fin shapes, markings and color patterns, they can be individually identified by sight or photograph and thus the movements and behavior of each member and group can be studied over long periods of time. As a result, we now understand a little more about the long-term relationships that characterize their families and societies, and about their extraordinary abilities. When studies began in the 1970's researchers in the field often found groups of orcas made up of a few adult males, clearly identified by their tall dorsal fins, accompanied by four or five apparent females with much smaller dorsal fins. It was generally assumed, based on studies of other marine mammal species such as sea lions, that the males aggressively assemble a harem of females, and that sooner or later someone would see the males battle each other or the females for dominance or mating rights. A few years of close observation went by and yet aggressive behavior never occurred. Instead, some of the whales assumed to be females grew tall dorsal fins and became obvious males, but remained in association with the females and other males. The realization dawned that many of the "females" were actually juvenile males, and that even after they became adults they stayed close beside their mothers. At first there was some understandable reluctance to accept this new view. No other mammal known to science maintains lifetime contact between mothers and offspring of both genders. Transient Orcas That revelation helped resolve another observationsometimes observers found small groups of unidentified orcas separate from the large pods of known orcas. On rare occasions even solitary males were seen. Early on, it was assumed that these were outcasts, or the losers of battles for dominance. Once it was understood that there were no outcasts from the resident pods, it was determined that these small groups were actually members of a totally separate kind of orca, dubbed "transients," with radically different lifestyles. Whereas residents specialize exclusively on eating fish, especially Chinook salmon, transients hunt only marine mammals for their sustenance. Thus competition for food between the two types of orcas is virtually eliminated. Residents and transients don't mix, nor do they interbreed. Indeed, they are well on the way to becoming separate species even though they inhabit the same waters. This discovery (called sympatric speciation), like lifetime bonding of both male and female offspring with their mothers, is unheard of in the biological sciences. About 190 transients have been photo-identified so far, any of which may pass through the Salish Sea at any time, but are more commonly seen in the spring and fall. Transient pods are typically comprised of only two to five whales, usually found skulking silently around rocky shores near the haulouts of acoustically aware seals or sea lions. All transient orcas along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Mexico are believed to use similar vocalizations, indicating they are all members of a single, widespread community. First-born transient males usually stay with their mothers for life, whereas second-born males tend to break off contact with their mothers and either travel with other transients or remain solitary, in order to keep their pod size small enough to stalk wary marine mammals. Juvenile transient females have also been known to leave their mothers, but in at least one case, a female returned to her mother after giving

birth to a calf of her own, indicating the family's emotional bonds had not been broken even though mother and daughter were separated by more than a thousand miles for several years. Orca Dialects In the early 1980's, Dr. John Ford formulated the results of ten years of listening in on orca conversations. Ford discovered that each orca community has its own distinct set of characteristic calls. The transients and residents, for instance, speak different "languages." It is believed that every orca community around the oceanic globe uses its own, completely unique, set of calls. Orcas are highly communicative, and the ability to distinguish themselves using the calls of their particular family group is essential to their survival. When maintained in marine parks they retain their native calls for life, even while they learn new calls from fellow captives caught from other communities. To hear Southern Resident orcas as they forage, echolocate, and vocalize, go to the Cetacean Research website.

Part II
By 1990 researchers had established that female orcas average over fifty years longevity and can live for eighty or more years in the wild, while males average around thirty years and may live to around fifty or sixty. A great deal of experience and knowledge may reside in orcas of advanced years, and is passed down through generations. Female orcas and humans along with few, if any, other mammals, live 3 or 4 decades after their reproductive years. This "post-menopausal" lifespan is believed to be crucial to maintaining cultural values and traditions. As with humans, the wisdom of the elders is essential for the stability and well-being of the entire community. The Social Life of the Orca Some of the most interesting questions about orcas concern their social and cultural behaviors. Each community so far studied shows tremendous originality in their habits and social systems. Their diets, feeding strategies, patterns of movement, and of course their communication systems, vary widely between communities. Cetologists are just beginning to look at the differences in cultural adaptations between orca populations, and are coming to the realization that we are dealing with mammals that are capable of culture in the form of traditions and rules of behavior, much like us, and that meaningful communication may guide their behavior. According to a recent paper called Culture in whales and dolphins, published in the Journal of Behavioral and Brain Sciences: "The complex and stable vocal and behavioral cultures of sympatric groups of killer whales (Orcinus orca) appear to have no parallel outside humans and represent an independent evolution of cultural faculties." There are probably less than 50 distinct orca communities worldwide, with the total number of individuals only about 30,000, most of which are tentatively classified as either residents (fish-eaters) or transients (mammal-eaters). All orcas travel over fairly large areas, but residents tend to frequent a specific territory and return with some regularity to the same areas. Resident pods usually include ten to twenty individuals and seem to eat only fish. Such generalizations are only preliminary however, and as results emerge from studies of orca communities around the globe new surprises are sure to follow. Like resident communities, transients sometimes come together to form large groups of up to twenty or more. Aggression of any kind is extremely rare among orcas of either type. They seem to truly enjoy their time together. Lifelong fidelity of offspring allows long-term stability and continuity of behavior. Yet another community of orcas, believed to number around 300, was discovered in 1991. Known as the offshores, these whales are usually found in groups of from 15 to 75, along the coastal Pacific waters of North America from California to Alaska. Little is known about their behavior or association patterns, but like every other community so far studied, offshores share a distinct repertoire of discrete calls, completely unlike those recorded from other communities. Orca Consciousness Like all whales, orcas have brought their breathing under conscious command. They rest by relaxing one hemisphere of their brain while guiding their swimming and breathing with the other half, often while swimming slowly in tight family groups. Orca brains are enormous, over 4 times human brain size with a

highly developed and convoluted neocortex, an association area responsible for sophisticated cognitive processes. Consciousness correlates with the degree of complexity in the nervous system, and the structural complexity of the orca brain appears capable of supporting a degree of consciousness that could allow culturally acquired, meaningful communication. Language? The vocal repertoires used by each community of orcas are distinct and unique from group to group, and every member of any given group uses the same set of calls. It is also clear that there are significant differences in behavior from group to group, so linguistics is highly correlated with group behavior. That indicates the behavior is mediated by the vocalizations, meaning the cultural rules for behavior are communicated by vocal expressions. Those rules appear to determine cultural traditions such as diets and mating patterns, and lifetime group cohesion. Of course orcas need to successfully find food and reproduce, so ecological or energy considerations are crucial. Those requirements are accomplished as a group, through cultural traditions. Sometimes essential problems may not be successfully solved (at least from a human vantage point), as in mass strandings, but it seems to be a decision-making process adhered to by the entire group, with vocalizations playing a key role. Overall, it appears orcas use a communication system we might as well call language. According to reports from marine parks, ovulation is quite unpredictable among female orcas. Once the 72-day cycle begins it follows a normal mammalian course of events, but the onset of the cycle is independent of any external factors, including presence of a male, other females, temperature, food intake or annual seasons. This peculiarity indicates the possibility that conception may be a matter of conscious choice. In the wild, such a choice may be subject to social controls, but in captivity trainers impose new demands, which may help explain why captive females give birth at much younger ages than tradition-bound, free-ranging orcas. A New View of the Orca Over the past 50-plus million years the order Cetacea has filled the seas with over 75 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises, each radiating into its own ecological niche, together forming a complex and harmonious diversity. Some, like the blue whale, have grown extremely large while other species shrank to just a few feet long. Some adapted to foraging in shallow seas and even fresh water, and some learned to dive and find sustenance in the deep abyss. Whether in warm seas or cold polar regions, having teeth or gigantic filter-sieves to strain minute plankton from the currents, each species has survived by specializing to use an unexploited niche, rather than challenging and conflicting with one another. Orcinus orca has followed that pattern by specializing on specific prey and thus apportioning available resources between communities, thereby avoiding competition and conflict. Long ago the ancestors of the Southern resident community specialized their diet to devour only fish rather than seals or sea lions. With up to forty members in each pod, and a tendency for all three pods to gather together in "superpod" events, Southern community orcas depend on massive runs of a wide variety of salmon species streaming into the Salish Sea and milling at the mouths of rivers, each exquisitely adapted to its own seasonal niche in each stream and river. Historically there were always plenty of salmon varieties and huge runs of most of them providing year-around sustenance for the orcas, but now only a few salmon stocks of significant size return to spawn, and the orcas appear to be going hungry for much of each year. Resident orcas now share their range with approximately 5,000,000 industrial age humans, a dramatic increase in two centuries from about 200,000 hunter/gathering people who inhabited the region for thousands of years. The fate of our local orcas, and all other killer whales around the globe, is inextricably linked to the health of marine ecosystems. These intelligent and resourceful creatures will do well as long as the basic food supply on which they depend is available. Orcas are at the top of the food chain so all the other sea creatures from krill to sea lions must prosper if the orcas are to survive. Here in Washington State and British Columbia, our marine water quality and healthy salmon runs are crucial to the presence and survival of the Southern residents as well as the transients.

According to Dr. Bernard Shanks, former director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, if we restore our watersheds, we will create the conditions needed not only for salmonids, but the entire wild community, including orcas. Watershed habitat, including mountainsides of deep forests and clear streams, must be viable for a wide range of plants and animals including large populations of spawning salmon. Without year around abundance of salmon, the Southern resident orca community will have to find another place to live. If we care responsibly for our natural environment in the years to come, our lives will continue to be enriched by knowing that we share this watershed habitat with the magnificent and mysterious orca.

General Information
ORCAS (Orcinus orca) are marine mammals: they are warm blooded, air breathing, and bear their young alive. They are found in all the oceans throughout the world. The most persistent sightings have been near the continental shelves off Japan, the North American Pacific Northwest, Iceland, Norway, Scotland and Antarctica. However, nowhere are their populations very large. There is only one species of orca, however geographic isolation may have created different unique races and populations. Near the Washington, British Columbian and Alaskan coasts we know that there are at least two distinct races of orcas. These are referred to as Transients and Residents. Even though these two groups share the same ocean space they differ in their social habits, range, diet and to some extent even their physical appearance. In recent years a third population, the Offshores, has been discovered living along this coast. Not much is known about this group, as sightings have been infrequent. We do not know if they represent another unique race or another community. The study of Orcinus orca is relatively new. Prior to 1964 there were few systematic, scientific investigations of orcas. Their lives as ocean animals made studies difficult for researchers. There was also a very negative attitude toward orcas, who were considered, at best, as a nuisance to the fishing industry and at worst as vicious predators deserving extermination. After the first attempts to capture and display live orcas, in the mid 1960s, public attitudes began to change and scientific curiosity was heightened. The failures of the early captures did not deter the rash of subsequent captures. The easily accessible populations along the Pacific Northwest were hit the hardest. Throughout the latter part of the 1960s and in the 1970s, many whales were taken for the quickly growing captive industry . Many died during capture attempts. The result was that nearly 70 whales were removed permanently from this population. Most devastated was what is known today as the Southern Resident Community. All this happened before any real understanding of this whale population had been acquired. Public awareness and concern about these captures forced the Canadian government to assess the size and nature of the orca population. There had been the perception that there were thousands of orcas in these waters. In the early 1970s the Department of Fisheries and Oceans hired a young scientist, Dr. Michael Bigg, to organize, conduct and evaluate a census. Dr Bigg quickly concluded that the population was actually only a few hundred at most. Soon after, when he and his colleagues moved into the field, he developed a photo-identification method for identifying and keeping track of individuals within the orca population. Dr. Bigg recognized that individuals could be identified by the unique markings on their dorsal fins. These markings, nicks, notches, or tears, proved to be reliable indicators of identity.

By taking photographs of the dorsal fin, Dr. Bigg and his colleagues at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo B.C. and at the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbour, Washington, were able to identify each individual orca. After compiling thousands of photographs of the orcas of British Columbia and Washington State, they were able to define the composition of the orca population. Each individual was assigned a number and as well an alphabetical letter which designated the individual's pod. This alpha-numerical system, and yearly photographic updates, has enabled researchers to keep track of pod members. Orcas are the largest member of the dolphin family, Delphinidae. Males grow to a maximum length of about 32ft (9.8m) and weight of 10 - 11 tons (9 - 10,000 kg) Females are smaller and grow to a maximum length of about 28ft ( 8.5m ), weighing as much as 7 -8 tons (6,500 to 7,500 kg). Calves at birth are about 8ft (2.4m) long and weigh about 400lbs (180 kg). Orca bodies have distinctive black and white markings. Both females and males have similar markings except on the underside, where it is possible to distinguish male from female. The dorsal fin also distinguishes male and female adults. In the mature male the erect dorsal fin may reach a height of 5 1/2 ft. (1.7m) but the female dorsal fin grows only to an average of 3 ft. (0.9m) Orcas are one of the toothed whales (Odontoceti), as are other dolphins and porpoises, pilot whales and sperm whales etc. Orcas have 10 to 13 pairs of interlocking conical teeth in the upper and lower jaws, usually a total of 48. Sperm whales have teeth only in the lower jaw. Orcas use their teeth primarily for grabbing prey. The number of rings within the teeth (anuili) may indicate how old an individual orca is, until about 30 years of age, when discrimination of new rings becomes difficult. No one knows for sure how long an orca may live for, as the species has only been intensively observed since about 1970. However, studies show that for the Resident orcas along the Washington and B.C. coasts, females live an average of 50 years and may live as long as 80 years. It is not clear why, but males live significantly shorter lives, on average only about 30 years... and may reach a maximum age of 50 years. The oldest males in the Pacific Northwest study area are estimated to be just over forty years old. The mortality rate of newborn orcas is still unclear, but it is almost certainly quite high. Bigg et al estimated that it might be as high as 43% but did not have a lot of confidence in this number as the sample rate was so small. Largely, it was based on expected rates of reproduction and the pregnancy rate of large numbers of orcas killed by "small-type" whaling in the North Atlantic.

Residents - Social Structure MATERNAL GROUPS: Orcas are very social animals. They live in small nuclear and extended families that we call pods, clans and communities. At the social heart is the orca mother. She and her children (the maternal group), even her adult sons, stay together throughout life. If a mother is alive and she has no surviving sons, she too may be found swimming with her daughter and grandchildren. Adult daughters who have their own offspring may separate from their mother to some extent in order to take care of their children's needs, but will usually be found travelling nearby. Female orcas may start reproducing as early as 11 years of age, but the average is closer to 13. Young maturing orca females may become "babysitters" in preparation for the later responsibility of mothering. Although babysitting (alloparenting) occurs between other individuals of the maternal group - e.g. male members or grannies also babysit - it may be a first indicator that a young female will soon have her own

offspring. In her lifetime, a female may expect to have 4 to 6 offspring and will stop reproducing after about forty years of age, although there are exceptions to this ( A23 had a new calf in 1992 when she was estimated at 45 years old ). The gestation period is about 17 months and we believe that births often occur in the Fall or Spring. On average males begin to mature around 12 - 14 years. This period is marked by rapid growth in the dorsal fin, which up to this point has resembled a female fin.As the dorsal fin grows it begins to straighten out and lose its earlier curve. This growth is called "sprouting". Young males of this age are also often seen in the company of older males. When growth of the dorsal fin and body stabilize around twenty years of age, this individual is now considered socially mature and his sexual advances may be taken more seriously by female orcas.

PODS: Beyond the central maternal groups, the pods are extended families of closely related mothers that are daughters, sisters or cousins, and their children. A pod can be defined as those orcas that are usually seen travelling together. For Resident orcas of the Pacific Northwest a pod may number from around 5 to 50 individuals. Pod continuity extends across generations. As individual lives are long and changes to pod composition are slow, development of new pods can take a long time, possibly many generations. Because resident orcas are such social animals, it is not unusual to see large numbers of maternal groups and pods come together and share the same area. CLANS: Orca "clans" are defined in terms of the acoustic traditions of pods within an orca community. Pods which share common calls belong to the same clan. Separate clans are composed of pods which do not share calls. In the Northern Resident Community, there are 3 clans: A, G and R. There is just one clan in the Southern Resident Community. Pods from separate clans commonly socialize with each other within the community, even though they do not share calls.

COMMUNITIES: In Washington and British Columbia the Resident orca pods form two distinct Communities: Southern and Northern. These two communities total about 300 individuals (just over 200 in the Northern Resident and over 90 in the Southern Resident group). The Northern Resident Community has 16 pods, whereas the Southern Resident group has three main pods. All these pods are comprised of a collection of different maternal groups. The whole community is a support system for each individual, everyone is there for each other. Overt violence or aggressive behaviour between individuals, even among males, has never been observed. Instead, orca society is marked by co-operation, co-ordination, communication, trust and acceptance.

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE OF PACIFIC NORTHWEST RESIDENT COMMUNITIES: These two communities, despite their close geographic proximity, have never been observed to mix with each other. Nobody understands why this is so. Roughly, the Southern Residents' summer range is the waters surrounding Puget Sound, San Juan Islands, Southern Vancouver Island, the Gulf islands and the Sunshine Coast of B.C. The Northern Residents' summer range is from Campbell River on the east coast, and just north of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island, to just north of the Alaska- B.C. border (north of Prince Rupert). Typically, these groups are seen from May to December within these ranges. We do not know where they spend their time in winter, though it is not likely to be far distant. Nor do we know the dynamics of "off-shore" orca populations which have begun to be documented in this study area.

Since the early 1990s, more than 200 of these orcas have been identified, but their social organization, geographic range, and other specifics are largely unknown.

Residents - Behaviour RESTING: Orcas most commonly rest in their social groups while swimming slowly (2 knots or less) close together, closely synchronizing their breathing. Orcas also rest quietly while lying almost motionless on the surface of the water, usually with other members of their immediate family close by. They are very quiet during these rest periods, emitting just a few, short, discrete sounds. Resting at the surface may last for a few moments or for quite long periods of time, even hours. It often seems as if one member of the group will remain more attentive then the rest. Sometimes the young calves have difficulty remaining as still as the adults. After a while the frequency of the short calls increases until finally one whale gives a louder "wake up" call. Then the activity within the group will pick up and the group will travel onwards, rest over.

TRAVELLING: When orcas are "travelling" the group members are all headed in the same direction and are usually distanced not far from each other. Travel speeds vary from about 3 to 12 knots. Sometimes when the group has traveled long distances to reach a desired area there are periods of silence interspersed with periods of intense vocal activity. The Northern Resident Community whales generally arrive in the Johnstone Strait area from the north. As they enter into the Strait they seem to "announce" their arrival to the other whales that are already in the area. These "announcement" calls may have been preceded by complete silence until the orcas enter into Johnstone Strait proper. When large groups of whales arrive and head into the area there is often a lot of intense vocal activity. At these times there is a great deal of excitement, both for the whales and the human listener alike. FORAGING: In the summer and fall seasons the whales take advantage of the abundance of the annual salmon runs, so there is a lot of feeding (foraging) behavior. Although orcas generally fish individually, they probably coordinate their movements as a group to maximize their chances for success. The group ( whether it is a small maternal group, several maternal groups or several pods) usually spreads out over an area. Together they will move in the same direction. Quick, brief changes in direction indicate that a whale has located a fish. In other places in the world, such as Norway, orcas have been filmed cooperatively hunting herring by forcing the fish into a tight ball after startling them. Then, by using their flukes, some whales in the group stun the fish while others take the advantage and feed.

In other places orcas have "pushed" fish into shallow waters to allow other members to feed. Sometimes orca behaviour is molded by the different types of salmon present. Sockeye salmon tend to swim in the cooler depths, which encourages the whales to make longer and deeper dives. The Chum salmon, however, swim closer to the surface in large schools which get caught up in the strong tide rips. In the Fall it is not unusual to see large groups of whales "working" one of these tide rips, spending hours shallow diving, picking off fish one after another. The large Chinook (Spring or King) salmon stake out their own individual areas. They like to be near to the rocky crevices along the shoreline. When the orcas

locate one of these fish the chase is on. Sometimes the fish evades the whale and manages to hide in a crack. The whale does not give up easily and will worry over the spot for quite a while, even trying to flush out the fish by undulating his or her body up and down in an attempt to make travelling waves. Other group members may help out by doing a similar movement. Remarkably, orcas suffer very few serious abrasions during these efforts. Occasionally, a whale will even chase a salmon right onto the shore in shallow water and then have to wriggle back into deeper water! The whales may or may not be vocal during foraging, but usually there is some vocal activity as they keep in touch with each other. There is an increase in the use of echolocation clicks as orcas zero in on prey fish.

SOCIALIZING: Orcas are very social animals. During the summer season, when they are observed the most, they spend many hours intermingling with one another... with other maternal groups, with pods from the same clan and with pods from different clans. In the Northern Resident Community, preceding the arrival of a new group, one of the more frequent user groups may leave the area in order to "escort" the new group into the area. As they enter Johnstone Strait the whales often pause in their travel. Other orcas in the area may come toward the arriving groups, and together they may (often after an intense vocal period) all go quiet, rest on the surface and socialize with each other. This latter state may include spy-hopping (where the head is thrust out of the water), rubbing bodies together, full breaches (where the whole whale jumps free of the water), fluke (tail) and pectoral slaps, and deep diving. Sometimes these same behaviors are exhibited by the whales coming to greet the incoming whales, but they calm down when the groups near each other. On these occasions the greeting whales may turn around before the visiting groups and travel ahead of them. Either way, the whales will usually sort themselves into their maternal groups and then all head in the same direction. For the Northern Resident orca, after they resume travelling, they will most likely head for the Robson Bight area and the Rubbing Beaches beyond. These Rubbing Beaches are a unique feature of the area. Though whales have been observed rubbing in other shallow areas, their use of these particular beaches is very consistent and well documented. It seems to be an important part of their traditional use of the Johnstone Strait area. The beaches are covered with small, flat, round and smooth stones. The whales dive, blow out air as bubbles to lessen their buoyancy, and then skim their bodies over the stones. Sometimes several whales will use the beach at one time, but they will also take turns, waiting a short distance offshore for their turn. This activity brings the whales very close to shore. Again, they may or may not be vocal as they are rubbing.


The Transient population of the Pacific Northwest has been identified as a distinct race. Their range encompasses the same waters as those used by the Resident Communities of Washington State, British Columbia and Alaska. No one understands how these two races developed, but most likely they have been genetically separated for over 100,000 years. Perhaps the last Ice Age brought about geographical separation... which encouraged separate breeding, and cultural and feeding traditions which have remained constant or evolved differently since that time. Physically, the two races are very similar but there are some differences. The top of the dorsal fin of Transient orcas tends to be more pointed than that of Resident orcas. Less obvious, the saddle patch ( the grey pigmentation along the side & behind the dorsal fin ) is further forward on Transients. The real difference between the two races is in their behaviors and habits concerning their food preferences. As mentioned, Resident whales prefer a diet of fish, and in the summer months almost exclusively salmon. This is why we can predictably watch the Resident populations in key locations along

the coast during the salmon season (when the salmon are travelling to the rivers to spawn). Transients, however, prefer to eat marine mammals. The Transients cruise the coastal waters in search of their prey. Transients have been known to feast on Harbour seals, Sea lions, Dall's porpoises, Harbour porpoises, Pacific Whitesided dolphins, Grey, Minke and other whales. Their hunts are highly co-operative and coordinated efforts. Sometimes a hunt will take just minutes and at other times they last for several hours. Transients employ several hunting strategies. A lot of the time Transients travel around silently in small groups. This perhaps enables them to listen intently, lessen their presence in the water, and sneak up on their prey. The prey Transients are after have well developed skills of their own and are difficult and unwilling victims. So Transients have to use many different strategies to be successful. Once, a couple of Transients were observed slipping in behind one of the coastal ferries, and used its noise to mask their presence before springing on a group of unsuspecting Dall's porpoises. At other times a Transient may breach on top of a prey suddenly, confusing the animal while another Transient goes in for the kill. It is even thought that Transients will modify their blows and echo location to confuse their prey. Young Transients often seem to "practice" on sea birds, which they usually spit out rather than consuming. Not as much is known about Transient social organization because the sightings are far less frequent than those of the Resident groups. They do not seem to have a predictable "season" where they can be followed. Sightings are opportunistic and may occur at any time of the year. One theory suggests that large groups of Transients may enter an area and then disperse quickly to various locations. So they may in fact have a higher degree of social organization than first believed . The Transient maternal unit is not fully understood. Young Transient calves stay with their mums for at least their early years . But unlike Residents young Transients might disperse from the maternal group and take on a more independent life fairly early on. It is not rare for lone Transient male orcas to be sighted. Though relatively little is known at this stage, Transient dispersal might represent a coordinated scheme which allows them to take advantage of prey. A larger social description is also very sketchy. Transients do have times when they get together in large groups. There have been a few sightings of twenty or so together. At these times the Transients have resembled Residents... spyhopping, rubbing each other, resting, and even very vocal. Transients and Residents have never been known to mix socially. In fact Transients seem to avoid any contact at all. If they happen to be in the same area the Transients will cross to the opposite shore, duck into a bay and wait out the Resident passage, or even leave the area entirely. There have been only a few occasions where Transients and Residents have been vocal at the same time in the same area. There has been one witnessed direct confrontation between these two groups. For the most part, however, the two groups seem to have have resolved their differences by having little or nothing to do with each other. Being in the same area probably holds no advantage for Transients. The Residents are probably far too noisy for a successful Transient hunt.


Communication lies at the core of orca social awareness. Family members are seldom out of hearing range of one another. Their calls, as loud as a jet plane's engines, echo over many miles in the ocean. Everyone knows where he or she is and where everyone else are. Given the strength of their attachments to each other, this must have a very calming effect on them. Communication is an essential ingredient of the glue that brings harmony to the orca community. Orcas make three types of vocalizations: clicks, whistles and pulsed calls. The clicks are part of the whale's sonar and are used for echolocation: for finding and locating food sources, for defining other

objects in the ocean and locating the whale in its environment. Whistles are typically continuous tone emissions that may last for many seconds. Calls, simply put, are pulsed signals which have discrete patterns that can be recognized by ear and by spectrogram. They are the main component of the orca communication repertoire. Dr. John Ford categorized the discrete call types for the orcas of Washington State and British Columbia. He discovered that each pod has its own collection of calls which he referred to as their "dialect". He was then able to define larger acoustic groups or "clans" by grouping together pods which share common calls. Only pods which share common calls are part of that clan. The Northern Resident Community has three clans, whereas the Southern Resident Community has just a single clan, as do the Transient orca of this coast. There is variability within call types, even for different maternal groups within pods and clans. This is a useful tool for identifying groups in the absence of visual identification e.g. at night or from remote locations. It has also been used to identify the pods and communities of orcas captured in the 1960s and 70s. The differences in vocal call types between clans does not seem to inhibit the various maternal groups and pods within a community from coming together and socializing. The role of these calls is not precisely known. However, the different calls are certainly a way for the whales to keep track of each other over large distances, in the dark, or when large congregations occur. Though it has not been demonstrated, there is certainly potential for communication of complex specific information in calls. Sometimes groups are very vocal and at other times the groups may be silent. The calls are not necessarily modified in sound level to accommodate whales travelling close together.

the FRIENDLY killers Killer whales, or orcas - from the Latin for 'lower world' - were named to reflect their renowned predatory nature. So why in New Zealand do so many divers report close and seemingly safe encounters with these creatures? Wade Doak investigates While concentrating on the viewing prism of his Hasselblad camera, veteran photographer Warren Farrelly heard a weird sound. He had just taken a shot of a paddle crab amid vivid jewel anemones, and was waiting for the camera's twin strobe lights to recharge, with their shrill electronic whirr. But the sound he heard seemed to come from elsewhere. Was it his ears squealing because he had not equalised properly? He continued taking pictures until his film ran out. Then he began to worry about the sound. It rose as the strobes recharged and reduced as they reached full power. It seemed to mimic the sound pattern his strobes were making, but where was it coming from? Slowly, he realised it was behind him. On turning round, he came face to face with four enormous, motionless orcas. "The middle pair were close enough to touch. I just stared." After a few moments, they departed. Possibly they had become bored without the sound of the recharging flashes to mimic. As they left, Farrelly noticed that they didn't seem to disturb the water in the least, something others have also remarked on. "I left the water feeling incredibly clumsy but touched by magic," he said. This is just one of an extraordinary sequence of curious encounters between orcas and divers in the waters off New Zealand. Several episodes of friendly interaction between orcas and boats have been reported. There was the female orca who rested her head on a stern platform to be stroked, and the filmmaker who obtained footage of three orcas headstanding in the shallows. And in separate incidents divers have entered the water to release orcas that have become enmeshed in nets. But the in-water encounters would almost be beyond belief - had they not occurred on several separate occasions. On one occasion Peter O'Donnel was completing a day's lobster diving. As he surfaced, he called to his friend, dozing in the boat about 150m away. Just then his foot hit something solid. He knew that the reef was too deep for it to be rock. "I hesitated to look," he said. "Whatever it was took hold of my flipper. I peered down. A great black-and-white thing was hovering there, vertical in the water, stock still. No sound or bubbles. I couldn't believe my eyes. After about 10 seconds it just opened its mouth, slipped back and vanished in the murk." He hovered in the water as the orca started swimming towards him, coming at him from different angles, gliding by at touching distance. Next it repeatedly reared up out of the water alongside him, arching over. "By the time my boat reached me I had been with the orca for

about eight minutes. I had given up on life," he confessed. "I just knew it was going to eat me. "Thinking it over afterwards, I had a strong feeling that something really alien - this incredibly strong mind - was trying to communicate with me, and I'm fairly sure now that it wouldn't have hurt me." Jim Skenars and Thelma Wilson were scuba diving off New Plymouth, North Island when a 4m orca began circling them less than a metre away. It seemed to be inspecting them, one at a time. "It gave the impression of curiosity, not at all threatening," said Skenars. "Thelma was able to run her hand down its side during one pass." Todd Sylvester was working as a biologist at Leigh Marine Laboratory when he surfaced after a dive to find an orca about 5m long, 9m away. To be on the safe side he dived to the bottom, seeking cover. As he looked over his shoulder, however, he saw that the orca had followed him down. "Thinking it was just a chance encounter, with me going in one direction and the orca in another, I swam faster, but to my horror the orca followed me. "Things got infinitely worse when the orca opened its huge mouth - rows of white teeth greeted me, just centimetres from my flippers. The orca then sped up and put its mouth around my right foot, ankle and flipper, but at no stage did it close its mouth and bite me." Sylvester managed to pull his foot out of the beast's cavernous mouth, but the orca swam forward and this time engulfed his left foot with its mouth, but still didn't bite. "As well as pulling my leg out from its jaws (I was swimming on my back), I 'kicked' the orca off with my other foot. "I was pretty agitated, but not actually panicking. Part of me thought I was going to become whale-fodder, the other part hoped the orca was just playing with me." Each time Sylvester kicked the whale off, it returned to repeat its little game, at no time biting the foot. After about the sixth "mouthing" Sylvester had had enough. He dived quickly to the bottom and didn't see the orca again. Several of these amazing accounts were published in a New Zealand diving magazine. It was hoped that the next diver to meet a friendly orca would be less frightened and perhaps respond in a more positive manner. Gary Longley and two companions sighted eight orcas out from Tauranga. When a male-female pair acted inquisitively, Longley thought of the article and decided to enter the water. One of the pair glided below him, then tilted a little and stared up. It circled twice, before hanging suspended less than a metre away, looking at him. Then, as had happened to previous divers, it took the end of his fin in its mouth. "I recalled the magazine accounts and I felt less afraid," said Longley. Twice more it gently mouthed his fin, with no attempt to bite him, before the pair swam off. Encouraged by this safe outcome, Longley returned to the boat for a thawed bait fish. "Lifting my head above water, I saw a big fin coming towards me. Silently the two orcas cruised by, eyeing me closely. On the next pass, I waved the fish at them. Slowly one approached and mouthed it very gently, its massive teeth only centimetres from my slightly trembling hand." The baitfish was rejected as the orcas swam away without taking it. They came back however, again passing just as close, and nudging at the fish. "Everything went dark, as the beast gracefully swam within an arm's length," remembers Longley. "There was no turbulence, as I would have expected. Yet it was enormous." After several circuits, the orca pair continued on their eastward journey, ending the 10minute encounter. Nobody really knows why the New Zealand orcas seem keen to make contact in this way. Are they offering us a gesture of trust, in the way that dogs and dolphins will mouth a human hand? Have we been underestimating the intelligence of these large and fascinating creatures? According to brain scientist Dr Peter Morgane of the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in Mass-achusetts: "All the neurological evidence is not in yet, regarding the whale brain and intelligence. However, enough is known to lead us to believe we are dealing with special creatures with remarkably developed brains. "Major riddles of nature and relations between species may indeed be answered by the study of these brains, and these opportunities may die with the whales if we do not act now." The fascinating behaviour of New Zealand orcas continued to be reported. Following the earlier accounts, Patrick Kavanagh and companions came across a pod of five orcas eight miles north-east of Whale Island, Bay of Plenty. Two females, who were apparently trailing the rest, appeared to be very inquisitive and repeatedly approached the boat which Kavanagh was in. He decided to join them in the water. "One swam straight towards me and very, very slowly passed beneath, lying on her side. As her eye levelled with mine, she momentarily stopped and seemed to rise slowly to within an arm's length of my face. I remember her large dark eye moving up and down as she looked at me." Her curiosity satisfied, she moved on and swam up to the other whale. They both then hung in the water at the surface, side by side, but facing opposite directions. Kavanagh observed closely from about 10m away. After a while, the first whale turned and headed slowly towards him. "I noticed she was swaying

slightly from side to side as she approached. I must admit I was a little worried when only a metre away she showed no sign of stopping. "She was very deliberate in what she was doing and finally stopped literally just a few centimetres from my face. I was very tempted to touch her, and indeed if I had just nodded my head, I would have, but I didn't want to spoil things." Instead he decided to get a photograph, so after a few seconds "that seemed like hours", he slowly backed off so that he could get more than just black in the shot. This seemed to break the contact for she moved slowly away and rejoined the other orca who was still in the same position, some 10m away. Again they hovered, this time nose to nose. No sound was heard from either, but after a good 20 seconds in this position the second orca dived underneath the first. It then did exactly the same as the first had done: the same swaying and the same slow approach, and stopped the same distance from Kavanagh's face. "I got the impression that the first had given the second the OK to come and have a look at me," he said. After a few seconds, this whale moved off and, together with the first one, slowly dived and was gone. Kavanagh climbed back on to the boat speechless, and scarcely believing the experience that he had just had. The whales stayed nearby, and made many close approaches to the boat. At one stage the first female swam by on her side with her mouth wide open. In total that day, Kavanagh and his friends spent around two and a half hours with the orcas. It is something that had a profound effect: "I find it hard to express the emotions I felt after this, but can only say I had a multitude of feelings, all of them good." In 1994, my son Brady met orcas in the same marine lab area as biologist Todd Sylvester. When Brady slipped into the water with his bulky video camera, four whales made repeated passes, barrel-rolling as they swept by, as if to examine him more easily. Thinking they had departed, Brady stopped the camera. Soon after, he felt something nudge his left fin. "Looking down, I was astonished to find a large female gently holding my bright yellow fin in her teeth as if to say: 'Here I am, dummy!' I learned my lesson and kept the camera rolling from then on." A large black cloud was blocking the setting sun and it was getting very dim in the water. But on the seabed 10m below, Brady could see white bellies flashing and suspected the whales were up to something. Snorkelling down, he found two females and a juvenile rolling belly up, apparently rubbing their heads in the sand. He made repeated dives to try to see what was going on. The whales would go up to the surface to breathe, then return to the same spot to continue their peculiar activity. On his last dive, he got right down among them and saw a small ray erupt out of the sand from near their heads. Too short of breath to stay and see what happened next, Brady returned to the surface. He feels fairly sure that the whales were trying to scare the ray off the sea floor. But why? "I have no idea if they were playing, trying to teach the young one or show me something," he said. "We returned to the shore in darkness, excited and elated." When Brady compared this video footage with material from a previous orca encounter in the same area, he was delighted to discover that the same female who mouthed his fin had eyeballed him closely three years earlier. "Hi dummy!" From DIVER - August 1999



On August 8, 1970, Lolita was swimming with her family pod through Admiralty Inlet on their way to a gathering of all Puget Sound's resident killer whales. Superpod congregations are typically ceremonious for the whales, but it turned out very differently... The entire community of about 85 resident orcas was driven into Penn Cove, Whidbey Island. Four baby whales and a young mother drowned in the capture,

and seven very young whales were sold into the entertainment industry. Of at least 45 whales removed or killed during the capture era, only one survives ... alone ... in a Miami marine park. About a dozen of her family members that survived the captures are still alive and well in the Salish Sea of Washington State and British Columbia. There is an active campaign to reunite Lolita with her home waters and, if possible, with her family. First contact could be by cellular phone / satellite link, then, if she deemed healthy, she could return home to her native waters. Lolita was born around 1966 - she's believed to be the oldest orca in captivity. Killer whales in captivity tend to die in their youth, but if she comes back to her home waters she could live to fifty more years of age. She has been alone since 1980, when a young male from her community of resident orcas died in the tank with her. Lolita, first known as Tokitae, is still bobbing listlessly in the oldest, and smallest, whale tank in North America. Whether the tank meets the federal standards is heavily disputed. In April 1996, Lolita's stadium was closed for a long period of time to repair the worst. In November 2005 the park had to close once more after heavy damages during the hurricane season. We believe it is abusive to keep her there. Over 35 years of field research on the Southern Community of resident killer whales, the clan from which Lolita was taken, indicate that she will successfully re-adapt to her home waters, physically and socially. The species' natural condition is to always maintain peak physical conditioning - they swim actively day and night - and in all probability her family will recognize her and will assist her to rejoin them. If for some reason she is unable to return to her family, she will be cared for in perpetuity. She could have a chance to be in her natural habitat again. There will be coordinated preparations for a temporary rehabilitation seapen in Penn Cove on Whidbey Island. The seapen may become permanently available for rescue and rehabilitation of marine life. The late Dr. Jesse White, who selected Lolita in 1970, said she was "so courageous, yet so gentle." Her perseverence is remarkable, but how much longer can she survive in isolated confinement? She needs help, now. The involved projects are seeking further funding to demonstrate to the public and the marine park industry that there are better alternatives than captivity for Lolita. Informational campaigns can be costly, and with the logistics of a return to home waters it all adds up to a large and complex project.

Lolita's Life:
Lolita is a female killer whale (orca) and she was born in the Pacific Ocean in 1966 or 1967, making her about 43 years old. At a young age, she was captured from her pod, near Seattle, Washington, on August 8, 1970. In this capture, eight young whales were taken for aquarium displays and five drowned in the thick rope netting. It was the largest whale round-up in history! Late at night, the five orcas that died were hauled on deck by capturemen, slit open, filled with rocks, and suck into the ocean. The bodies mysteriously washed ashore in November 18 of the same year, causing public outcry and resulting in the banning of orca captures from Washington state.

ocals were shocked by the brutality of the whale round-up. Some people even protested that the animals be released, but to no avail. "The sounds they made were we what we really noticed. What you really felt were the cries of both the small ones and the adult ones. I remember one day I stopped close to them with my children and they

kept saying, 'Why are they crying? They're crying.' It just broke your heart, and you kept wanting them to let them go, quit harassing them." ~Lila Snover, witness to the capture "There was a group of people that even contemplated going out in small boats in the dark and try and cut the nets and set the orcas free but they were being guarded all day and all night by people on the boats with rifles. They would pretty much shoot anybody who showed up and tried to free them." ~Barbara Stevens, witness "It was terrible. It was just terrible. It was like a prison camp; it was awful. And I think everybody that remembers it will tell you that. It was just one of the most horrible things I've witnessed in my life. I became dedicated to orcas in general and Lolita in particular since that day." ~Lila Snover In September of 1970, Lolita arrived at the Miami Seaquarium, a small South Florida marine park. She was purchased for $6,000. Lolita had been named Tokitae, meaning Beautiful Lady/Shining Waters, by her veterinarian, Dr. Jesse White, upon capture. (He had come across the word at a book store in Washington when he was selecting her from the netted animals.) Her name was changed, by trainers, because she was seen as a mate for the Miami Seaquarium's older orca. It is derived from the 1955 book Lolita.
Lolita was placed into a barren, circular concrete pool, at Seaquarium, that was just 20 feet deep at the deepest point and only 35 feet wide. The tank had previously housed three Pacific White-Sided dolphins. Makani, one of the dolphins, remained in the tank with her, until her death in 2001. The other orca, Hugo, was a large adolescent male, captured from the same pod, two years earlier. He was being kept in a tank that is so small, today holds manatees. It was referred to as The Celebrity Pool. According to his trainer, Ric OBarry (the same man who trained the dolphins for the Flipper TV show), Hugos tail curled over at the cement bottom, because it was so shallow. OBarry quit shortly after Hugos arrival, feeling that it was ridiculous to keep a grown killer whale in a tank that size. In fact, the young man went on to become an animal activist and now works to free captive dolphins, rather than capture them.

Lolita and Hugo were kept separate, as Miami Seaquarium officials thought they would fight. They squealed through the air to one another, between their tanks, which were about 500 feet apart. On June 2, 1971, they were brought together. Miami Seaquarium staff hoped they would mate. Lolita and Hugo did mate and Lolita supposedly gave birth several times (according to the St. Petersburg Times). Unfortunately, Lolita never bore a live calf. Not to mention, the two orcas ended up being rather aggressive toward one another. Construction was done to add gating to a back part of the pool. Now, it resembled (and still does) a fish shape, with a tail in the back and round part in the front. Hugo and Lolita were frequently separated, especially to perform. Hugo died in 1980 of a brain aneurysm, possibly from ramming into tank walls. Since 1980, Lolita has not seen any other orcas. Miami Seaquarium has housed bottlenose dolphins, Pacific White-Sided dolphins, a pilot whale named Christmas Cookie, and at least two Risso's dolphins named Tiaka and Ganky. A majority of these animals have since died.

She still lives in the same tank at Miami Seaquarium that she was placed in after capture.
The seven other orcas captured with Lolita (named Whale, Winston, Lil Nootka, Jumbo, Clovis, Chappy, and Ramu 4) died long ago. Her pod, the L-pod, is studied daily by researchers and is the focus of The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, WA. Note that Lolitas mother Ocean Sun (pictured below) is still alive in the wild. She is around 80-85 years of age and travels with another orca named Alexis, as well as her calves.


The contents of this proposed draft proposal are submitted for discussion and revision in the assumption that we are all reasonable people, with valuable backgrounds, resources and perspectives for achieving the goal of moving Lolita from Miami to her home in the Pacific NW. Every word and number in this draft is open to discussion. The underlying assumption, evident throughout this draft proposal and the entire Lolita Retirement Plan, is that all progress hinges on the owners of the Miami Seaquarium signing a legal contract to allow, assist and fully cooperate in every aspect of the plan. Well need the sustained and willing assistance from trainers, veterinary staff and park management. This proposal is intended to be the basis for substantive discussions and will be subject to suggestions and revisions by representatives of the Miami Seaquarium, the scientific advisory staff of the Lolita Retirement Plan, and officials involved in permitting processes.

In the spirit of collaboration to bring about a shared outcome, I submit this draft Lolita Retirement Plan for your consideration. Howard Garrett Co-founder and president of Orca Network

The Lolita Retirement Plan

Executive Summary: How to safely return Lolita to her home waters

All concerned parties agree that Lolitas well-being is of paramount importance. This proposal will set forth:

That all phases of transporting Lolita to a well-prepared, professionally supervised rehabilitation and retirement facility in a protected inland cove in her native waters will provide the best prognosis for her long term health and safety;

That a major national public relations outreach program describing Lolita's move to Washington waters, combining free news media with publicity paid by the Lolita Retirement Plan and the Miami Seaquarium, will ensure positive recognition and publicity for the Miami Seaquarium;

Details of the step-by-step process of preparation, transportion, rehabilitation, and readaptation to Northwest marine conditions. The plan will also describe the contingencies by which any consideration may be made to allow Lolita to return to her immediate family, L pod, and her extended family, the Southern Resident orca community.

Proposed procedures for retiring Lolita to her native waters

Background and introduction The orca known as Lolita (first called Tokitae) was captured in Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, Washington State, on August 8, 1970. She was part of a group of seven orcas captured for sale to marine parks. Recent information from a biologist present at the capture indicates that she was probably 2 or 3 years old at capture. There is irrefutable evidence that she was, and remains, a member of the Southern Resident Orca community. After capture Lolita was sent to a whale stadium at the Miami Seaquarium, where she joined a juvenile male named Hugo. Hugo had been captured at an estimated three years of age from the same orca community in February, 1968, though there was no knowledge about orca communities at that time. He died in March of 1980 of a brain aneurism. Since 1980 Lolita has not come into contact with any other orca. Several Pacific white-sided dolphins and a Japanese Risso's dolphin and at least one sea lion have shared the whale stadium pool with Lolita from time to time. It is reasonable to assume that Lolita was exposed, through shared water sources, to pathogens potentially carried by other captive dolphins and pinnipeds at MSQ or by humans or her food supply. Lolita is an extraordinary orca. As described by Dr. Jesse White when he chose her for the Seaquarium, Lolita is "courageous, yet very gentle." Her longevity as a performing orca is remarkable, in part due to the consistently high quality diet, medical care and activity regimen provided by the Seaquarium, and her immersion in chilled, natural seawater. Lolita continues to vocalize in the unique calls used only by her family and community, indicating that she retains her memories of her days prior to capture. These memories may also be a factor in Lolitas longevity, and bode well for the prospect that she could successfully recall, and readapt to, her native habitat with the likelihood of enhancing her life-span, and potentially reintegrate with her natal society. It is hoped that all involved parties can share in this great adventure. Photographic and historical records show that Lolita was a member of the population described in 1975 as the Southern Resident community (SRC). Unlike any other mammalian species known, this orca community experiences no dispersal or recruitment, except by birth and death. Thus it is a genetically and behaviorally unique and intact extended family that has been intensively studied consistently since 1973.

14 female members of the community who were present at the time of Lolita's capture in 1970 are still alive, three of which could possibly be her mother. The SRCs association patterns, genealogical structure, maturation rates, birth rates, longevity and mortality rates and habitat usage patterns are photographically documented on a daily basis by the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island, WA ( Those data provide the foundation for studies conducted by federal and state agencies and other organizations and researchers. In 2001 a landmark paper was published in the British Journal of Behavioural and Brain Sciences called Culture in Whales and Dolphins, by Rendell and Whitehead. The authors conclude that: "The complex and stable vocal and behavioural cultures of sympatric groups of killer whales (Orcinus orca) appear to have no parallel outside humans and represent an independent evolution of cultural faculties." For the past 36 years Lolita has performed reliably, entertaining countless visitors to the Miami Seaquarium with her immense power, her graceful performances and the trust and cooperation she demonstrates with her trainers. She has proven to be exceptionally robust, outliving by over two decades all of the more the 45 other orcas from her community that were captured within three years before or after her capture. Since 1987, when Lolita became the last surviving captive from her community, she has represented a unique opportunity to examine the strength and durability of the memories and communication systems of Orcinus orca. Various research projects were proposed at that time and in following years to engage Lolita in a communication experiment to test those abilities. It would be technologically feasible to facilitate two-way communication between Lolita, in the tank in Miami, and her family members along the west side of San Juan Island, to test the level of communication between them. Since 1993 a broad-based constituency has formed that is aware of Lolitas situation and is dedicated to her return to her home waters. Worldwide, a consensus has developed that the capture of wild orcas for marine parks causes permanent harm to the animals and shortens their life spans, resulting in a de facto moratorium on further captures. Despite breeding programs, the overall captive orca population has decreased from about 55 in 1989 (at the time of the last capture program) to approximately 46 today. This downward trend indicates that no replacement is likely to be found for Lolita when she dies or leaves the Miami Seaquarium. Summary of retirement plan Beyond general acceptance of the merits of Lolita's retirement , Seaquarium staff are needed for pretransport preparation and research, all stages of transport, and for Lolita's care in her retirement facility, in part to reduce stress and enhance Lolita's confidence and trust. Seaquarium staff will also be invited to examine the retirement facility in advance of transport to advise on any particulars of the facility or procedures. The best results will come when all principle parties effectively collaborate in the planning process. This proposal asks that the Lolita Retirement Plan, in partnership with the Miami Seaquarium and other professional marine mammal care personnel, make arrangements and preparations to transport Lolita to a seapen to be constructed in a protected cove on San Juan Island. There Lolita will be medically supervised, provided with the same fish diet she is accustomed to and cared for. If deemed advisable by scientific and veterinary personnel, Lolita will gradually be provided with live fish, first consisting of the same diet she is accustomed to while slowly testing her responses to salmon. Eventually she may be given a chance to swim greater distances. If needed, she will be provided with sustenance, medical care, training regimens and human companionship for her remaining years. As a prime mover in this well-publicized retirement project, the Miami Seaquarium would gain immensely in highly positive and free publicity by publicly facilitating the retirement of the whale that has been identified with the Seaquarium for over 36 years. The following proposal provides details of all phases of Lolita's retirement to her native waters. There is no significant risk involved in any phase of this project. In fact, remaining in the undersized tank in Miami presents a far greater risk to Lolita's health than proceeding with the transport and placement in a retirement baypen in her native waters.

It is important to note that transport of orcas by air is a normal practice among marine parks and has never resulted in any harm to an orca. Also important is the successful return of Keiko to Iceland, where his health improved and his energetic activity increased immediately upon his immersion in his native waters. Lolita's Retirement Plan Proposal A. The goal 1 The primary goal of the Lolita Retirement Plan is to relocate Lolita to a rehabilitation/retirement facility in an ocean water seapen in a protected cove in her native habitat in Washington State. Kanaka Bay, on the west side of San Juan Island has been selected for Lolitas pen. In 1976 two orcas were held in Kanaka Bay for three months prior to release. Throughout the transport and relocation, and as long as she remains in human care, she will continue to receive high quality food and medical care. The rehabilitation phase will be considered accomplished when Lolita demonstrates satisfactory metabolic strength and medical parameters, including a healthy diet, longer dive times and sustained power swims. 2 The secondary goal is train Lolita for gradual open water exercises with progressively longer boatfollow training (based on US Navy Operation Deep Ops) to further build her strength to eventually approximate the physical condition of her family pod members. Control by training staff will continue to be exerted throughout this phase of the project. This proposed plan includes some of the valuable scientific research opportunities associated with every phase of this project. This proposal is intended to offer a plausible process for Lolitas retirement in her natal habitat in Washington State, and to stimulate discussions about how best to accomplish that goal. The following is a general outline of the plan and the organizational structure needed to carry it out. Many details of this plan are expected to be reconsidered and modified as principle parties work together for Lolita's best interests. B. Pre-transport preparations and research goals Natal population research: As discussed by Brill and Freidl (1993) in their report to Congress concerning surplus Navy dolphins, an important component to any reintroduction program is a thorough understanding of the native population into which the animal is to be released. Since 1973, Lolitas natal community has been, and continues to be, comprehensively studied on a daily basis for over thirty years, and is considered the most intensively researched cetacean population worldwide. Demographic parameters such as longevity, birth rates, maturation rates, mortality rates, prey selection and availability, social systems, reproductive strategies, contaminant exposure, habitat usage, genetic profile and acoustic communication systems are extremely well documented on an on-going basis. Little or no additional effort will be required to accomplish this goal. Environmental assessment of retirement site: Space requirements, water quality, perimeter security, etc. will be examined prior to transport. Permitting: Applications will be made for all relevant permits for use of retirement site (US Army Corps of Engineers, sate, county and town permits and approvals), and all required federal permits will be applied for and fully complied with. Preparation for transport: Lolita will be comprehensively examined by a team of veterinarians for overall health and any communicable pathogens (e.g., normal blood and chemistry parameters, no morbillivirus, no hepatitis B virus). Seaquarium staff will condition Lolita to position herself in a sling. Other pre-transport protocols will be followed. Transport: A transport crate will be found or built to ride on a flatbed semi-truck for transport to Miami-Dade International Airport. Either a commercial carrier or military aircraft will carry Lolita in her crate to Whidbey Island. Requests will be made for use of the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station for use of the airstrip and boat launch, located approximately ten miles from the retirement site. Permission has previously been given by the Naval commander at Whidbey NAS for use of the airstrip and boat launch. A floating seapen will be constructed for transport from the boat launch to the retirement facility.

2 3 4

The Facility: A protected cove on the west side of San Juan Island, Kanaka Bay, will be the site of Lolitas retirement facility. This cove was used in 1976 to care for two captured orcas for 55 days prior to their release. The eyebolts are still in place for holding the seapen net. In addition to the stationary seapen, and the floating seapen for use as needed for medical procedures, the facility will include a live-aboard boat or boats for accomodations for veterinary, training and security staff, and fish storage.

A variety of measures will be taken to prevent public intrusion during the course of Lolitas rehabilitation and retirement. The site is away from public roads and access can be controlled with security personnel. Kanaka Bay is recessed from view from the travelled waters along the west side of San Juan Island, and can be partitioned with bouy lines to prevent boat traffic from a 200-300 yard perimeter. A 1,000 yard aircraft ceiling will be enforced by video security. 24-hour security will be employed to prevent unauthorized approaches. C. Rehabilitation procedures The procedures to be followed after Lolitas return to Washington State can only be generally described here. They will need to be refined by veterinary staff, training staff and scientific advisors, and coordinated by the Project Manager prior to enactment, and will depend on foreseeable and unforeseeable contingencies. 1 Phase one - Transport, post-transport and transitional period: The goal during and immediately after transport will be to provide Lolita with as much continuity with her previous conditions as possible. In addition to pre-transport training and other preparations, her trainer(s), veterinarian(s), and other support staff should accompany her in flight, and during all stages of the transport. They should remain with her for as long as possible after her arrival in Washington. Her dietary regime, her medical prodecuires and any medications, supplements, etc., should be continued, at the discretion of her veterinarian. The medical staff will include at least one consulting veterinarian who is experienced in marine mammal medicine and is responsible for a written program of health care; routine veterinary site visits as prescribed by the consulting veterinary staff and husbandry staff; physical examinations including blood sampling and collection of other specimens, as directed by the consulting veterinarian. Lolita's progress from any given phase of these procedures to the next will be contingent on her ability to demonstrate sufficient health, vigor and behavioral adaptability to proceed to the next phase. Thus, an exact timetable for the duration of each phase cannot be determined in advance of concurrent observations of her behavior and condition. The immedate goal is to provide Lolita with a suitable retirement situation in her native waters. Lolita will be maintained in the seapen until she consistently demonstrates clean health records for a period acceptable to the consulting veterinarian. At that time a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) scientific research permit (SRP) pplication may be submitted to reintroduce Lolita to her family.

Phase two - Subsequent maintenance and training protocol: After Lolita is fully acclimatized to her seapen, surroundings and staff and is observed to be without abnormal stress and within normal physical parameters, further rehabilitation procedures will be partly based on the Bowers, C.A. and R.S. Henderson, 1972. PROJECT DEEP OPS: Deep Object Recovery with Pilot and Killer Whales. NUC TP 306, in which two juvenile killer whales were maintained in seapens in Hawaii and were trained to follow boats more than ten nautical miles and dive hundreds of feet deep on an almost daily basis. Similar Navy training regimens are carried out using bottlenose dolphins. With the consent of veterinary and scientific staff, prodecures will begin for boat-recall training, in which she will be trained to come to the source of an acoustic signal, while remaining within the seapen. During this time, she will demonstrate the ability to forage effectively on live fish for essentially all her caloric requirements. Subsequently, boat-recall training will take place outside her seapen, in a larger area which has been temporarily netted off. When recall-training is accomplished within the larger netted area, she will be led out of Kanaka Bay for boat-follow exercises for varying lengths of time in Haro Strait, Rosario Strait and the Strait

of Juan de Fuca to further rebuild her swimming and diving strength, stamina and skills. She will be monitored for two months during extended boat-follow exercises, with food supplementation available if needed. If her behavior and condition do not warrant inception or continuation of boatfollow exercises, they will be discontinued and rehabilitation procedures within the seapen will be resumed. Use of a radiotag for monitoring in case of her refusal to return to the boat or the seapen should be considered. It is anticipated that a tag would provide two to four months of telemetry data before it is shed, and that the tag would leave no permanent mark on Lolita. No additional identifying factor is required because photoidentification and visual recognition will suffice for monitoring purposes. If efforts to rehabilitate Lolita to a level of health and stamina that is normal for the species are not successful after six months to a year of extended boat-follow exercises, long-term care and facilities will be arranged for Lolita's permanent retirement (see below).

Phase three - Potential reintroduction procedures: After a succession of extended boat-follow exercises for a period of one to two months, softrelease will occur for a period of two months after she demonstrates normal health and stamina. Soft-release is defined as providing a permanent opening in the perimeter fence of the seapen, and maintaining the infrastructure at the facility to assist her should she return to the seapen and solicit companionship or food. Her medical behaviors will be maintained until two weeks prior to soft-release. If soft-release proves successful as determined by her behavior and condition, post-release monitoring, in which Lolita will be located by radio tag or a network of trained shore observers operating from boats, and by aerial surveys, will be conducted for a minimum of twelve months after initial release (two months soft-release followed by ten months monitoring). If her condition and behavior continue to indicate successful readaptation at the end of this twelvemonth period, reintroduction will be considered complete and a final report will be submitted to NMFS (total post-release project time: twelve months). Systematic and opportunistic monitoring will continue indefinitely through an established killer whale observer network consisting of American and Canadian marine mammal researchers, approximately 35 commercial whale-watch operators, and hundreds of boat and shore-based observers. The existing Soundwatch program, in which a boat routinely monitors vessel traffic when in the proximity of whales, will also be available for observations. Observations will be received and transmitted to appropriate personnel and authorities and to the Orca Network Sightings Network.

D. Potential retirement procedures If, during or after the soft-release or monitoring phases, she does not return to the seapen and does not appear to be successfully readapting to the wild (e.g., if she is exhibiting substantial weight loss; erratic or aberrant behavior such as begging for food or attention, or other nuisance behaviors), a recapture plan will be initiated using a professional orca capture team if necessary. She will be returned to the seapen and additional rehabilitation will take place after recapture. If a second effort at reintroduction proves unsuccessful, she will be maintained indefinitely at a permanent bay pen facility. An endowment fund will be created to provide financial support expenses for her long-term care and nutritional needs. E. Project management 1 Steering commitee An executive steering committee will be created and tasked with overall direction of the project. The steering committee should include members of the Lolita Retirement campaign, the Project Manager, a representative of the Seaquarium, NOAA FIsheries officials, and a respected member of the marine mammal scientific community. 2 Project manager A salaried project manager will enact on-site management and day-to-day operations. The Project Manager should have knowledge of the Southern Resident orca community, the natural history of Orcinus orca and of the marine mammal display industry and knowledge of cetacean care and maintenance, financial and personnel management experience, and fund-raising experience.

Scientific committee The scientific committee, to be chosen by the Project Manager, will advise the Project Manager on all aspects of procedures involving diet, care, training, transport, rehabilitation and reintroduction. 4 Fund-raising , fiduciary and legal committee To include members of the Lolita Retirement campaign, an impartial accountant and legal representatives of the Miami Seaquarium and the Lolita Retirement campaign. This committee will oversee fund-raising and expenditures (Proposed budgetary information is available for interested parties). For further background and information, see: A Review of the Releasability of Long-Term Captive Orcas Garrett, H. (1998).

A Review of the Releasability of Long-Term Captive Orcas

By Howard Garrett Orca Network October, 1997

Contents Summary

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Introduction Survival rates in captivity Precedents Disease issues Foraging ability Social systems and bonds Communication Consciousness and memory


10 Conclusions 11 Recommendations 12 Bibliography


Appendix A - Facts About Lolita and the Species Orcinus Orca Appendix B - List of Cetacean Releases Appendix C - Bibliography of Cetacean Releases Appendix D - Population Chart of Southern Resident community (Lolita's extended family) Appendix E - Field Guide to the Southern Resident community Appendix F - IWC Special Report 12 Abstract (longevity in the wild) Appendix G -Known Distribution of Captive Orcas


1 2

This report reviews relevant scientific knowledge to ascertain whether and under what circumstances a long term captive orca could safely be released or retired in its wild habitat. It concludes that a program of rehabilitation and retirement in native waters, with the ultimate option of release to rejoin the family of birth, presents no significant risk, either for the released animal or for wild populations. Return to native waters is called for in many cases because survival for captive orcas is significantly reduced in comparison to their wild counterparts. Many long term captive cetaceans have survived and thrived after release. Keiko, the star of Free Willy, is scheduled to return later this year for further rehabilitation prior to release in the waters of Iceland where he was taken at least 18 years ago. Any communicable disease or susceptibility can be detected in a candidate for release prior to potential exposure with wild populations. Long term captive orcas are capable of pursuing and catching live prey fish. Keiko has also proven his ability to do so, while using the echolocation ability that he has not needed for 18 years. The large extended families of orcas are tightly knit societies, indicating orcas have the ability to recognize and accept returned former captives even after a long absence.

3 4 5

6 7 8

Communication systems used by orcas are retained regardless of length of time in captivity, indicating orcas have the ability to effectively communicate even after a long absence. The brain volume of an orca is tremendous, corresponding with their prodigious memory. Lolita, at the Miami Seaquarium, is an ideal candidate to proceed with a program of retirement for potential release.


Cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) were first held in captivity in the 1860's. The first killer whale, or orca, that performed for the public was caught in British Columbia, Canada in 1965. This young male, named Namu, was displayed at the Seattle waterfront for eleven months until his death from massive infections. Namu showed that orcas were easily trained and established deep relationships with their trainers. [Note: the following statistics were updated May 31, 2003]Orcas In Captivity). In 1976, after ten years of captures, the state of Washington reached a court settlement with Sea World that ended capture operations there. Capture teams then moved to Iceland where they continued until 1989. By that time a total of 128 mostly young orcas had been delivered to marine parks. Six more have been caught in Argentina and Japan since 1989. Of the 47 orcas in parks today, 24 are captive-born. Of the 134 orcas captured from the wild since 1965, only 26 remain alive today. Only one of the 110 that died had reached its average life expectancy if it had remained in the wild. Efforts to release captive orcas were encouraged by a children's movie called Free Willy and a grassroots campaign to release Keiko, the movie's star orca. By the end of 1993 it seemed that every child in the Western world had seen Free Willy, and many had gotten the video for Christmas. Many of these children have learned the lesson of the plot, which is that Willy was a member of a family, that he missed his family and they missed him, and that he could safely be released to rejoin them. They also learned that captivity was hazardous for orcas. Studies have now confirmed that captivity is life-threatening for orcas, and we also now know that each wild orca is indeed a valued and recognized member of a highly cohesive family. The proposition that they would happily rejoin their families is gaining acceptance, but proposals to release them after long term captivity remain in doubt for many adult observers. Because the marine park owners where Keiko was held realized that he needed to be moved somewhere or he would soon die there (Cornell, 1993), and after a coalition including a wealthy benefactor financed and organized a lengthy rehabilitation and release program, Keiko is now receiving the benefit of the first realistic effort to release a long term captive orca. After two and a half years of rehabilitation in Oregon, Keiko regained his strength and nearly returned to his normal state of robust health. In September, 1998, Keiko was moved to a sea pen in Iceland, near where he was captured. Thus much of the younger generation and a growing portion of the general public are becoming aware that it is possible to release or retire captive orcas in their native habitats. The movie's image of the insensitive marine park risking the lives of their main attractions has also stuck in the minds of the younger generation, and that impression indeed seems to be borne out by recent revelations (PBS Frontline, "A Whale of a Business" Nov. 11, 1997). Captivity for orcas is increasingly seen as, at the least, disrespectful and abusive. Adding to the pressure on marine parks is a global network of organizations and individuals working to end the practice of displaying whales and dolphins. The era of large-scale controversy for the marine park industry has begun (Johnson, 1990). Partly as a consequence of this increasingly negative publicity, Sea World, by far the largest player in the marine park industry with its four parks, has begun a "calculated shift away from animal attractions" (Miami Herald, May 10, 1998). Marine World in California and the Vancouver

Public Aquarium each experienced the death of an orca in October, 1997, and neither park has made a replacement, due in part to outspoken efforts in both localities to instead allow the surviving orca to be released. Declining attendance and resulting economic pressures are causing the closure or transformation of other parks. The public demand to end whale and dolphin shows will almost certainly increase in the years to come, resulting in further declines in attendance at the parks. As the animals attract less revenue at the turnstile, the expenses required to maintain them remain high, and the market for the trained performers tends to evaporate. Public pressure to resolve the building controversies by releasing or retiring captive dolphins and orcas is thus likely to grow over the coming years. Regarding Lolita at the Miami Seaquarium, the economic factors seem to have preceded the public pressure. The park has been steadily losing attendance for well over 20 years. Since 1991 the Seaquarium has made numerous attempts to obtain an exemption to the county zoning regulations to allow construction of a completely new park, with a water slide, an IMAX theatre, restaurants and retail stores. The state appellate court has denied the exemption twice, and in May, 1998 the state legislature turned down the plan. Since at least 1985 the Seaquarium has repeatedly promised to build a new tank for Lolita, but since it is nearly impossible to find a replacement orca on the market due to public pressure prohibiting further captures it is highly unlikely that any new tank will ever be built. Lolita's transport to another marine park would involve great risk due to her probable inability to adjust easily to the established social hierarchy of Icelandic or Japanese and captive-born orcas in every other marine park. Marine mammal veterinarian Jay Sweeney has said that as long as there is social instability among captive cetaceans, there is likely to be increased incidence of health problems. Such instability could in fact lead to Lolita's death, as has occurred with at least one other orca. This prospect, added to the knowledge that she is the subject of a nationwide release campaign, plus her already unlikely longevity for a captive, could discourage other parks from taking her. On the other hand, if the Seaquarium decides to allow Lolita to be retired with the prospect of release to her family and home waters, her health would predictably improve and her prospects for a long life would be enhanced, as will be discussed in this paper. Months of events commemorating Miami's farewell to Lolita could attract positive publicity to the park and to the city of Miami. Worldwide media attention now directed toward Keiko would focus on efforts in Miami to return America's own orca to her home waters. It would even be feasible almost immediately to connect Lolita acoustically, from her tank, via a long-distance phone call to her family in Washington, which would be an exciting event, as part of her preparation for transport. The positive glow of global media attention could have many spin-off benefits for Miami. Currently there are 48 orcas known to be held in captivity worldwide. For a complete list see Stefan Jacobs' Retiring or releasing Lolita could also enhance environmental awareness. As we place former captives back into their oceanic waters, the public may begin to see some new reasons to protect and restore the natural productivity of those habitats. The emotional appeal of orcas we know by name living in in local waters could enhance environmental protection efforts. So it is important to determine the biological feasibility of rehabilitating Lolita in her native waters. Exact plans would need to be worked out after agreement is reached, but in all probability she would first be confined to a sea pen in her native waters and be provided with food, including live fish, given medical supervision and social stimulation by her trainers, much like the program almost completed for Keiko. Within weeks or months her family would presumably travel by, vocalizing as they typically do. Lolita would hear them and would respond, to which they would probably respond. They would likely approach her and meet her from the other side of the net. If a long period of apparently friendly interaction followed, and if a panel of experts and veterinarians concluded that she was capable of safely rejoining her family, she could be released, under supervision and carrying a temporary radio tracking device. If she would not or could not rejoin her family for any reason, she could be retired to the sea pen to be cared for in perpetuity. But all such scenarios depend on a positive answer to the question: Is it safe to retire or release a long term captive orca? After all, Free Willy was only a movie. The real Keiko could not leap over a wall to gain his freedom. But as he himself is now demonstrating, a retirement/release program, if well planned and carried out, can be accomplished without significant risk to the animal or its wild counterparts. This conclusion is, of course, vociferously discouraged by representatives of

marine parks. Any release plan needs to be comprehensive and guided by scientific principles. When Keiko was delivered to Newport, Oregon in January, 1996, he was skinny, flabby, ulcerous, and he had warts. Now, five years later he has gained 2,000 pounds, his stamina and metabolic strength are excellent, his skin is sleek and shiny, and he shows no trace of any virus, according to a team of six veterinarians appointed by the USDA (Appendix K). Keiko demonstrates that a professional rehabilitation program can be successful for a long term captive orca. Lolita remains in surprisingly good condition at the Seaquarium, despite the fact that the other 44 orcas caught from her family at about the same time Lolita was captured had all died by 1987. Nevertheless, she would require the same evaluation process provided for Keiko and a clean bill of health prior to immersion in her native waters. Her good condition is a statistical aberration, but it means that her rehabilitation could probably be accomplished in less time than Keiko needed. It would not be necessary for Lolita to first go to a tank. She could be placed directly in a sea pen in her native waters. The question of releasability can be reviewed by looking at each point in the rehabilitation/retirement/release process where a risk might occur. No orca has been seriously harmed during transport in the 34 year history of the industry, so no significant risk is involved in any stage of the delivery to the rehabilitation site. The longest transport took 63 hours. (Dudok Van Heel, W.H., 1986). Keiko required about 24 hours out of water before arriving in Iceland. The total time out of water for Lolita would be less than half that time. When moving an orca it is routine for the trainers or other personnel to accompany it during the flight and for a time thereafter. When recovering from any illness, the most therapeutic environment for a cetacean is its natural waters, so the contact with seawater does not pose a problem. Orcas have adapted to a wide range of temperature variability, but the crucial factor is the rate of change more than the destination temperature. Since Lolita's water is kept at about 55 degrees, and the temperature of her home water is about 48 degrees, the change should not be too drastic for her to comfortably adapt. Thus, assuming all preparations are in order, the immersion into her native waters, in an anchored, protective sea pen, poses no significant risk. Food provision, medical care and human companionship would of course continue. Keiko showed no sign of shock or trauma upon his transport to Oregon. For Lolita the waters will be her familiar habitat, where she was born and spent the first six years of her life. There she could again taste seawater and feel the tides and currents, and have visual and acoustic access to open water and the creatures that live in her home environment. The expected meeting with her family pod would probably take place whenever they arrived at the sea pen, but that meeting would not necessitate the release of Lolita, unless and until she was deemed ready for release by a panel of experts. When the time arrives to consider whether any dangers might await her upon opening the gate, if any risks are foreseen it would not be opened and Lolita would be retired and cared for in one of the hundreds of bays and coves that are typical of the coastline of the inland waters of Washington state. If all goes well she will be allowed to swim with her family, and will be closely watched at least until it is certain that she has successfully reintegrated with her family. The species Orcinus orca has no predators, so there is no danger that a released orca would be subject to predation. Any reintroduced orca should be placed among its closest relatives, who share the same vocal dialects and cultural traditions, to maximize recognition and acceptance. There is no dispersal from Lolita's extended family, and relationships among family members show little or no signs of aggression, so there is little reason to expect rejection from her pod of birth. Legitimate questions arise in Lolita's case because she has been separated from her family for over 3 decades. To assess whether her family would recognize and accept Lolita, a simple experiment involving a long distance vocal communication, in essence a telephone call between Miami and the Puget Sound could be arranged almost immediately upon authorization by Seaquarium management. There are other lines of evidence to anticipate the response of her family. There have been successful releases of cetaceans similar to orcas after long captivity. In 1968 a pilot whale (much like orcas in size and family patterns) was released after more than seven years in captivity, and was sighted in the company of other pilot whales three years later. A bottlenose dolphin escaped after 17 years in captivity and was observed 8 months later looking fit and in the company of other

dolphins (Appendix B). Even after these reassurances, it is understandable that for many people, the most vexing question remains, What would happen in the case of a long term captive orca, like Lolita, upon meeting her family pod? Lolita's extended family is the most extensively studied community of orcas, or any cetaceans, in the world. There is no dispersal from the family and they are predictably found for most of each year in a protected inland sea. Known as the Southern Resident community, neither males nor females ever depart from the pod for the duration of their lives. Thus family memberships are permanent for both sexes, and although the return of a long term captive is obviously highly unusual, with their demonstrably long memories and lifelong bonding, her close relatives would likely retain the memory of their long lost family member. Orcas' vocal communication calls are unique to each pod. Lolita still uses her family's calls, which would be understood by her family. In the wild, females average over 50 years longevity, and can live beyond their eighties. Females well over the age of forty have given birth. Thus Lolita's length of life after release would in all probability be in the decades, and she could conceivably have a calf or two of her own. So it appears that other than a general unease with the idea of returning Lolita to an unknown wild ocean environment, the actual steps involved are biologically viable. Contingency plans will allow a smooth adjustment to retirement if she is unable to swim freely and rejoin her family. This report will attempt to establish each of these points while describing a general outline for releasing a long term captive orca, and will offer an overall proposal for the reunification of Lolita with her native habitat and family pod. Each section is presented briefly, in summary form, with references where appropriate. Taken as a whole, it is hoped that any realistic concerns or questions about the proposal to retire Lolita to her home waters for potential release to rejoin her family are answered here. There is no significant risk involved in any stage of the reintroduction process. Perhaps a consensus can be reached that it's time for Lolita to return home.

Survival rates in captivity

The scientific literature is unambiguous on the subject of longevity and survival rates of killer whales both in the wild and in captivity. Based on 14 years of field work by American and Canadian researchers, Olesiuk, et al. (1990) conclude: Females have a mean life expectancy of 50.2 years, typically give birth to their first viable calf at 14.9 years of age, produce an average of 5.35 viable calves over a 25.2 year reproductive lifespan and have a maximum longevity of about 80-90 years. and

Males have a mean life expectancy of 29.2 years, typically attain sexual maturity at 15.0 years and physical maturity at 21.0 years of age, and have a maximum longevity of about 50-60 years. This study is the only one of its kind, in which demographic data were collected from the

field over a period of years and used to determine longevity estimates. There is no scientific dispute over the findings, and no alternative field studies present different estimates. The authors are Canadian Dept. of Fisheries officials, one of whom told me in November, 1995 that in the years since the publication of that study the subsequent statistics bear out the stated estimates almost exactly (G. Ellis, pers. comm.). Based on a comparison of the estimates arrived at by Olesiuk, et al., with data derived from National Marine Fisheries Service records for captive orcas, Small and DeMaster (1995a) found that calf mortality of captive bottlenose dolphins and orcas was significantly higher than those in the wild, and that:

Survival of the wild population Olesiuk et al. studied, based on approximately 250 noncalves, was significantly higher than our estimates for non-calf captive killer whales. In other words, mortality is significantly higher in captivity for all ages. Small and Demaster (1995b) also note that survival of killer whales in captivity has not improved recently: ...over the 5-year period between 1988 and 1992 compared with estimates based on data through 1987 [i.e., since 1965]...survival in captivity for killer whales...remained the same. Further verification of these statistics can be found by comparison with the data from 22 years of continuous field studies of Lolita's extended family. In the Southern Resident community of currently 92 orcas in Washington waters, twelve of the more than forty adult females are estimated to be in their fifties, and five are in their sixties or older. There are 15 adult males, five of which are at least in their forties. Mortality is just over 2% per year. At the four Sea World parks, however, just since 1987 thirteen young whales in the Sea World inventory of currently 20 orcas have died (ten since 1990). Not counting the newborn that died in 1994, the average age at death of the thirteen that died at Sea World since 1987 was under 17 years of age. The oldest was 25 at time of death. Three were males, ten were females. It is noteworthy that among the 300 individuals in the wild populations that have been studied only one female orca between the ages of 12 and 25 has died in 22 years of studies. The Sea World whales that died all died long before they would have reached their average life expectancy in the wild. Only one Sea World orca (Corky, age 32) has yet lived beyond its mid-twenties. Among the 50 orcas in captivity worldwide at the present time, only two are beyond their mid-twenties, Corky, at Sea World in San Diego and Lolita. The captures began in earnest 36 years ago, so if survival had not been seriously reduced by captivity there would be many captive orcas over 30 years old. Sixteen orcas had been captured before 1969 none are alive. By 25 years ago 50 had been capturedonly two of those survive, Corky and Lolita. By 20 years ago 65 orcas had been caughtonly three of those are still alive, Corky, Lolita and Winnie, a female at Sea World in Ohio. Bacterial pneumonia is the most common cause of death for captive dolphins (Sweeney and Ridgway, 1975) and orcas (Greenwood & Taylor, 1985). Thus, the claim that Lolita is just fine where she is, that she is healthy and happy, is not supported by the evidence. That is similar to saying that Nelson Mandela survived 27 years in prison and became the leader of his country, so we may assume that his South African jail must have been a healthy environment. The only reasonable conclusion is that the conditions of captivity, even in the best of circumstances, leads to early death for orcas. From this insight one can further conclude that for Lolita, neither a move to another park nor to a new tank built on the Seaquarium site would appreciably lengthen her life. Increasing public awareness that the killer whales who are confined to tanks tend to die in their youth is contributing to the public's perception that captives are neither healthy nor happy. As accurate information about survival rates in captivity becomes widely known, the experience of attending marine parks is

increasingly seen as condoning the mistreatment of whales and dolphins. This evolution of public opinion has begun to redefine killer whale shows as an unpleasant experience, which has in turn reduced attendance at marine parks and thus revenues at the gate. The morale of many of the thousands of marine park employees could also be affected if they were to discover the factual longevity statistics. Many marine park employees have themselves been led to believe that the whales that have died under their care were approaching their maximum life span, and that they would have had a much more difficult life, and probably would have died even sooner, in their natural habitats (Busch Entertainment Corporation 1993). There is no significant risk involved in Lolita's transport and phased reintroduction to her native waters, whereas her early demise is statistically inevitable if she remains in the Seaquarium facility or in any captive setting. Returning her to the waters in which she was born is the only course of action that allows her a chance of enjoying normal longevity.


The introduction to List of Cetacean Releases (Appendix B), contains the following: Currently, a major point of contention in the issue of release or reinstatement of captive cetaceans is whether the dolphin or whale will readapt to catching live prey after it has been fed piecemeal in prolonged captivity. Another point of contention is whether released animals will spread acquired pathogens to the wild community, or have sufficient immunity from pathogens in the wild. A third point concerns the question of whether a released cetacean will readapt socially, or be condemned to a life of loneliness. These points must be responsibly addressed, but if post-captive release is lethal, dangerous and irresponsible, then why has it been done so many times by organizations that are generally considered responsible? Cetacean Releases contains accounts of a total of 121 bottlenose dolphins that were set free. Twentynine of these were held for more than one year. Three were released into Biscayne Bay by the Miami Seaquarium after 1 year, 2 years, and 10 years of captivity. Six were inadvertently released by the U.S. Navy after more than a year in captivity, and another eight were let go after less than a year. Only in a few cases was any attempt made to determine if the animals survived, but at least six of the 29 that were held more than a year were sighted several months later in apparent good health. In 1991 two pilot whales that had stranded on the coast of Florida were rehabilitated by the Miami Seaquarium and released. Though most of their family had presumably died in the stranding, these two were sighted by the US Coast Guard in 1994, with their radio tag harnesses still intact, in the company of other pilot whales. No orcas have been released after more than a few months of captivity, with the exception of Ishmael, the orca trained by the U.S. Navy to return to a signal from a boat while miles out to sea. After five months of exercises, Ishmael refused to return one day and was never seen again. For the sake of this inquiry into the releasability of a long term captive orca, the most informative releases were that of a female bottlenose dolphin named Bahama Mama and a male pilot whale named Bimbo.

Bahama Mama was held for 17 years in the Bahamas until, with no preparation for release, she escaped (Claridge and Balcomb, 1993). She was sighted repeatedly up to 8 months later in good health and in the company of other dolphins. After 17 years in captivity one might have supposed that she would have become hopelessly habituated to hand feeding and human care, but she immediately joined wild dolphins. Pilot whales are possibly the most similar to orcas among the 76 species of cetaceans. Though slightly smaller, their social systems and general behavior greatly resemble that of orcas. Bimbo is a pilot whale that was captured in early 1960 when he was an adolescent at a length of 17' 6". He performed well for about three years, until his companion, a female pilot whale (possibly his mother), died. His behavior changed dramatically, becoming alternately agitated and depressed. After twice smashing through observation windows, he was released into the Pacific Ocean in 1967 (Valentry, 1969). Bimbo was positively identified in 1969 and again in 1974, by U.S. Navy dolphin collectors, both times in the company of a community of pilot whales . The first release of a prolonged captive orca is scheduled to occur this year (1998). As Keiko nears the time of his ultimate release to his family in the North Atlantic, his immanent reunion will represent the most instructive example of the release of a long term captive orca. Keiko was caught at about the age of two, whereas Lolita was about six years old when she was captured. While in Mexico Keiko very nearly expired from the effects of captivity, but Lolita has maintained consistent good health. In addition, Keiko's family is virtually unknown, so monitoring his welfare post-release will be difficult. Each individual orca of the Southern Resident community (Lolita's extended family) is monitored and documented repeatedly each year, so monitoring her progress will simply be a part of standard operating procedure. All in all, Keiko is actually a less ideal candidate for release than Lolita, and yet chances are good that he will eventually rejoin his family. Sufficient precedents are now on record to indicate that the retirement or release of Lolita would be safe and successful.

Disease issues A wide array of misleading and unfounded statements have emerged from representatives of the marine park industry to discourage the release of certain valuable marine mammals. According to the Miami Seaquarium web site (Appendix M): If moved to a new environment, Lolita could be at risk of transmitting or acquiring disease agents she has either become resistant to or has no resistance to, respectively. Not only is this a risk to Lolita, but also to the free ranging killer whale population.An unsigned letter from the Miami Seaquarium dated September 9, 1997 (Appendix L) states: Keiko will never be released. He has an incurable viral infection called papillomavirus. While it can be controlled with medication, it remains in the animal's system for the remainder of its life. The infection of papilloma in the killer whale is the first time it has been diagnosed in the species. Many animals get it, dogs cats, horses, and even people. Because of this contagious infection, Keiko will never be introduced to wild populations. The letter goes on to say: If those people who (sic) would ask you for money for Keiko's release, or for Lolita's, be aware that they are asking you for money under less than honest circumstances.

In January, 1998, a team of six veterinarians appointed by the USDA found no such contagious disease on Keiko (Appendix J). The USDA said: Immunological test results are apparently within known normal parameters, and there was no evidence of recent viral challenges to 48 different viruses. The government of Iceland, which is highly protective of the productivity of the marine environment, has concluded that Keiko presents no threat to native species. Prior to any departure from Miami, Lolita should and would be given the same comprehensive examination that was performed for Keiko under the auspices of the USDA. It is worth noting that nowhere in the Seaquarium web site or in the cited letter is it stated that Lolita actually has contracted any such disease. Among the hundreds of marine mammals that have been released over the years after human contact, including the many dolphins, pilot whales and manatees released by the Seaquarium, there are no incidents of suspected infection of, or by, wild populations. There is no evidence that Lolita has any contagious disease, nor is there reason to believe that she lacks immunity to any diseases found in her native habitat, to which she would have been exposed early in her life. Nevertheless, it is a clearly necessary prerequisite to any consideration of her return to her native habitat that she be examined thoroughly to remove any doubt that her reintroduction to her home waters would be entirely safe for her and for her family. Nolan Harvey of the Free Willy/Keiko Foundation says: "Of course, we're concerned about that [disease] issue," Harvey said. "It's a justifiable issue, but it's also an excuse for a lot of people. Stranded animals come into contact with humans and with other animals that are not necessarily their species. They've been releasing marine mammals back into the wild for years. We can test him for every possible thing," he said (Oregonian, October 25, 1997).

Foraging ability

The Seaquarium web site states: Lolita has lost her ability to forage and catch live fish. Pursuit of prey is a full time job for wild killer whales and often requires complex cooperative "pack hunting" techniques.Only once has any marine park allowed a scientific investigation of the theory that a long term captive would lose its ability to catch live fish. Two researchers (Newman and Markowitz, 1993) released live coho salmon with two orcas in a tank at Marine World Africa USA. The two orcas, captive for 24 and 13 years, echolocated on the fish, then caught and ate them. Keiko has also demonstrated his ability to catch live fish. According to the Seattle Times (May 16, 1998):

Keiko the celebrity killer whale is gulping down 10-pound steelhead these days as if they were guppies...They started by feeding him dead fresh fish, then advanced to stunned fish that didn't swim much. Now, a couple of months into training, Keiko is chasing live steelhead and slurping them down...During a recent live-fish training session, Keiko tracked four steelhead to their doom without delay, swallowing them head first. He eats about half his diet now in live fish.Lolita was six years old when she was captured. For at least five of those years she was chasing and catching her own fish, and without doubt she was engaging in complex, cooperative "pack hunting" techniques. There would be no way to test her ability to resume her role in such activities prior to releasing her to rejoin her family, but there is no particular reason to believe she would have forgotten how. Seaquarium staff have claimed that Lolita was once afraid of a fish in her tank, but introducing an Atlantic spiney rockfish to her tank is not a meaningful test of her foraging abilities. Empirical studies and deductive reasoning lead to the conclusion that Lolita is fully capable of rapidly regaining and practicing the skill of catching and eating live fish, individually and cooperatively, with just a little practice. Orcas, as members of the Delphinidae family that includes all dolphins, are known to share food with young or injured family members. It is reasonable to speculate that if Lolita should have difficulty obtaining sufficient fish in the days or weeks after her reunification with her family, other family members might assist her while she regained the needed skills.

Social systems and bonds To maximize the likelihood of success when releasing a captive orca, there should first be clear recognition and acceptance by its natural family. Family membership begins at birth and continues throughout the life of the animal. Orcas for which reliable field data is known maintain extremely tight cohesion of the family group. Within Lolita's extended family both the male and female offspring remain with their mothers for life. This indicates that a high survival value is placed on permanent inclusion of every member of the family. This lifetime bonding presents both opportunities and problems. Keiko's family is unknown, and it is not certain whether the community structure that has been documented among Pacific Northwest orcas is a reliable guide to North Atlantic populations. It is likely that Keiko's closest family members are still alive, and it is believed that they would recognize him if given the chance, but whether that family numbers 3 individuals or many hundred, and whether they travel to the coast of Iceland on a regular basis is not known. In spite of this relative lack of knowledge of Keiko's pod and community of origin, because of the species' ability to send vocal communication through dozens of miles of ocean it is probable that Keiko will be able to contact his relatives if they enter nearby waters. For Lolita the situation is much easier. Each member of her family has been documented in photographs every year since the early 70's. Photographs taken at the time of her capture show at least six identifiable individuals that were too old for capture and were released. Four of those photographed are still alive today. At least 22 members of Lolita's family who were present when she was captured are still alive today, and at least nine of those could possibly be her mother. At this writing Lolita's extended family consists of 92 individuals, up from 71 when captures ended in 1976. The community is made up of three pods, J, K, and L pods, with 23, 16 and 53 members, respectively. The oldest females are the focal point of each family group within the three pods, though the overall authority system that guides the pods or the community is unknown. The three pods usually travel separately, and to varying degrees, each pod may split up into matrilineal subgroups from time to time. All three pods may usually be found within the inland waters of Washington and British Columbia from early June through September each year. Whale watching boats satisfy the increasing interest in

seeing them. J pod tends to spend most of the winter in the inland waters, often visiting the southern reaches of Puget Sound. Perhaps the most revealing discovery of the field research was that the offspring simply never leave their mothers' company. For every other mammal known, either the males or females, or both, depart the family of birth at or before the onset of maturity and either join another group or become independent. For orcas, at least the Southern and Northern communities, about 300 whales altogether, the adult males remain within a few hundred yards of their mothers for her entire life, while females and their young may travel a bit farther away from time to time, but still remain well within hearing range. In the late spring or early summer of each year K pod and L pod usually return to the protected marine waters. Upon their re-entry there is typically a "superpod" greeting, lasting from a few hours to a day or more, in which the members of each pod mingle with members of the other pods, in groups of around a dozen at a time, in slow motions, rubbing and nudging one another, seemingly maximizing bodily contact while a wild cacophony of vocalizations can be heard with a hydrophone. After this apparent ceremony, which may take place several more times during the summer, each pod or subpod departs in a different direction within the 400 mile long, convoluted inland sea. Wherever they may be born, or wherever they may find themselves after capture, orcas tend to form into tight, highly organized families. The primary method of communication is vocal, but a variety of physical behaviors reinforce family bonds and relationships. Physical contact is commonplace among orcas. In captivity, a primary method used by trainers to establish dominance over orcas is to separate families and social groups. "Time-outs," or turning one's back on an orca, is also a way to reinforce obedience. Food deprivation is used as a last resort to coerce cooperation. Still, the orcas tend to organize themselves into cohesive groups with clear leaders. As if to reinforce these bonds, physical contact among captive orcas occurs often during self-imposed exercises and random activities. There can also be friction while establishing role relationships in captive settings, for example if females do not agree about which one is dominant. At Sea World in San Diego, the Icelandic female Kandu was dominant when Corky, an older orca from the Pacific, was delivered there in January of 1987. When Kandu attempted to bite or ram Corky's tailstock, Corky kicked with her tail, which broke Kandu's jaw and severed an artery. Kandu died within a few minutes from loss of blood. There are many other examples of aggression among orcas in captivity (Appendix J). In natural communities, relationships and rules are established early in the life of each member and transitions appear to be smoothly accomplished. Since females average over fifty years of life and may live into their eighties, there is a great deal of stability over the years. No aggression between adult orcas of the same community has been observed. Although the general configurations of the social groups have been discerned, very little is known about actual relationships, even among the communities that have been intensively studied. Given that 22 members of Lolita's family were present and aware that she was captured, plus the species' large memory capacity and lifelong membership in cohesive family groups, it follows that Lolita would know her family, would be recognized by them, and, after a time would rejoin them without any significant aggressive incident.


In recent years there has been a great deal of discussion about the capability of many animals to use language and possess culture. Gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos (smaller relatives of

chimps) have mastered large and complex vocabularies using sign language (de Waal, 1997; Savage-Rumbaugh, Lewin, 1996). Field studies of elephants have indicated their ability to transmit cultural information and communicate across great distances through low frequency sounds (Moss and Shettleworth, eds, 1996; Payne, 1998). Studies with dolphins have demonstrated that they can communicate in syntax using printed symbols and gestures (Herman, et al., 1993; MorrelSamuels and Herman, 1993) and form complex societies (Pryor and Norris, 1991). Beginning in the early 1970's John K.B. Ford of the Univ. of British Columbia has been listening in on communities of orcas. After almost ten years he discovered that each community uses its own extensive and complex vocabulary of calls, and that each call is a discrete, recognizable sound, ranging from multi-note whistles, to honks, chirps, bleats, trills and ratchety sounds. These are not just a few calls among a background of moos and grunts. Virtually every sound seems to be a recognizable call. Hundreds of different calls are made by each community, and if you listen long enough, you'll likely hear each one again sooner or later, perhaps with a little different inflection or coming from a different voice. Orcas broadcast at about the volume of a fire engine siren, and sound travels five times faster and further through the water than in air, so it isn't difficult to eavesdrop on their conversations. Orca communities are made up of separate pods, and Ford found that each pod has developed a few calls that the other pods don't use. The Northern community is also divided into three "clans," with several pods in each clan. Clans are defined linguistically; that is, most of their calls are unique to each clan. The Southern community is considered all one clan on the basis of the similarity of the three pods' calls. There are two other known orca communities that inhabit the waters around Vancouver Island, called Transients and Offshores. None of the members of any of the four communities mingles with any of the other communities, and each community uses a totally distinct vocabulary of calls. Other communities around the world have now been recorded and each also uses its own set of calls, and has none in common with any other community. The call systems are not believed to change much over time. This means that orcas communicate and determine their behavior by using highly complex symbolic call systems. These findings have been replicated by many researchers since Ford began his pioneering work. These communication systems have been found to be retained in the memories of captive orcas regardless of length of time in captivity, indicating the ability to effectively communicate even after a long absence (J. Ford, pers. comm.). Lolita has been recorded in recent years making calls that are the same as the calls made by her familythe calls Lolita learned in the six years before she was captured. According to Dr. Hal Whitehead (submitted manuscript): Evidence is accumulating that important information is transmitted from cetacean mother to daughter, or more generally within cetacean matrilines, by instruction or social learning. Examples include the use of sponges as foraging tools by bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Australia, and killer whales intentionally stranding on beaches to catch seals (Guinet & Bouvier 1995; Chapter 6). These are forms of culture, and their transmission mechanism makes them particularly interesting. Thus, it seems possible that cetacean societies, and especially those with stable matrilineal groups, such as killer, sperm and pilot whales, contain cultures which are qualitatively more similar to those of humans, than is the case for terrestrial mammals. Vertically-transmitted culture may then explain curious attributes of these species such as non-adaptive mass strandings and low genetic diversity.Keiko also expresses himself in distinct calls, although Keiko was only two years old at the time of his capture. According to the Free Willy/Keiko Foundation web site:

Early analysis of Keiko's calls indicates that even after thirteen years away from other killer whales [Keiko was at Marineland of Niagara Falls, Canada until 1985] and spending time with dolphins, his calls still resemble those of wild orcas. So it appears that he hasn't completely forgotten his native dialect. Lolita could be connected electronically to her family at any time by long distance telephone transmission, simply by placing a speaker and a hydrophone in her tank and in the water within a few miles of her family. The resulting conversation could confirm that she is still able to communicate with her family. Beginning in 1987 a series of proposals have been presented to the management of the Seaquarium to conduct similar experiments to confirm that Lolita still vocalizes using her native calls, but the park has consistently rejected the idea. After Lolita is placed in a sea pen in a protected cove in her native waters, within weeks or months her family would inevitably swim by in their normal travels, communicating vocally among themselves as they typically do. Lolita would presumably hear them and would respond, to which they would probably respond. It is assumed that they would approach her and meet her from the other side of the net, which would be a clear indication of mutual recognition. The reunion to follow would be one of the best documented greetings in history, possibly second only to Keiko's. Mutual recognition is expected. The logic is compelling. Each community has a set of calls, which are symbols that it uses to coordinate behavior and maintain social relationships. Recordings of Lolita show that she still retains the memory and the use of those symbols, although she is, in a sense, talking to herself. It's as if she still knows the secret handshake and initiation rituals. These calls will inevitably be of interest to her family. The event will probably be unprecedented in the collective memories of Lolita's family, but among Transient orcas which share the same waters, adolescent females have been known to depart from the maternal group for several years, then return and rejoin them. The principle of parsimony is that the simplest and most obvious explanation, or prediction, is probably the correct one, at least until further information is available. The best guess is that her family's renewed relationship with the long lost Lolita will be re-established by vocal communication, and will be maintained and deepened after the initial encounter. What will happen in the initial encounter remains to be seen, but it probably will be seen when Keiko meets up with his family off the coast of Iceland, possibly as early as the fall of this year. The world's major nature documentary filmmakers will make sure we are all able to share in that moment.

Consciousness and Memory Consciousness is a slippery subject to study even in humans, and memory is also difficult to measure and compare. And yet, if we are to understand and communicate with each other we need to assume that we are conscious of our surroundings and of one another and able to remember things. And if the plight of a captive orca is to become real for us, we need to have a sense that the animal is aware of its surroundings, and that it is capable of recalling past events. Recent theoreticians have concluded that indeed many species are capable of such feats (Griffin, 1976, 1984). Marcia Henton was Lolita's trainer for eight years from 1988 through 1995. In a 1996 TV documentary called LolitaSpirit In the Water, Henton explained her relationship with Lolita: It's like having a best friend that you get to see every day, only it's not a human, it's an orca. I've been able to go back into her journals 20 years, and look up old signals, and those signals are what trainers use to communicate with the animals. And I know for a fact I haven't used a certain signal for the time I've been hereeight years. So I can walk up here and give her a signal she hasn't seen in at least 8 years,

and she remembers it (KOMO-TV, 1996).The neuroanatomy of an orca, with a brain size four times human brain size, is certainly sufficient to indicate an extremely large memory capacity. A large brain requires a great deal of oxygen, which is an expensive commodity, especially for an ocean-dwelling animal, so such a brain must have high adaptive value and be consistently used. A recent investigation of short term memory in bottlenose dolphins (Mercado, et al., 1998) found that dolphins proved to be able to repeat a wide variety of behaviors on a command meaning "repeat what you did last." The authors report: "The results suggest that dolphins can flexibly access memories and that these memories are of sufficient detail to allow for reenactments." A story from the Los Angeles Times, May 20, 1998 (Appendix P), gives some insight into the memory of an orca. Elias Jonsson was involved in many of the orca captures in Iceland: One whale, he remembers, was seasick when it was brought to him after the trip home for six hours through choppy seas. When Jonsson got his hands on the animal, it was so dizzy it couldn't stay rightside up in the water, and he had to spend hours by its side, holding it upright so it could breathe. "After that, we got along so well that I never was afraid," he says. That whale was eventually shipped off to an aquarium in France, Jonsson says, and two years later he got the job of flying in a companion for it. The seasick whale hadn't seen him in two years, he recalls, but when he entered the aquarium, it finished its performance and rushed over to where he was standing, wagging its head and obviously showing that it recognized its former caretaker. "If that killer whale could remember him after two years," Jonsson figures, "why shouldn't Keiko remember how to hunt, or to recognize his fellows, after 20 years?"Obviously the same can be said of Lolita. With the intensity of the social and family bonds now known to be the case among Lolita's extended family, along with her demonstrated capacity for long term memory of arbitrary show routines, deductive reasoning indicates that she remembers her family to this day. Moreover, Lolita was six years old, several years older than the average captive orca at the time of capture, so the clarity of her memories of the days prior to her capture may help explain her unusually long survival in captivity.

Emotions If consciousness and memory are difficult to measure, emotions are even more elusive. And yet, anyone who has an emotional bond with a dog or cat knows that they sometimes cleary demonstrate their emotions. Those who have spent time with Lolita or any other orca in captivity often come away with a sense that they have been touched, emotionally, by an intelligent and sentient being who knows them personally. Time after time stories come from people who have had the opportunity and the inclination to build trust with an orca, and afterward have been in awe of the strength of the bond that has developed. Lolita seemed to "look into my soul" according to former trainer Marcia Henton. In 1965 Ted Griffin was the first human to spend a considerable length of time, 11 months, establishing a relationship with an orca. As Griffin explained in a 1995 interview: The whale was actually interacting with me and training me and creating a companion for him under his circumstances. It brought me to my knees when I realized that I was dealing with something of this enormous intellect and capability (KOMO-TV, 1996)Charles Darwin began the scientific study of animal emotions with his book The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (Darwin, 1873), but very little has been done to follow his lead until recently. In When Elephants Weep author Jefferey Masson describes hundreds of anecdotes in which animals demonstrate their emotions (Masson, 1996). Marine parks seem especially averse to discussing emotions in their charges. Sea World refused to talk to Masson because his book "smacked of anthropomorphism." The sin of anthropomorphism is traditionally seen as a transgression for a scientist, although understanding animal emotions has high

predictive value, helping us on a daily basis to determine what an animal will do, whether in nature, in captivity or with a pet at home. Jane Goodall learned volumes about the emotional lives of the chimpanzees she observed for over three decades (Goodall, 1991). Goodall found she could relate to the emotional ties and upheavals of the chimps in her study. The members of Lolita's family, the Southern Resident community, also demonstrate their emotions. Orcas seem more distant than chimps from the human experience, and they are more enigmatic because they don't show facial expressions and they spend 95% of their time out of view underwater. But in terms of their ability to be aware, to communicate, to remember and feel emotions, orcas may be more similar to humans than chimps are. When the three pods of the Southern community meet after a long separation, such as when K and L pods arrive in the inland waters in the early summer after spending the fall and winter out in the open Pacific, they generally join with J pod, which tends to spend the winter and spring in the protected waters. Upon meeting for the first time in six or seven months, what follows is a behavior known as "intermingling," which is a veritable festival of rubbing and touching orcas. Vocalizations often continue non-stop on these occasions. They usually form into small groups of 8 to 12 orcas from all three pods and begin tactile sessions in which they nudge and roll and tumble all over each other for 10 to 20 minutes, then disperse and form into other undulating groups. There is every indication that they simply enjoy being together. Mothers play with their young, pairs of males travel together for long periods, associations of all ages and both genders occur continually. When resting, pods line up abreast, swimming slowly. Lolita's emotional attachment to her family would facilitate her reintegration with them.

Conclusions This report has hopefully set out various lines of evidence that, taken together, show that a carefully planned and carried out rehabilitation program that leads to the options of releasing Lolita to rejoin her family or retirement in her native waters, entails no point at which there is any discernable risk to the orca's health or welfare, or to her family's. The "prototype" precedent is the nearly completed program to rehabilitate and release Keiko, with the exception that the facility in which Keiko regained his health would not be required for Lolita, since she is already relatively healthy, and her native waters are ideal for a seapen and available to her. To summarize the points made: Statistics and historical records indicate that Lolita's survival in captivity into her 30's is an abberation and the risk to her life increases as long as she remains in the Seaquarium. It is also clear that a larger tank would not appreciably improve her prospects, nor would transport to another marine park. There are a number of precedents in which dolphins and small whales have been successfully released after long term captivity. USDA examination protocols would be followed to ensure that Lolita is in good health and that no communicable diseases would be introduced to native orca populations. Experience with Keiko and other experiments have shown that foraging skills, including echolocation, do not disappear during long term captivity. Unique among mammals, in orca communities studied to date, including the Southern Residents, neither male nor female offspring disperse from the matrilineal family of birth for their entire lives.

Call systems used by orcas are highly sophisticated and are unique to each community. Lolita still uses the calls of her family, although she is soliltary. Thus mutual recognition between Lolita and her family is probable and would be easy to document. Empirical experiments and a wealth of anecdotal evidence indicates that orcas retain important memories of performance routines and important relationships, whether with trainers or with other orcas, for long periods of time, in some cases for decades. Given the stories told by trainers about their close relationships with orcas, and the observed demonstrations of affection between wild orcas, there is ample evidence that orcas are capable of a wide range of emotions, some of which may be similar to human emotions. Overall, the conclusion that follows from the above is that Lolita would be much better off if moved to her native waters in preparation for rejoining her family of birth. Quoting the Eugene, Oregon Register-Guard concerning Keiko: [Keiko's] successful return to the wild is far from being a sure thing. But the progress to date has been encouraging. And if the net pen can be opened and Keiko can swim off into the north Atlantic to fend for himself, he'll have most of a lifetime to live as whales should. Lolita can return home and can probably be released to her family. The evidence shows that she can resume her place in the family relationships that are essential in the natural life of an orca.

Recommendations The goal of this report is to bring about an understanding in principle among the decision-makers who will design the future of the Seaquarium or any development on that site that Lolita is at serious risk every day that she remains at the Seaquarium, and that the best way to enhance her well-being is to allow the orca to return home. Two organizations, closely allied with one another to help Keiko, are capable of carrying out the actual rehabilitation and release. The first and most obvious is the Free Willy/Keiko Foundation (FWKF), led by Seattle entrepreneur Craig McCaw. Since early 1994 when McCaw expressed interest in helping Keiko return to his home waters, the message has been clear that a strong measure of success must be realized with Keiko prior to turning the attention and resources of the Foundation toward any other candidate for release. As of June 9 of this year, when the government of Iceland officially approved of Keiko's rehabilitation in that country, the way has been clear for Keiko to return to Icelandic waters in the late summer or early fall of 1998. Biologically, Keiko has surpassed almost all expectations in his recovery to the full bloom of health, and in his ability to catch live fish, use echolocation and to call out in his family's native vocalizations. He has been found to be disease-free by a team of six veterinarians appointed by the USDA. There seems little doubt that he will successfully readapt to his home waters, that he will be capable of swimming free within months, and that ultimately his family will recognize him and accept him to swim among them. In case he is unable to rejoin his family for any reason, achievement of the Foundation's goal will be realized in his retirement in his native waters. Indisputable success for Keiko is immanent. When there is no further doubt that Keiko has completed his rehabilitation process and is thriving in his home waters, McCaw has made it clear that he will assist other whales and dolphins that are candidates for similar programs. As reported in the February 15, 1998 Portland Oregonian (Appendix R):

McCaw's original $2 million anonymous donation to the Free Willy foundation was a down payment on a larger vision: the creation of a world-class program that would do what no other had ever doneroutinely rehabilitate captive and injured marine mammals for return to the wild.Having brought Keiko back from the brink of death to resounding good health since his arrival in Oregon in January, 1996, the FWKF staff of marine mammal specialists has mastered the principles and procedures for rehabilitating an orca. Having plenty of room to move in cool, natural seawater, allowing him to direct his own behavior while giving him strenuous yet playful companionship, as well as volumes of other lessons learned, have proven their value in restoring him to good health and preparing him for his native habitat. This new knowledge can now be put to use for Lolita. Lolita's rehabilitation, however, does not require the facility in Oregon. She can be placed directly into a sea pen in her well-protected inland waters. Her family is well known and is monitored on a daily basis, so follow-up observations would involve little additional effort. Relative to Keiko's program, Lolita's retirement/release would be a logistical picnic. The other organization that is capable of organizing and implementing Lolita's rehab/release is The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), which has contributed $1 million to Keiko's release. The president of HSUS, Paul Irwin, sits on the board of the FWKF. In October, 1995, HSUS sponsored a two-day conference in Seattle titled: Speaking for Whales and DolphinsThe Case Against Captivity. The primary marine mammal expert at HSUS is Dr. Naomi Rose, a field researcher of wild orca populations and a specialist in rehab and release of captive cetaceans (Rose, 1995). It is clear that the financial resources and the technical expertise can be made available to carry out Lolita's rehabilitation program toward retirement or release. The missing ingredient is agreement in principle with the management of the Seaquarium that the best course of action is to begin making arrangements for Lolita's return to her home waters. It is within the mission of both the FWKF and HSUS to conduct the logistics of the program, and one or both can be expected to come to the table to work out details with the Seaquarium. The Tokitae Foundation wishes only to foster discussions between the management of the Seaquarium and one or both of these organizations, and has no intention or expectation of conducting the program itself. Support for orca releases is growing rapidly. In a poll last spring, 54 percent of Icelanders surveyed were in favor of allowing Keiko to return to their country to be released. Iceland is a country of increasing environmental awareness, and ecotourism is growing. Some see the potential not only for profit but also for international goodwill coming from the Keiko project. In Newport, community members and businesses that have profited from Keiko's presence are gearing up for a busy summer. They expect the whale's fans to converge on the small city as enthusiastically as sea lions during a herring run. Keiko arrived at the Oregon Coast Aquarium on January 7, 1996. That year, 1.32 million people pushed through the doors for a look at the huge black and white mammal with the droopy dorsal fin; that was up from 600,000 aquarium visitors the year before. In 1997, the number leveled out at 803,000 visitors. It is hoped that the biological viability of the plan to move Lolita to her home waters has been established in this report, especially by contrast with the dangers to her life if she continues as a performing orca. But in order to generate discussion of Lolita's possible move, it may be helpful to offer some ideas for the future of the Seaquarium. Since Lolita is the main attraction at the Seaquarium, her departure will probably mean the closing of the park in its present form. Therefore this is a moment of tremendous opportunity for the creation of a public attraction that is exciting and popular and that is also in keeping with the visions and wishes of the residents of Key Biscayne, the City of Miami, and Miami-Dade County, as well as the state agencies that will help craft a recommendation to the legislature. The residents of Key Biscayne have expressed their opposition to traditional amusement park activites, such as roller coasters, water slides, wave pools, and other water theme park attractions. Nor does the prospect of a variety of retail outlets and restaurants have much appeal for those residents. The sheer volume of traffic on Rickenbacker Causeway is also very much an issue. It appears that the local homeowners are interested in seeing a park develop on that site that they can be proud of, and that does

not disrupt either access to their homes and businesses nor the oceanside peacefulness that is the atmosphere they wish to preserve. However, it seems almost inevitable that there will be some kind of public facility on that prime location, although perhaps even that assumption will be up for discussion. If indeed the consensus opinion is that a public attraction of some sort is called for at the Seaquarium site, it will be necessary to conjure up a coherent vision of a park that suits the above criteria and is also financially viable, which means it must have popular appeal. The expertise and interest at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, next door to the Seaquarium is available to help design a fascinating, exciting and highly educational attraction. Just a few ideas include simulated nature trips, an IMAX theatre, live video hook-ups to animals in the wild, plus films, lectures, discussions, photo exhibitions, all placing the participant in the sweep of nature in a marine setting, gliding along with dolphins, manatees, or orcas. Imagine settling into a contoured seat surrounded by a wrap-around screen, in an undersea world lit by dim blue-green light flickering with reflected sunlight. Manta rays, a variety of fish and sharks stream by, accompanied by the ambient sounds of the sea emanating from various directions. Gradually you hear faint calls. The calls grow in volume as the fish move faster before your eyes. Soon the white patches on orca bodies appear, along with vague outlines of killer whales. As they flow toward you and then away, you see the matriarchs and the generations that follow. The majestic adult males appear along the periphery. Now and then each of them makes a distinct call to the others. The imagineers of today's theme parks and aquariums can create whole undersea environments that are vastly entertaining, a thrill to experience, and a deeply emotional educational opportunity. While marine parks that display performing whales and dolphins are in decline (Appendix I), other aquariums and marine parks have sprung up across the country that have embraced an environmental philosophy and have flourished in recent years. The New Jersey State Aquarium in Camden recently unveiled Cyberfin, a virtual reality attraction that simulates the experience of swimming with dolphins (Appendix T). In mid-June, 1998, the Long Beach, CA Aquarium of the Pacific opened to a public eager to experience the living Pacific Ocean. Nashville, New Orleans, and Tampa have each opened modern, high tech aquariums recently. A Canadian model for this approach emerged from a 1995 decision by the Biodme of Montral not to display live beluga whales, citing conservation issues and the desire to be sensitive to the opinions of environmental groups voicing opposition to keeping whales in captivity. Instead the Biodme has installed a thematic display depicting the white whales of the St. Lawrence called Belugas: The Next Wave, featuring a variety of innovative presentation techniques. Increasingly, aquariums are bringing the natural world into modern lives via wildlife films and live links with wild habitats. The real lives of animals can now be revealed. Orca researcher Dr. Paul Spong, commenting on plans to build an aquarium in China, says in a letter to Chinese officials: This summer, a live radio link from the wild will enable the public at large, and visitors to the Vancouver Aquarium, to listen to the undersea acoustic environment and the fascinating calls of orca whales as they communicate with each other. The project has already created a wave of media and public interest around the world. It is a truly educational development, and does no harm to the animals involved. By so doing, it points the way to the future. Soon, aquariums and zoos will feature live video and acoustic links to the natural world, complementing vivid documentary films about Nature... enriching the facilities which house them, and the public. A concrete example of this trend comes from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This new facility rejected the display of captive whales and dolphins, and instead features a magnificent living kelp forest and a live link to the local undersea habitat. It is so successful that people often have to wait in line to get in.Lolita could be a living presence in Miami for many years to come after her move to the Northwest, as she first recovers and builds her strength and familiarity in the waters of her birth, then is seen swimming and cavorting amidst her kin in the currents she knows so well. Her voice and images

of her travels could come directly to a presentation facility on Virginia Key, a main attraction among a wide array of fascinating interactive and multi-sensory exhibitry. All parties agree that Lolita's well-being is of paramount importance. Given the information contained in this report, it is conservative to conclude that Lolita can be transported to a netted sea pen in her native waters, the inland sea of Washington and British Columbia, with the options of remaining under human care for the rest of her life or, if a panel of informed experts so advises, rejoining her family of birth.

There is no question in my mind that the public interest in whales and dolphins will continue to grow, and there is also no question in my mind that the future lies in freedom, not captivity. Understanding more about these magnificent animals will benefit people as well as whales and dolphins... because these animals have marvelous qualities that we can learn from. But that learning has to take place in an atmosphere of mutual respect, not one of imposed dominance. Watching whales and dolphins performing tricks and swimming in circles in a concrete tank will do nothing to help understanding, or respect. Dr. Paul Spong.

PROTOCOL FOR THE READAPTATION AND RELEASE OF TWO CAPTIVE ATLANTIC BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS (Turslops truncatus) KNOWN AS BUCK AND LUTHER by Richard O'Barry OVERVIEW Though each dolphin is different and the return of captive dolphins to their natural habitat is perhaps more an art than science, there are, nevertheless, criteria for release. Over the past twenty-five years, I have been involved in the readaptation, rehabilitation and release of more than a dozen dolphins. This is not to say that all captive dolphins can or should be returned to their natural homes. But all captive dolphins may be readapted to a more normal environment, to a natural sea lagoon, for example. This would provide the dolphin with the natural rhythm of the sea; the odes, the currents and exposure to living fish. All of this is therapeudic and improves the quality of life for the captive. At this point the dolphin may be a candidate for release depending on several factors: 1. Health and physical condition 2. Use of sonar 3. Ability to catch fish 4. Defensive skills against predators Most dolphins born in what we call "the wild" are candidates for readaptation and release. But not all of them. Some dolphins have been in captivity too long and have forgotten or lost the skills needed to survive in what was once their home. Habitat dictates behavior. Captivity has destroyed something vital in their lives, something that, were they human, we would call "spirit." For them, it's too late. Some years ago, for instance, I had occasion to study a dolphin in Nassau who had been in captivity for a long time and was now quite mad. They called him "Big Boy" and he spent much of his time ramming his head against the wooden entrance to his sea pen. On one side of the wooden gate was the area where he was protected, admired and watched with fascination, sometimes by hundreds of people. He was fed all he wanted to eat and was clearly master of his world. On the other was the sea, his natural

home. And as I watched him banging his head against the gate one day, I wondered if it would be possible to readapt him to the wild again. What would happen if we simply let him go? In the old days at the Miami Seaquarium when we no longer needed a particular dolphin, we put him in a sling, carried him out to the seawall and simply dumped him into Biscayne Bay. In the industry this is called a "Dump and Run." This happened to Pedro, for instance, a huge male dolphin who became too hard to handle. How he fared in the waters off Miami, nobody knows. But Big Boy was quite another problem dolphin. Captivity had turned him into a mental cripple. If we could readapt him, I thought, we could readapt any dolphin. But the longer I watched, the more I realized that we were too late. He'd had too much of it. I don't mean mistreatment. I never saw anyone deliberately mistreat Big Boy. In fact, I saw the reverse of that. What I saw was an excess of "love." Everybody wanted to be with him, to touch him and talk to him; in short, everybody wanted to "help" the big old dolphin. But nobody knew how. And so, day after day, always smiling but full of rage, the big dolphin banged his head as if to get free again; a stressed out dolphin who was uncooperative, unpredictable, suspicious and dangerous, a dolphin filled with so much hate that I knew I could never reach him. What caused this to happen? Human intervention and stress. This always plays a leading part in the death of captive dolphins. Stress is the result of not enough space, too many people and having to play the fool too long. It is also the result of having to live in artificial world without tides, without the tastes and sounds of the ocean, and without anything that normally makes life worth living. When we try to turn dolphins into pets or "companion animals," it doesn't ever work. This is hard to realize when it's happening. The dolphin seems to want to be a pet. He's always smiling - seems to be laughing. He seeks us out to be petted and played with. And when we're not around, he seems lost. All this just like a real pet. But this is an illusion. Dolphins are forever wild, created by nature to play a role in nature, not to play silly games in a tiny pool for our amusement. An apparent exception to this are dolphins born in captivity. There is no "returning" them to their natural habitat. They have none. A few of these so-called "battery dolphins" have been "trained" to act like wild ones and they've been released into the sea. But until this procedure has been carefully monitored over time, we should consider each case on its own merits. KNOWING DOLPHINS IN NATURE The key to readapting and returning captive dolphins to the wild is knowing what a dolphin is like in his natural habitat. If you know that, then you can recognize the dolphin's learned behavior in captivity. What are some of these? Watch a dolphin show for five minutes and you'll see virtually all of it. When the trainer comes out with a bucket of dead fish, the dolphin gets excited and swims in circles. He leaps out of the water with excitement, comes down and lies on his back, paddling around with his flukes and flapping his pectoral fins as if clapping. When the trainer squats down to get a fish, the dolphin swims up and begs for food, making squeaky sounds and bobbing his head up and down, showing no fear even if there are hundreds of people watching. All of this behavior is learned. The wild dolphin never does these things in nature because they would be irrelevant and without purpose. Now, though, when we are readapting the captive dolphin, these learned behaviors are quite significant. Indeed, we should make note of them because in preparing the dolphin to live once more in his natural environment, we can watch and keep score as we extinguish these behaviors one by one. When we talk about "extinguishing" a behavior learned in captivity, it sounds like we're throwing water on a fire. Actually we're simply no longer paying the dophin to do them. He learned to do these behaviors in the first place because we paided him to do them. When the dolphin swims up to the feeding station, sticks his head up and bobs it up and down while making a squeaking noise, we paid him to do each part of that behavior by tossing him a fish. That's how you reinforce behavior in a dolphin. So now, if we want to stop that behavior, we stop paying him. And very soon he stops doing it. Because we no longer pay him, it is irrelevant behavior - irrelevant both here and in the world we want him to live in. Again, habitat dictates behavior. At the same time, behavior that has survival value in the wild is reinforced and the dolphin, over time, is ready to return to his natural habitat.

DOLPHIN TIME When I put a Team together to help me rehabilitate a dolphin. I tell them that our basic job is to "empower" the dolphin. When the dolphin is captured, I tell them, he loses his power. He is like a prisoner. And now it is for us to return his power to him. I tell the Team that in restoring the dolphin to his rightful place there are three things they should keep in mind: 1. Assume that you know nothing 2. Maintain sustained observation 3. Consider the obvious These are subtle and very difficuft instructions to follow, especially the first one and especially for former dolphin trainers. Before former trainers can step into the arena, they must strip away their own teamed behavior. This is especially difficult for former trainers because their whole experience with dolphins has been putting on a show, and now this, to them, is the "readaptation show." They want to be part of the act, and at times it seems as if they expect applause. This is just the reverse of how we prepare a dolphin for living in his natural world. We are not putting on a show. We're putting on a non-show, and the less we do the better. There is no shortcut to the sustained observation phase. This is not research; this is a technique. One must eat with the dolphins, sleep with them, and be with them constantly. We call this "dolphin time." How do you learn it? Not by merely reading about it. You have to experience it. Like anything else, whether science or art, you learn how to do it from someone who already knows. Then you know when you are in tune with them. You can feel it. If they gain ten pounds or lose ten pounds, you know it. We need to see exactly what is happening with the dolphins, not what we say is happening. This is not easy for people. It is like an exercise n Zen. It's non-verbal. It means we lose ourselves and become one with the dolphin. When I'm doing it, I live in a tent next to the dolphins and I can feel myself become part of the scenery, like one of the trees, a leaf floating on the water, or a heron who simply comes and goes. When I don't respond to the dolphins learned behavior, eventually they give it up. And everything I do is without words. I have to make reports, of course,; that and the few directions I sometimes give are the only exceptions. But living with the dolphins on the silent level gives you an insight into dolphins that I think is necessary to understanding them and helping them become who and what they are. We think we already know who these dolphins are, for example, because we have their names, we know where they came from, what they eat and how much they weigh. But none of this tells us who they are. In order to know them on that level, we must go beyond words. Beyond descriptions. All of this is to eliminate false words and false theories about what we are doing. When we strip away our previous thinking, throw out our theories and substitute what we know for sure from our sustained observation, we can begin to see the dolphins as they really are and can better assess their survivability back in nature.

THE PROTOCOL THE RELEASE SYSTEM Before anything can be done, the entire Release System must be in place. The Release System is in five parts: (1) The Right People, (2) The Right Dolphins, (3) The Readaptation Process, (4) Transportation, and (5) Post-Release Tracking. THE RIGHT PEOPLE

1. The Director of Readaptation and Release, a recognized authority, knows dolphins both in captivity and in their natural habitat. He or she needs to be an authority because much of the job is dealing with local and federal authorrties and the public through the media. He or she must also have hands-on experience in marine mammal husbandry (i.e. care, feeding and transporting of captive dolphins). 2. The Project Manager deals wrth the permitting process involved in scouting for locations, population studies of resident dolphins near the Half-Way House. He or she manages the Staff and daily affairs, which include record-keeping and documentation of the project. 3. Helpers and Volunteers will be hands-on in the population studies and the postrelease tracking of the dolphins. They will also be responsible for gathering suitable live fish for the dolphins. 4. The Veterinarian of Record, a qualified marine mamnal veterinarian, should assess the health and fitness of the dolphins, be present during the transport and available in case of emergency. THE RIGHT DOLPHINS Buck and Luther were captured originally in the late 1980's and, unlike most captive dolphins, have never lived in an artificial habitat. They are both males and have always lived in an environment that included live fish, tides and currents. During their captivity, minimal demands were made of them as show animals. And both were about eight years of age when captured. This means that when they were captured they had already developed skills needed to survive in the wild, including the avoidance of predators. THE READAPTATION PROCESS Is it necessary to return captive dolphins to the very place they were captured? It is often desirable, perhaps, but not always necessary. The readapted captive male dolphins cannot be expected to rejoin their original family pod. Even if they had not been captured, they probably would not remain with their pod because male dolphins at maturity normally find or form their own pods, sometimes bachelor pods, with groups of females and their offspnng, or both males and females traveling together. We also sornetimes find singular dolphins who have either chosen to be alone or were ostracized from their pod. So it's a mistake to think that we must return dolphins to the very place they were first captured. In fact, if the water in which they were captured had become polluted or poisoned during their absence or if fish they normally ate were no longer plentiful, we would not want to return them there. A search of the literature indicates that there is no empirical scientific documentation to substantiate the claim that dolphins must be returned to the exact spot of capture. Dolphins are quite adaptable and can readily accommodate themselves to a new home range if it is similar to the site where they were captured - similar in terms of tides, currents, extremes of water temperature, food supply and potential predators. Our team will arrange for capturing enough local prey fish for them to practice catching and eating. Water quality tests of the region have also been conducted and are available. One of the most important functions in rehabilitabng Buck and Luther is to maintain a proper feeding regimen. The main objective is for them to maintain proper body weight by foraging and eating only live fish. This is a gradual process which may be viewed in four phases: 1. Encouraging the dolphins to eat with their heads underwater and the introducton of live fish. 2. Eliminating interaction with the feeder by varying feeding times and locations. 3. Dolphins eating only live fish. 4. And once again becoming opportunistic foragers. In Phase 1, all activities are done from a regular feeding station, both live and dead fish to be offered only when the dolphins' heads are underwater. We continue feeding them dead fish but include live ones just

to acquaint them, tossing the fish randomly at short distances, gradually increasing the distance and discouraging the dolphins from feeding with their heads out of water. In Phase 2, we gradually wean the dolphins from their usual feeding regimen by tossing both dead and live fish from different locations and at different times. By now we are behind a blind to keep the dolphins from seeing us. We don't want them to associate feeding with the feeder. We always toss live fish toward the center of the pen so the dolphins have a better chance to catch the fish before it escapes through the fence. Sornetimes it is necessary, initally, to trim the fins of the fish so that the fish will not escape. Feeding becomes more random and uncertain. We now toss dead and live fish from behind a blind at all hours, including early morning and after dark. In the water we have a hydrophone so that we can rnonitor the dolphins' use of sonar in finding fish, especially live fish. We can compare audio recordings of confirmed catches during the day with night feedings. We increase the number of feeding sessions, decreasing the quantity of fish per session. Short, quick feeding sessions from varied locations and at all hours will discourage the dolphins from searching for the feeder. In Phase 3, which is to reach and maintain a diet of only live fish, we must first make sure we can provide enough live fish for the dolphins. We need a good source of fish species indigenous to the release site. We analyze these for nutritional value and, in figuring the dolphins' total diet, allow for the energy used in chasing live fish. While continuing to feed the dolphins at various times and from various places, we now increase the proportion of live fish. When the dolphins are eating mostly live fish, we introduce them in groups of 10 or 15, creating a "school" of fish, which adds realism and forces the dolphins to select the prey they will chase down. Finally, in Phase 4, we eliminate the human element from feeding and encourage the dolphins to forage on their own. We constantly introduce live fish into the pen and keep track of the dolphins' rate of consumption, finally replacing dead fish in their diet with live indigenous fish such as mullet. When the dolphins are ready to venture out of the pen they make it very clear to those who can read their body language. TRANSPORTATION Transportation of the dolphins will follow guidelines established by the U.S. Navy. POST-RELEASE TRACKING The dolphins will have been freeze-branded during the readaptation stage. Buck's freeze-brand will be in the shape of a heart and Luther's freeze-brand will be in the shape of a fivepointed star to aid in visual identification. Radio-tracking devices have been determined to be invasive and provides sites for future infection. Radio telemetry devices have not proved to be reliable in the past.

When I left the US in 1988 to travel in Australia, I had no idea that I would end up working with a group of captive dolphins in Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. Although I had been contemplating my return to University and several years of study for my Ph.D., and had been on the lookout for a suitable research project, I had always intended my work to be on the social behavior of wild dolphin populations. But while I was working as a field assistant on just such a venture up the coast from Perth at Monkey Mia, I heard about the Atlantis Marine Park project. The Park had closed down, leaving 9 bottlenose dolphins without a home--or, at least, without a captive home. The enterprising marine park veterinarian and research scientist, Dr. Nick Gales, had proposed that releasing the dolphins back into the wild would be the best option for the animals' future and would be possible given sufficient time and funding. The owners of Atlantis Marine Park (Tokyu Corporation of Japan) accepted his proposal and agreed to fully fund the project provided that the release would end their financial commitment to the dolphins. The State Government wildlife department gave its stamp of approval, and the project was ready to begin.

Atlantis Marine Park was constructed in 1981 in Two Rocks, a small fishing community 60 km north of Perth. The owners had hoped Perth's rapid expansion would be accompanied by an equal growth in tourism. During the six months prior to the Park's opening, 7 bottlenose dolphins were captured from the local coastal population. They were trained and maintained as performance animals for the next 10 years. Unfortunately, the hopes for Atlantis proved ahead of their time, and the park was gradually losing money. The birth of 3 female calves in 1988, coupled with changes in regulations for holding marine mammals, meant that Atlantis would have to construct a larger dolphin enclosure. The owners decided to cut their losses, and Atlantis closed down in August 1990. At that time it was home to 9 dolphins: 6 wild born adults (3 males and 3 females) and 3 captive born juvenile females. Dolphins had occasionally been released from marine parks, but few of these releases had been properly conducted and documented. They had often involved simply returning an animal to the ocean without sufficient preparation and follow-up work. More recent release projects have involved more preparation and follow-up effort, however, the best example being the "Welcome Home Project" run by Drs. Randy Wells and Ken Norris in 1988-90. They had captured 2 young male bottlenose dolphins from a muchstudied population in Tampa Bay, Florida. After 2 years in captivity, the dolphins were successfully released into their native community, where they quickly reintegrated into the wild population and are still sighted today. Nonetheless, the Atlantis project would be unique and important for several reasons relevant to the possibility of future cetacean reintroductions. Not only were we planning to release long-term captives, but also dolphins born in captivity. We hoped that by carefully planning and documenting the rehabilitation and release process, the project would provide baseline data and guidelines for future releases by determining what techniques and protocol were useful, and which aspects were unnecessary or flawed. Ultimately, we hoped to be able to suggest ways of easing the animals back into the wild, and to provide information about the chances of success, thus spelling out some of the implications of the transition, not only for long-term captives no longer required, but also for endangered species that could conceivably be bred in captivity and released into declining populations. The rehabilitation process to prepare the dolphins for return to the sea began in earnest in March 1991, 6 months after the closure of Atlantis. We carefully considered the change in lifestyle the dolphins would be undertaking and the problems they might encounter. At sea the dolphins would have to contend with occasional food shortages, inclement weather, hostile dolphins and disease. They would have to navigate and move through their environment avoiding predators inappropriate prey, humans and fishing gear. With these thoughts in mind, coupled with advice from a host of experts, we planned a rehabilitation program to help the dolphins recover and enhance (or, for the captive born, develop) these natural survival skills. Rehabilitation began in the Marine Park pools. After the closure of Atlantis the dolphins were no longer participating in shows and most performance behaviors were dropped from the training regimen. The trainers focused instead on husbandry and handling behaviors which involved moving the dolphins into different positions, asking them to present various body parts and allowing a trainer to stroke or handle them. These behaviors are useful in assessing the dolphins' health without causing stress and could be useful at sea for monitoring condition. Chlorine was removed from the water to accustom the dolphins to untreated water. Although the dolphins had no problem with this change, algae began to take over the pool, making it difficult even to see the dolphins. The practice was therefore discontinued. All dolphins were freeze-branded (on both sides of their dorsal fin) with a number 2 cm high. While dolphins are individually recognizable, it takes time and experience to notice differences reliably, e.g. darker color, a nick out of the dorsal fin, or a mark near the blowhole. The freeze brands would make the dolphins instantly recognizable by local fishermen and members of the public. Foraging skills were tested and developed by feeding the dolphins live fish that had been caught locally, thus ensuring they would be fish species that the dolphins would encounter at sea. From the very beginning the dolphins were able to capture live prey, and their skills improved over time. Nonetheless there was a lot of variability between individuals and between trials. Among the adults the more dominant

animals tended to be the most aggressive and efficient at fish capture. One male in particular was known to be highly food motivated, and he had the highest capture rate (he could even capture fish while he still had several previously caught fish in his mouth!). Although the juveniles were all able to catch fish, they did not show the same capacity as the adults. They seemed to treat the exercise as a game and would often all chase the same fish, competing more with each other than actually showing any ability to forage. It was a long time before we were sure that all of the dolphins could catch and eat live prey. One of the more difficult changes was limiting human interaction with the dolphins so that they would spend more time interacting with each other and less focusing on events above water. At this time I began a study of the social behavior of the group. I was interested in the social relationships between individuals, how these were expressed, and whether changes would occur through the process of rehabilitation and release. The research involved endless hours of standing at the pool-side, recording details of interactions between individuals, group composition and general activity. I focused my studies on the 3 males and a colleague looked at associations among the females and juveniles. We had to be careful not to interact with the dolphins and encourage more human interaction at a time when it was supposed to be reduced. This was not easy, as the dolphins were always aware of our presence. We would often have to wait 10 to 20 minutes for them to realize that we were not there to play, pet or feed them and then settle down and go back to their own activities. The juveniles were particularly keen for attention and would spend quite a bit of time peering up at us, occasionally trying out a new activity to test our response. A favorite of their antics was to perform a behavior in unison. Although the juveniles were never formally trained, they copied the performance behaviors displayed by the adults during feeding sessions. Quite often, while we were trying to record observations of natural behavior, the juveniles would all stop, watch us for several minutes then in perfect unison embark upon a series of tail slaps or pec waves. We did our best to ignore them, and the dolphins would eventually return to playing and swimming among themselves, with just occasional bouts of observing the observers. This part of the project gave me a fascinating glimpse into the personal lives of the dolphin group. Like any social species, the dolphins all had "friends" and, if not enemies, those with whom they rarely interacted. Each had a "best friend" with whom they spent most of their time and with whom they engaged in friendly actions like rubbing and side by side swimming. Changes occurred in these relationships, accompanied by bouts of aggression and tension in the group. The relationships we noted were similar to those reported in wild dolphins populations: adult females had strong bonds with their offspring and adult males formed bonds with each other and did not tend to interact so often with the females. Spending so much time observing the dolphins also brought home their unique "personalities", evident in the way they interact with others and with the trainers. For example, one juvenile (Nakita) enjoyed playing with rings and balls. Whenever any toys were present in the pool she was guaranteed to be in charge of them, often playing with several rings at a time. She would even approach the dominant male to take a favorite toy away from him. Of course we all had our favorites and, although the juveniles were the most amusing, I had a soft spot for Rajah, one of the adult males. He was a relatively quiet dolphin, often alone and a bit persecuted by the other males. But he was very friendly with people and would drift by the side of the pool for as long as you were willing to stroke him. An additional aspect of the release was an examination of the behavioral ecology of the local coastal population. Although bottlenose dolphin populations have been studied around the world, there had been no previous research around Perth. It was important to have information on the behavior, ranging patterns, and foraging strategies of local wild dolphins in order to determine whether or not the Atlantis dolphins were integrating properly. A survey project began in March 1991 and continued through June 1993, using photographic surveys to collect information on dolphin group size, structure and composition, general activity, range and association patterns. The next stage involved moving the dolphins to a large sea pen in the Two Rocks marina. This was to serve as a "halfway house" where the dolphins could experience a vast increase in living space and could acclimatize to features of life at sea: fresh sea water, fish and vegetation species and limestone reef. Two new behaviors were introduced; response to an underwater recall signal and following or bow riding with the research boat. While these behaviors are not necessary for life in the wild, we hoped they would aid us in finding and monitoring the dolphins after release. We also hoped to reduce the stress of

release by leading the dolphins out on excursions, venturing further and further from home base, allowing them to gradually become accustomed to the open ocean. The dolphins were moved to the sea pen in October 1991 and adapted quickly to their surroundings. All seemed eager to follow and interact with the boats. The close relationships identified at Atlantis persisted between the females and their offspring and between 2 males. The live fish trials were discontinued in the sea pen because the size of the pen and lack of clarity of the water made it impossible to determine who was catching fish. A local fishing company donated a 1 ton school of yellowtail that were released into the sea pen in the hopes that the dolphins would naturally forage from the school. Unfortunately, the dolphins by and large ignored the fish school, although they would catch and eat fish that were tossed near them. The school, however, did decrease over time, and coincidentally the local cormorant population simultaneously boomed! It is possible that the yellowtail were too small -- all were less than 6 inches in length -- to be worth the effort of chasing, considering that the dolphins were still receiving their normal daily allotment of fish. An addition to the group came in November 1992 when an adult female (Mila) gave birth to a male calf. The final preparation involved fitting the adults with radio transmitters so that we would be able to locate the dolphins at sea. The transmitters chosen were about the size of a matchbox with a flexible antenna that would extend the length of the dorsal fin. The whole package weighed 101 g. We carefully observed the dolphins for several days to ensure there were no physical problems with the attachment site or with inhibition of normal activity. Transmitters were not attached to the juveniles as we did not want to add any stress to the young, growing animals. We also hoped that the juveniles would remain with the females a least in the early stages of the release. Dolphin group structure in the wild is fluid, meaning that group size and composition changes regularly. However, some individuals are often seen together regularly, e.g. females and their offspring, and pairs of males who form long term bonds. While we did not expect the Atlantis dolphins to remain together permanently at sea, we hoped that some of the associations noted in captivity would persist. We finally decided the dolphins were ready for release, and the gates to the enclosure were removed on 14 January 1992 (mid summer in Australia). After this time the dolphins had free access to the marina and the ocean beyond. Initially, however, they displayed little or no interest and had to be coaxed through the gates. Feeding sessions took the form of brief boat excursions leading the dolphins out of the sea pen and around the marina until they left the boat and returned to the pen. The very next day Rajah accompanied the boat out of the marina where he left us behind, heading out to sea. We gathered our tracking gear and set off in pursuit for a very exhilarating 3 hours. During that time Rajah was seen interacting with 2 different groups of wild dolphins. While the first was only a brief encounter, Rajah changed direction and joined the second group (consisting of 1 adult, 2 juveniles and a female and calf). Rajah remained close to the 2 juveniles, occasionally synchronously surfacing with them and engaging in friendly tactile interactions. Interestingly enough Rajah was always the first to surface after a dive, sometimes coming up for several breaths before the rest of the group, an indication that his fitness level may not have been quite up to that of wild dolphins accustomed to regularly travelling long distances. After an hour Rajah again changed direction and left the group. Due to worsening weather conditions we had to leave him shortly afterward. We didn't see Rajah again for 10 days after this promising start, but received reports of his whereabouts and heard his radio signal twice. He traveled 75 km south where he remained in a large bay for several days before traveling 150 km north, where he was sighted at a beach. The following day (10 days after leaving the sea pen) he was found outside the Two Rocks Marina interacting with several children on the rock wall. He approached our boat so eagerly that we though he might jump aboard, and then followed us into the sea pen. Upon closer examination it was obvious that Rajah had lost a great deal of weight during his 10 days at large- 18 kg, or 10.8% of his pre-release weight. He also had several scratches on his belly and tongue, indicating that he had not been foraging properly and perhaps had been trying to eat such inappropriate prey as spiny fish or lobster. Rajah was reinstated in the sea pen in order that he regain condition.

In the meantime the remainder of the dolphins had left together on 16 January with the exception of one of the juveniles (Echo) who was found alone in the marina. She was subsequently captured and reunited with the group at sea. We followed the dolphins for 9 hours that day, during which time they traveled 18 km north, milled near a reef then turned back to the south. Initially the dolphins' behavior was rather erratic and none would approach the boats. However, after several hours at sea they appeared much calmer, slowed down to a slow and steady travel pace and occasionally approached us, though not in response to the underwater signal. The first inkling of trouble came the next day. The dolphins were located readily enough, some 45 km south where they spent most of the afternoon milling near a beach. Due to rough weather we could not stay at sea, but monitored as best we could from land. Reports were received of the dolphins interacting with people on the beach, and of the new born calf being helped into deeper water on several occasions after nearly beaching himself. One final check on the group at the end of the day revealed that a split had occurred; one of the juveniles and the two males were no longer present. The next few weeks involved many hours of boat time and worry as the group disintegrated further and individuals proved more and more difficult to locate. Unfortunately, once the juveniles left the adults, we could not find them save for happening on them at sea or by reports from the public. Thus two of the juveniles went missing within the first week and were not re-located. One other juvenile (Echo) also left the group but was regularly sighted visiting beaches. We finally caught up with her after 8 days at sea. She was obviously losing weight and not making much effort to forage, but spending most of each day at beaches and rock jetties interacting with people. We recaptured her and returned her to the sea pen where she was reunited with Rajah. She had lost 10 kg or 8.5% of her body weight in those 8 days at sea. After this time we were only able to locate the two adult males and Mila with her new born calf. The two males stayed together for at least 8 days (a record for the group) and traveled as far as 75 km south of Two Rocks before going their separate ways. One of the males was re-sighted when he joined up with Mila and her new born calf for three days, before moving off on his own. He has not been sighted since that time (18 days post-release). The other male ventured south, and was found over 350 km away on his 17th day at sea. He was sighted in this area for a further two weeks, often by divers and people at beaches. Although no one on the research team actually saw him, we heard his radio signal several times and received video footage of his last two encounters which showed that his appearance was fine and indicated good health. However, he has not been seen or heard from since 16 February 1992 (one month after leaving the sea pen). That left us with just Mila and her new born calf to worry about. They were regularly sighted 25 to 35 km south of Two Rocks after the group disintegrated and it became obvious that both were losing weight. The decision was made to feed Mila from our boat, but after four weeks at sea her calf went missing and can be presumed dead. At about the same time Mila's radio tag failed, making it very difficult for us to find her. However, she began approaching and following fishing boats, presumably begging for fish, and we were able to track her down with the help of local fishermen. When we found Mila again her condition had improved slightly, but she was still underweight and her choice of foraging methods -- following boats and accepting fish handouts -- was considered inappropriate, potentially dangerous, and evidence that she was not integrating properly into the wild. Mila was never seen interacting with wild dolphins, although on several occasions groups were nearby. We decided to recapture her and return her to the sea pen with Rajah and Echo. This was accomplished on 28 February. After 44 days at sea Mila showed a weight loss of 23 kg (15% of her pre release weight) despite receiving substantial fish handouts during the last two weeks.

After 28 February 1992, none of the Atlantis dolphins were encountered at sea again. We continued boat surveys for a further 16 months and used the radio tracking equipment for the first two months of this. Several aerial surveys were conducted covering up to 700 km in either direction of the release site-but no signals were heard. We continued to receive reports from the public and examined them as far as possible. Unfortunately many turned out to be inconclusive or inaccurate. Although public reports can be a useful aid, they are often unreliable. We only accepted as conclusive those reports corroborated by a research team member, photographs or video footage. However, in May 1992 we received some promising reports of a dolphin, sighted 981 km north of Perth, bearing a striking resemblance to one of the released adults. A similar report was received in September from a further 200 km up the coast, however, neither of these sightings could be corroborated as we would have wished. The three animals returned to captivity were restored to peak condition by the end of May 1992. A new home had to be found for them as we considered that they could not be successfully or humanely released. Not only did we lack sufficient resources for tracking at sea, but their difficulties in the first trial proved they were not well adjusted for life in the wild. Fortunately a local aquarium, UnderWater World, decided they would like to expand and to include the dolphins among their exhibits. A new sea pen was constructed in Hillary's Marina and the dolphins moved to this new location, where they remain. The dolphins participate in several educational shows daily and have recently been involved in a swim-withpeople program. The females have each given birth to a calf and all have remained healthy in their new home. A wild dolphin regularly visits the enclosure, often spending hours swimming and drifting near the net. It is difficult to assess the success or otherwise of our project. I would like to be optimistic and to think that the other five released dolphins are healthy and have integrated completely into the wild population. More realistically, it is likely that at least some of them had problems foraging and integrating into wild groups. In either case, we can be sure of the lessons that we learned, and of their applicability to future marine mammal releases. First, we learned that not all animals are suitable candidates for release into the wild. Length of time in captivity, captive conditions, medical history and a dolphin's behavioral tendencies all affect the likelihood of successful release. To even try to release some candidates will mean placing them under severe stress and discomfort, or risking mortality. Second, we found that it is crucial to ensure that natural survival skills have been honed sufficiently. Long-term practice of foraging skills in a natural location is essential. In our release, at least three dolphins had indicated in captivity that they had a capacity for pursuing and catching fish, yet failed to do so adequately in the wild. We shall never know whether the problem was with locating, recognizing or catching prey. Supplementary feeding is often used to help animals through the early stages of a release but this might not be appropriate for dolphins, as we found with Mila. Feeding her from our boat seemed to encourage her to view boats as a food resource and to approach and beg indiscriminately, a behavior which placed her at risk. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, any release must have available sufficient technology to track animals after release in order to ensure their well being. Only with proper tracking technology is it possible to undertake even minimal health and behavior assessments and to step in if needed. In this study, funding limitations and the state of tracking technology prevented us from reliably locating the dolphins for any length of time. Technology has since improved and satellite tags (which are ideal for long term tracking) can be attached to dolphins. Working on this project gave me some invaluable experiences. I had the opportunity to work closely with a species I find fascinating in circumstances where interaction was not only allowed, but inevitable. The project gave me the opportunity to develop and clarify my ideas about captivity, reintroduction and aspects of animal ethics. I found that my views on and appreciation of reintroduction, captive conditions and captive research changed. Like so many others, I do not like to see animals confined in captivity, even though I appreciate the contribution of captive animals to our knowledge about dolphin health, physiology and husbandry. My experience with the Atlantis dolphins taught me that there is much to be learned from studying behavior in captivity. Having dolphins maintained in a small area with the same group members allows a much closer examination of specific behaviors and social interactions. A

colleague and I were able to identify strong associations between individuals and postulate some theories which might be tested in the case of wild dolphin social patterns. We were also able to identify changes in associations and aggressive interactions that might have been involved in health problems experienced by the dolphins. Thus monitoring behavior in captivity not only teaches us about dolphins' social lives, but also about how best to monitor health and improve captive care. I left the project with a much more positive attitude towards captive research. My involvement in this project also changed my attitude and perception of releasing captive animals into the wild. Initially I strongly favored release, believing that to return animals to their natural habitat after years of confinement was an admirable goal as it seemed to guarantee improvement in living situation and welfare. But as the release developed and I was faced with the difficulties encountered by the dolphins and their obvious decline in welfare, my attitude changed. Was release really in the dolphins' best interests? We talk about animal welfare and animal well being and (although there are a variety of definitions), mean that animals should be dealt with humanely, that they must not be made to suffer or die unnecessarily and, that any causes of suffering must be minimized. But the entire release process is bound to be full of intense stresses and potential risk of mortality, higher than the risks incurred in captivity. I believe that we take on responsibilities for animals brought into captivity so that, as long as they are in our care, we are responsible for maintaining their health to the best of our abilities. In the case of release this responsibility remains until the animal can demonstrate an ability to survive independent of human care. This means ensuring that projects maximize the chances of survival post release, minimize the risks and stresses encountered, and ensure through post release monitoring that the animal is truly capable of independence (even if this means introducing moderate stressors along the way to help condition the animal for its new environment). There is much public pressure at the moment for the release of cetaceans from captivity, most notably in the case of killer whales such as Keiko of "Free Willy" fame. While the intuitive appeal of an animal's living in the wild has been used to encourage support for such releases, I believe that the results of our study show just how circumspect we must be. It is not the case that an animal's welfare is automatically increased, especially not in the early period post-release. Unless there is virtual certainty of success (including adequate funding and technology, selection of appropriate candidates and a careful plan for rehabilitation and post-release monitoring) it might be best that the animal remains in captivity.

Kelly Waples is a recent graduate of Texas A&M University where she completed her Ph.D. studying the reintroduction of bottlenose dolphins from Atlantis Marine Park, Western Australia. She is originally from California where she studied at University of California, Santa Cruz and developed her enthusiasm for marine sciences and the study of dolphin behavior. She has worked on a variety of projects involving marine mammals at Monterey Bay, California, Vancouver Island, Canada, Kaikoura, New Zealand and Monkey Mia, Australia. She spent 3 years in Australia conducting her Ph.D. research. She currently lives in England.

"Aggression expressed by killer whales toward their trainers is a matter of grave concern," writes veterinarian Jay C. Sweeney in the CRC Handbook of Marine Mammal Medicine. "Aggressive manifestations toward trainers have included butting, biting, grabbing, dunking, and holding trainers on the bottom of pools and preventing their escape. Several situations have resulted in potentially lifethreatening incidents. In a few cases, we can attribute this behaviour to disease or to the presence of frustrating or confusing situations, but in other cases, there have been no clear causal factors .... It is generally agreed that careful behavioural conditioning is effective in eliminating aggression from marine mammals. Such conditioning is a complicated matter and requires very careful consideration by behaviourists of substantial experience." But even without aggression, injuries from "accidents" are an occupational hazard of routine stunts. Bruce Stephens, former director of animal behaviour for Sea World in San Diego and now a consultant to marine parks, says orcas have hurt him dozens of times but he still doesn't hesitate to jump into the water. "Any person who has trained these animals has been thumped, bumped, bruised, bitten and otherwise abused over the course of time," he told Nancy Cleeland of The San Diego Union in December 1987. "It happens to everyone." He said that "you have to appreciate the potential for danger" but the record has "really been quite good for orcas - especially when you consider that about 40 people a year are killed in accidents with elephants." Stephens did not mention that many more elephants than orcas are kept in some form of captivity, and more people have close access to elephants because they are land animals. An orca cannot escape its pool and go on the rampage. But is the kind of orca training programme important? What is a good programme? Sea World and certain other parks have long emphasized the number of behaviours you can train a whale to do. The splashier, acrobatic routines earn the most applause. Graeme Ellis, a former orca trainer at Sealand and the Vancouver Public Aquarium and an orca researcher who has collaborated on the pioneer study of wild orcas with Michael Bigg and others, says the measures of a good training programme are safety for the trainers, as well as keeping the orcas mentally healthy and interested. Ellis believes the length of time a whale lives in captivity depends not only on the animal's age at capture and his personality but also on the trainer. "You have to be able to challenge them, to know how their minds work," he told me. "It's not how many tricks you can train them to do in two months; it's how long you can maintain a whale's sanity. They're curious enough and interested enough that they won't be driven neurotic in a year but it's difficult, because the novelty wears off. We seem to have a limited imagination when it comes to keeping these animals from becoming bored or neurotic." Other trainers and marine park curators disagree, claiming that with good training, health care, food and companionship, most orcas can remain well-adjusted to captivity for life. At Sea World, the ability of some orcas to breed in recent years - six successful births at three of the Sea World parks in six years (1985-91) - is put forward as proof of their adjustment. However, as of January 1992, although six calves have survived, three of the four fathers and two of the five mothers have died. Two other females died following (but apparently unrelated to) miscarriages. In the mid-1980s - about the time of the first births - David Butcher took over 'Supervision of all trainers at the Sea World parks, pushing a controversial new orca training programme. Butcher - with trainer Bruce Stephens who left Sea World in 1985 had already begun to emphasize human interaction as a reward for the whales, using an intentionally random system. Butcher pushed the programme further. Five types of training sessions known as PLESR (pronounced pleasure) were defined: play, in which anything goes; learning, when new behaviours are taught; exercise; socialization, in which animals interact with several trainers to simulate a pod; and relationship, when the animal and trainer spend time one-on-one to strengthen their bond. Sessions were scheduled at random, and Butcher kept a weekly log of all sessions between whales and trainers; if any patterns emerged, they were eliminated. If a whale misbehaved, Butcher and the other trainers retaliated by staring at it - a two-second slap of boredom,

according to Butcher. Or did it communicate hostility? To further avoid predictability, no one animal could play the lead all the time; all got to play the role of the featured "Shamu". It sounded like a promising idea to some, potentially dangerous to others. To its proponents, it was a way to alleviate the whales' and the trainers' boredom, to keep interest, as well as performance, high. This approach, soon dubbed the "Sea World Method," was adopted to some extent by other parks. But, along with the intended unpredictability of the training programme came a spate of accidents that eventually brought the whole programme into question. In March 1987, at Sea World in San Diego, Jonathan Smith, 21, was in the water performing with the orcas before several thousand cheering spectators crowded into Shamu Stadium. A six-ton orca suddenly grabbed him in its teeth, dove to the bottom of the tank, then carried him bleeding to the surface and spat him out. Smith gallantly waved to the crowd - which he attributed to his training as a Sea World performer - when a second orca slammed into him. He continued to pretend he was unhurt as the whales repeatedly dragged him 32 feet (9.8 m) to the bottom of the pool, as if trying to drown him. He was cut all around the torso, had a ruptured kidney and a six-inch (15-cm) laceration on his liver, yet he managed to escape and get out of the pool. Did the whales have it in for him? Smith had spent only a few months with orcas, but had worked the seal and otter show for a year. Mild-mannered, he described the job as "learn-as-you-go." He must have wondered what he did wrong. Clad in his seal-like wetsuit, did he somehow trigger a hunting response? The whales' behaviour resembled typical seal-killing behaviour in some parts of the world. But there was no definite explanation. Three months later, in June, Joanne Webber, 28 and a trainer for five years, had a three-ton orca, Kandu, land on her during rehearsal. She fractured a bone in her neck and has suffered permanent loss of head movement. In other incidents, Chris Barlow was rammed during a show and Mark McHugh was bitten on the hand while feeding a whale. That was only the beginning. In August, the "accident" rate escalated. About a dozen accidents later, on November 21, 1987, Orky the mature five-ton male came crashing down on 26-year old John Sillick during a show in San Diego. At the time Sillick was riding on the back of a female orca. It was a crushing blow. Sillick almost died. He had severe fractures to both his hips, his pelvis, ribs and legs. After six operations in fourteen months, according to Sillick's lawyer, he was "reconstructed" with some three pounds (1.4 kg) of pins, plates and screws, including a permanent plate inserted in his pelvis and all his thoracic vertebrae permanently fused. He can walk today but his activity is limited. After Sillick's injury, changes were finally made at Sea World. Sea World's owner, Harcourt Brace jovanovich (HBJ), the book publisher, stepped in with chairman William jovanovich calling the shots. The trainers were told to stop riding the whales, to stay out of the water with them, and to go back to the old training methods. Chief trainer Butcher was dismissed along with long-time zoological director and veterinarian Lanny H. Cornell and Sea World San Diego president Jan Schultz. Various reasons are given for the accidents, but none can be fully explained. Some could have been simple miscalculations on the part of the whales, or missed signs. There might also have been poor signals from inexperienced trainers. The Orky incident with John Sillick did not surprise trainers who knew Orky, his history and his recent circumstances. Captured in April 1968, Orky had grown up with Corky at Marineland of the Pacific near Los Angeles, California. Soon after becoming mature, in 1978, he pinned trainer Jill Stratton on the bottom of the pool, nearly drowning her. "After that," said long-time Marineland head-trainer Tim Desmond, "we didn't regularly do water work with him because we didn't feel it was safe." On January 20-21, 1987, three weeks after Sea World owner HBJ bought Marineland, and promised not to move the orcas, Orky and Corky were trucked to San Diego, to join several other orcas. The new situation new breeding age females and much breeding activity - altered the social interactions of all the whales. But probably more important, Orky was being asked to perform according to the Sea World method with several trainers in the water. For Orky it had all happened almost overnight. Some Sea World trainers contend management was in too big a hurry to break in Orky. Did

Orky have trouble making the transition? It is difficult to determine, but Robert K. Gault, Jr., then Sea World's president, admitted to the New York Times that they may have over-emphasized the importance of the entertainment, adding: "We did not have enough experienced trainers." When Butcher had brought in his new methods and tried to standardize training in all four parks, he alienated several veteran trainers. In one year, about 35 trainers departed, according to Bud Krames, a senior trainer who left because he didn't agree with the system. New trainers had to be hired. Three of the five trainers in San Diego had three months or less experience working with orcas. Sillick, a veteran by comparison, had less than two years. In the year following the accidents, some of the injured trainers began to blame Sea World for not warning them about the "dangerous propensities of killer whales" as one lawsuit put it. Jonathan Smith's lawyer charged that Sea World and HBJ "negligently and carelessly owned, maintained, trained, inspected, controlled, supervised, located, transported and placed" the orcas, thereby exposing Smith to serious injury. Sillick and Weber also filed lawsuits. All three were later settled out of court with gag orders imposed. Following the terms of their deals with Sea World, the lawyers have refused to reveal any more than the basic details of their clients' cases. This means that no one can know any findings behind these cases; no one can learn or benefit from the thousands of pages of prepared evidence. After Butcher left, Sea World revamped the training programme. Under new chief trainer Michael Scarpuzzi, they returned to a simple, consistent approach of rewarding each behaviour. Instead of going into the water, trainers began directing the whales from the deck with hand or underwater acoustic signals. But less than half a year later, they were back in the water. This time the animals were being taught to focus their attention on the main trainer on stage, ignoring trainers in the water. All of it was conveniently just in time to celebrate Sea World's 25th anniversary with a new orca show. The show must go on! Only time will tell if the current training programme proves safer than those of the past. Since the first orcas were kept captive in the 1960s, there have been numerous "accidents" with trainers, most of which were covered up. Those that have come to light were mostly revealed by disenchanted trainers or members of the public who witnessed the accidents during a show. Marine park public affairs directors always played down such incidents, calling them bizarre accidents, and in some cases denied they had occurred. In recent years, with the proliferation of cheap video cameras, a number of incidents have been recorded. They range from bitings and collisions to near drownings when whales have held trainers underwater. Many of these dangerous incidents happened when the trainers were riding whales around the pool. Some former trainers such as Graeme Ellis believe that orcas, in general, do not like to be ridden. "They may tolerate it when they're young or new to captivity," says Ellis, "but later, it can lead to problems." Yet most marine parks still feature trainers riding orcas during the shows. Only Sealand and the Vancouver Public Aquarium in Canada, Miami Seaquarium in the USA, Marineland in France and Taiji in Japan no longer allow trainers to ride the whales. In recent years, fewer trainer accidents are known to have occurred at these establishments compared to parks that feature in-the-water work. Yet, there have been some injuries and the most serious incident of all occurred at Sealand. On February 20, 1991, University of Victoria marine biology student and part-time trainer Keltie Byrne, 20, slipped and fell into the orca pool at Sealand of the Pacific. She had just finished a show with the three orcas. Since Sealand trainers stay out of the water, she was not wearing a wetsuit. One whale took her in its mouth and began dragging her around the pool, mostly underwater. A champion swimmer who had competed at the international level, she was no match for three huge orcas determined to keep her in the pool. At one point she reached the side and tried to climb out but, as horrified visitors watched from the sidelines, the whales pulled her screaming back into the pool. "I just heard her scream my name," said trainer Karen McGee, 25, and then I saw she was in the pool with the whales. "I threw the life-ring out to her. She was trying to grab the ring, but the whale, basically, wouldn't let her. To them it was a play session, and she was in the water." McGee and other Sealand staff tried to distract the whales by throwing them fish, banging on the water with steel buckets and giving them hand and voice commands. Nothing worked. Byrne came up screaming one more time and then,

as the whale swam round and round the pool with Byrne in its mouth, she finally drowned. It was several hours before her body could be recovered. She had ten tooth marks on her body, the largest on her left thigh, but was otherwise untouched. The whales had stripped her clothes off. "It was just a tragic accident," Sealand manager Alejandro Bolz told newspaper reporters. "I just cannot explain it." In May 1989, 21 months before the fatal incident, Sealand trainer Eric Walters told me he had quit the park because of differences of opinion over management. He felt Sealand was understaffed and unsafe. He complained to Sealand management before he left, but nothing was done. In April 1990, ten months before Keltie Byrne was killed, Walters wrote a detailed letter stating his concerns to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies on the occasion of a national symposium on cetaceans in captivity. "Sealand of the Pacific is a dangerous place to work," he wrote. "I feel that sooner or later someone is going to get seriously hurt." His words were prophetic. Walters cited problems with a training programme in which trainers were not allowed to enter the water with the whales. Since the whales were not used to having anyone in the pool, anything that fell in became very interesting. Yet the reaction of the Sealand whales in the Byrne case, Walters believes, may have been in part due to food and sensory deprivation. Walters reports that some marine mammals including seals, sea lions and orcas were kept in a permanently "hungry" state at Sealand or deprived of food if they did not perform or co-operate. In an April 1991 letter to the British Columbia Veterinary Medical Association, Walters wrote: "If the killer whales did not enter the module pool [a small, dark, metal holding pool about 20 feet (6 m) deep and 26 feet (8 m) in diameter] at the end of the day to spend the night, we, as trainers, were instructed to withhold their end of-the-day allotted food. This was usually at least 25 to 35 percent of their daily food intake." While in the module, the three whales, one male and two females, were barely able to turn around, much less escape from each other. They often cut or scratched their skin on the metal sides. Walters told me that he once saw the young male with flukes abraded and bleeding. As well, the orcas sometimes fought and suffered other injuries. Walters, now a biologist who has spent many hours observing wild orcas, said that the injuries were more severe than the usual rakes and scratches which result from orca play in the wild. On one occasion, the female, Nootka, was fighting with the others and crashed into the module, striking her head on the metal side. Her head was bleeding and blood came out of her blowhole. According to Paul Spong, who has followed the case closely, the sensory deprivation imposed by 14 1/2 hours a day in tiny, dark quarters contributed to the mental state of the orcas that led to Byrne's death, as well as to several earlier incidents at Sealand. In one, trainer Henriette Huber was scratching Nootka's tongue when the whale bit her on the hand and pulled her into the pool. In another case, head trainer Steve Huxter was trying to retrieve a camera from a whale's mouth when the whale pulled him in, grabbed his leg and started to take him under. In both cases, Walters managed to rescue the trainers. Food deprivation at marine parks is not generally discussed - even within the industry. Most marine parks build show times around feeding periods, and feed the animals after the show no matter how they perform. Food deprivation is officially considered antiquated by senior trainers, curators and other staff. It is generally accepted that a good trainer does not use, or need to use, deprivation. As well, some such as Sonny Allen, director of marine mammal training at Marine World Africa USA, have advised against deprivation because it "can work adversely down the road." He told the 1989 International Marine Animal Trainers Association annual conference, "what happens, we've found, is that it leads to aggression." Yet certain trainers do at times withhold some food if an animal refuses to perform. A former Sea World trainer who requested anonymity told me that whales or dolphins that would not perform were sometimes

denied food during or immediately after the shows. They would only be given their "base" including vitamins - about 2/3 of their daily food allotment. "Usually the whales would start performing when they realized they weren't going to get fed," she added. But Paul Nachtigall of the US Naval Ocean Systems Center, found that food deprivation did not enhance learning in bottlenose dolphins, and that hungry animals were even less interested in co-operating. Some of these ideas and theories were discussed at a public inquest in the Byrne case, in Victoria, in May 1991. Sealand was criticized for poor safety and emergency features and for the practice of confining the whales at night in the holding tank. But there was no outright criticism of food deprivation. The inquest resulted in a list of twenty recommendations for preventing a reccurrence of tragedy. Sealand was told to refrain from keeping whales penned up in the holding tank unless it was necessary for veterinary or husbandry purposes. (Part of the reason for locking them up was that Sealand has only a gate separating the orcas from the open sea, and Sealand's owner apparently feared the whales would escape or be let go.) The jury recommended that Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans develop a marine mammal policy to ensure the health and welfare of captive whales and to make scientificallybased inspections and assessments of each aquarium twice a year. To date, no government action has been taken. But, following Byrne's death and fearing that they would be closed down permanently, Sealand management began instituting safety measures such as installing railings around the pool and placing air tanks and scuba gear nearby. Head trainer Steve Huxter started using a long handled brush and roller to give the whales more contact. As well, Huxter worked with the three orcas on "desensitization training" so the whales would ignore a new object in the pool. There was no plan to train the whales to accept trainers in the water, to institute an in-the-water programme - the suggestion of some trainers. But it was all too late for Keltie Byrne. Her parents have decided so far not to sue Sealand, preferring to put the tragedy behind them. The jury at the public inquest was unable to agree on the real cause of Byrne's death, beyond drowning. Why did orcas, which had never killed a trainer in marine parks or in the wild despite thousands of encounters, suddenly kill a human? Was it "an accident waiting to happen," if not at Sealand, then at Sea World or almost any park, especially one where basic safety procedures are overlooked? Was it the inevitable result of keeping orcas in captivity, a situation in which behaviour is shaped by young human trainers and influenced, even distorted, by the physical and social conditions imposed by life in a small enclosure, with the day-in day-out demand to perform and to live in close proximity with humans and animals that they would never socialize with in the wild? Or, was the bizarre behaviour the specific result of the routinely imposed sensory deprivation when the Sealand orcas were confined in the tiny metal module? The jury did not stop Sealand's orca shows, but the city in which Sealand is based has indicated that Sealand's lease may not be renewed. In September 1991, Sealand owner Bob Wright put the three orcas up for sale. But what marine park wants to take three orcas that killed their trainer? Even before Sealand announced the whales were for sale, Sea World was preparing an application to NMFS to import them.

A pre-proposal to return and rehabilitate a captive killer whale named Lolita to her home waters in Greater Puget Sound. Prepared by Center for Whale Research Friday Harbor, WA 98250 April, 1995 Our AIMs: 1) to reach a sensible business agreement with Lolita's owner(s) to retire her from show business and transport her back to her home waters to live out the remaining years of her life in a natural setting. In

doing so, the paramount factor will be to ensure Lolita's health and well-being in cooperation with those who know her best. 2) to acclimate Lolita in a natural seawater pen and train her to "gate" to open water of Greater Puget Sound, much like the training accomplished by the US Navy for dolphins and killer whales (see: Bowers and Henderson, 1972). 3) to conduct comprehensive DNA, veterinary, and physiological studies of Lolita before, during and after her transition to home waters to determine the genealogy, relative health, and physiological demands of captive versus that of free-ranging whales. 4) to contribute to our understanding of the science of reintroducing cetaceans to the wild: whether or not she actually returns to her family, she can provide valuable information on foraging ability and freeranging behavior of an ex-captive. 5) to ascertain whether a whale can remember and respond in its native dialect after long term separation from its family. 6) to allow Lolita to return completely to a free-ranging state with her family members, if she so chooses (reintroduce her to the wild), or to simply provision her and provide veterinary care while allowing her to free-range and return at will to a "sea-pen" location in which she feels secure. 7) to potentially recall Lolita at intervals from her free-ranging or reintroduced state to ascertain her continuing health status, and to obtain information about her environment via medical and instrument sampling. 8) to determine whether Lolita can acquaint other free-ranging whales with trained behaviors that may be of scientific value to us or survival value to them (eg. can she introduce them to feeding sites or behaviors which permit close observation or veterinary care?). 9) to boost public awareness about marine conservation and the unique role of these remarkable cetaceans in the marine ecosystem. Background and Significance Why retire Lolita and subject her to a research project now? Killer whales are actually large dolphins and are naturally very social and cooperative top marine predators, with highly evolved communication and mental processing abilities. They are specialists that strategize and cooperate with one another in very complex foraging situations, and they develop very long-term functional relationships with other whales (and, sometimes with people). With other whales these relationships begin along matrilineal lines, and subsequently extend to more distant kinship groups within a clan. Gametes disperse throughout the clan, but the individual whales, both male and female, remain in their natal matriline for life. This functional family approach to successful cooperative predation which they have evolved over millennia is now very obvious in field studies, yet this species' modern captive display in show business routines does little to depict it. On the contrary, the display is much like a marine circus with whale and human entertainers doing spectacular tricks together, and there is some controversy over whether that is appropriate display. Most of the whale entertainers were removed from their wild family at a very young age and forced into artificial social groups for these displays, or more recently for display and captive breeding purposes. Killer whales are not an endangered species, and currently there is no management need to breed them for reintroduction, although reproductive and captive studies are of scientific interest and may have management value in the future. There has been recent discussion of reintroducing killer whales and other dolphins for humanitarian or management purposes, but the subject is controversial. In the particular case we bring up - that of Lolita - captivity is primarily for public display and entertainment purposes, as her facility has no other killer whales and since 1981 has made no application to acquire any. Her case is controversial; but, nonetheless it represents a major concern for the whale and an image problem for the captive display industry that for the past fifteen years she has been essentially in solitary confinement in an outdated, inadequate and deteriorating facility in a program of limited educational or conservation benefit to the public. It is a case like that of Ivan, a gorilla that spent twenty years in a solitary cage in a shopping mall in Tacoma until last year. Both Lolita and the Miami Seaquarium where she is housed are victims of changing demographics of South Florida tourism, with diminishing revenue for improving the situation and not much to look forward to in the economically foreseeable future. The facility is subject to severe damage from natural disasters

such as the devastating Hurricane Andrew which caused the death of several of her fellow captive marine mammals. During that storm, her water filtration and cooling system were temporarily knocked out, and enormous jacks now support the concrete stadium around her, with puddles of seawater gathering around the leaking floor. It is likely that no marine park is currently willing to buy Lolita, because in their view she is approaching maximum longevity (which is statistically probable if she remains in captivity), and many think she is past her reproductive prime for captive breeding purposes. We are not privy to her owner's specific plans for Lolita, but we are concerned for her future and are trying to offer a plan before it is too late. We are also trying to anticipate future information needs in the science of cetacean reintroduction and in marine ecosystem management particularly as it pertains to this whale's home waters of Puget Sound. Lolita is perfect for both purposes, as we hope to demonstrate. From our review of cetacean releases to the wild, mostly of dolphins (but including short-term captive releases of killer whales), and from discussions with marine mammal veterinarians, trainers and collectors, we suggest that these animals can be viably returned to the natural state, where longevity may be greatly increased. Dolphin releases have been successfully done even after prolonged captivity lasting more than a decade (for examples, see: Cetacean Releases, DRAFT 1994), but they have often been uncontrolled and/or without sufficient follow-up. There is a general need to develop a scientific protocol for increasing the probability of successful reintroduction of cetaceans in the future for both management and rehabilitation purposes. There is also political support for developing such a protocol: for example, in response to a Congressional request, the United States Navy (NRaD) recommended, among other things, that the Navy establish reintroduction as an exploratory initiative and foster the research and development of the necessary methods and technologies (Brill and Friedl, 1993). In summary, the cumulative economic, demographic and biological risk factors appear greater to Lolita's survival and less humane in her present artificial surroundings in Florida than those resulting from bringing her back to her home waters of Washington State for potential reintroduction to her natural habitat and family. There is also a strong scientific and political incentive to begin developing a proposal to do just that. The merits of such a proposal are objectively clear when one considers the improved knowledge such a program will provide in the science of reintroduction such as has been called for, and the constructive benefit to the resident whales from the media attention generated (eg. the huge promotion of the importance of maintaining a healthy ecosystem for the whales and their prey resources). The attention can also generate revenue potential for the Miami Seaquarium.

Why Lolita? Aren't there other whales in captivity to pick on?

Lolita is a native daughter of Washington, and is the last survivor in captivity from the Washington State population. Her free-ranging extended family has also survived, is well documented and is year-round "resident" to Greater Puget Sound, and they can be located in this habitat much of the time. This is a very unique situation, and it is not the situation for any other cetacean in captivity. In fact, Lolita probably offers the most unique opportunity for a rehabilitation and reintroduction study of any cetacean ever in captivity, and arguably her quality of life will be improved if she was made available for such study. What specifically is known? Lolita (aka Tokitae) was captured on 8 August 1970 at Penn Cove, Whidbey Island about forty miles north of Seattle. She was a member of the southern resident community of killer whales (aka orca, from the scientific name Orcinus orca) that frequent the Greater Puget Sound marine habitat. Lolita was one of seven young whales sold to marine parks around the world in this roundup of virtually the entire population. From more than a dozen such captures, approximately 58 young whales were removed, and approximately 68 mostly older individuals remained. Due to a Federal court order, and public resistance to further removals, no captures have occurred in the Greater Puget Sound region since 1976, and the population is now recovering and estimated to return to pre-exploitation size by the end of this century. All captures since 1976 have taken place in Iceland, and most of the killer whales in captivity are now Icelandic, or genetically mixed offspring from Pacific and Icelandic whales. The Icelandic whale population has not been well studied, and the logistics of rehabilitation and reintroduction study off Iceland are formidable, if not impossible due to that government's stance on whaling and animal issues. Lolita was sent to the Miami Seaquarium in Florida in September 1970, to share a pool with a young male whale named "Hugo" captured in Puget Sound in 1968. The six other young whales exported from her capture went to parks in Texas, Australia, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom. All six, and Hugo,

have since died. Whereas, natural lifespan in the wild is currently estimated at 50 80 years (Olesiuk, et. al., 1990), all of these young animals died prematurely in their teens or younger. It is a sad fact that no whale lifespan in captivity has yet approached the average lifespan of these animals in the wild. The arbitrary breaking of bonds and mixing of whales from different populations in small enclosures to satisfy entertainment and breeding requirements may be causing a well-masked stress response which reduces survivability. The captive population is unlikely to produce animals suitable for future reintroduction in the current breeding scheme. In any population, however, a few individuals are potential survivors of extreme situations, including those encountered in transport and captivity. Lolita is obviously one of these hardy survivors, perhaps in part because of her relatively advanced age at capture. She was about 15 feet long and six to seven years old in 1970, and is now a mature nulliparous adult about 31 years of age. She is approximately 22 feet in length, weighs about 8,000 pounds, and is reported to be in excellent physical health. Judging from her survival to date and her veterinary reports, she receives excellent care, quality food and training, and she is alert and responsive to people who come to see her shows. She has adapted well to human control. Even her owners admit, however, that her pool is too small, outdated, and seriously in need of maintenance. It is an 80' oval pool 12 20 feet deep filled with natural seawater that is drawn from Biscayne Bay and chilled to about 65 degrees F. The pool was severely damaged by Hurricane Andrew, and with just a little push from another hurricane, her entire physical support system could fail. Unfortunately, we see no feasible backup plan for her survival, except to move her to even less adequate tanks on site or perilously move her to another marine park in the event of another disaster. That is not really a viable plan for Lolita's long term benefit, so we propose developing one.

The Proposing Institution

The Center for Whale Research, Inc. was founded to promote, support and conduct benign scientific research on marine mammals of the Order Cetacea - whales, dolphins and porpoises. The research methodology is primarily that of photo identification in population and behavioral studies in the wild. Photo-identification relies on the demonstrated permanence of pigmentation and scar patterns which are extremely reliable, for example in killer whales. The knowledge gained from these studies is provided to governments, to the public and to conservation organizations. The Center is funded by contributions from individuals and organizations, occasional grants, sales of whale related items, and contracted studies. It is incorporated as a non profit organization in the State of Washington with IRS 501 (c)(3) tax deductible status [EIN 91 1334319]. The principle studies underway as of 1995 are the Orca Survey - a long term photo identification study of killer whales in the Pacific Northwest since 1976; and, the Bahamas Marine Mammal Survey - a general survey of marine mammals in the Bahamas Islands, with particular emphasis on photo identification studies of bottlenose dolphins, pilot whales, and beaked whales. Other studies include collaboration on population studies of humpback and blue whales in the North Pacific Ocean, and development of technologies and techniques for benign studies of free-ranging cetaceans. Much of the Center's fieldwork is conducted in cooperation with Earthwatch, a Massachusetts based volunteer environmental organization. The Center is staffed by a full time volunteer director, a volunteer publicist, and five part time volunteer researchers. Over ninety percent of the Center's budget is spent on program activities. For purposes of this project, if a scientifically responsible plan is developed and approved, the Center will undertake dedicated fundraising and will solicit extensive collaboration with Pacific Northwest zoos and aquaria, the Miami Seaquarium, and agencies in the State of Washington to bring Lolita home. The staff and volunteers of the Center are keenly interested in the well-being of all whales and dolphins, both in the natural state and in captivity. Lolita potentially bridges the gap that has developed between captive marine mammal research and research on a free-ranging population quite nicely. As a result, she offers the sciences of Zoology and Reintroduction Biology a most unique opportunity. Why do we think Lolita has a family to return to? What is known of her family? The Southern Resident Community of killer whales is comprised of three pods, J, K, and L. This population now totals 94 in mid-August of 1995, which is roughly 39% higher than its size of 68 when we censused it in 1976. All three southern resident pods were cropped during 1967 73 in a live capture fishery for aquaria. At least 44 of the 58 removals were of southern residents, mostly immature whales

that were taken or killed during captures in this period. Perhaps up to 14 whales that were taken or captured were so-called Transients that are genetically distinct and have a range from Alaska to California. A photographic catalogue of both residents and transients was published by Bigg, et. al. (1987), and the resident catalogue has been recently updated by Ford, et. al. (1994). Photographs taken during Lolita's capture demonstrate that she came from a southern resident pod; she is therefore genetically compatible with the region's population. The southern resident pods are seen regularly during the summer in the protected inshore waters of Georgia Strait and Puget Sound, especially in the vicinity of Haro Strait, west of San Juan Island, and off the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Southern residents, especially K pod and L pod, frequently make excursions out of Juan de Fuca Strait to areas off the west coast of Vancouver island and the Olympic Peninsula, where they forage amongst commercial trollers on the offshore banks to catch salmon. In September and October, all three pods can often be found off the mouth of the Fraser River in Georgia Strait, intercepting late season runs of salmon before they enter the river. During the winter, J pod is the most commonly sighted pod in inshore waters, especially in the Alki Point, Vashon Island and Pt. Defiance areas. Even during salmon season, these whales are known to eat species of fish other than salmon, and their population is probably prey resource limited by the year-round availability of nonsalmonid as well as salmonid species. From twenty years of detailed individual photo-identification study, we have learned that the southern resident killer whale society is matrilineal and apparently matriarchal. No offspring has been observed to emigrate from its natal pod, nor have any immigrated. The maternal bond is quite strong and apparently life-long, as for example in elephants. Average longevity in this population is calculated to be 29-50 years, males and females respectively, and sexual maturity in both sexes occurs in the teens (Olesiuk, et. al., 1990). Social maturity for males occurs in late teens or early twenties. Sexual activity is precocial, mating is presumed to be polygynous, but paternity is not known. mtDNA studies now underway may soon reveal fascinating detail to overlay the observational studies (see, for example, Amos, et. al., 1991). They will in all probability also reveal Lolita's matrilineal affinity. What have we done so far, and what steps need to be taken? Our greatest concerns are for the long term well-being of Lolita, the pods to which she may be reintroduced, and the cause of conservation and wise management of Greater Puget Sound marine resources. We wish to take all possible precautions to minimize risk or suffering to Lolita in development of this proposal. As in the case for Ivan the gorilla, we have to approach this whole project with the mindset that we have a naturally wild but socially deprived animal in our care, and we have to keep its best interests in mind. From a captive wild animal's point of view, our wishes and efforts may be irrelevant. It may long for freedom, and savor its remembrance, or it may accept the free meals and medical plan, ad hoc. But, in almost all cases where the option is available, creatures in captivity prefer being with others of their kind over solitary confinement. That is the humane standard of captivity. Where possible, the choice should be left to the wild animal involved whether it should remain alone. In that, Lolita may be a most unique cetacean candidate, being large-brained and potentially vocally communicative. We are encouraged from the recent successful reintroduction of the captive gorilla, Ivan, to the company of other gorillas following over 20 years in a solitary cage in a shopping center. Ivan quickly adapted to his new social setting in a new environment and mated with a female gorilla within x days of his reintroduction. Several steps need to be taken prior to proposing that anyone transport the captive whale Lolita from the Miami Seaquarium to her native waters for rehabilitation and potential reintroduction. These can be logically divided into several phases some of which may run concurrently: 1) developing a detailed scientific and husbandry protocol that meets the professional standards of the zoological display industry; 2) gaining public support (including permission from the owner of Miami Seaquarium) for a whale rehabilitation/reintroduction project; 3) selecting a sea-pen site or sites and meeting government criteria for rehabilitation/reintroduction of a marine mammal; 4) conducting pre-transport evaluations and experiments, including acoustic experiments to assess potential recognition by her pod; 5) assembling a team of specialists to actually carry out the transport and acclimatization of Lolita; and, 6) including sufficient safeguards such that any actual return to the wild will be up to Lolita, not us or other parties. The success of each phase of the project will help determine the timing and procedures for subsequent phases. For example the degree of apparent mutual recognition elicited by the acoustic experiment will provide data on which the proposed timing of the eventual transport and potential reintroduction will be

based. A short term experiment to determine if Lolita can and will pursue and devour live fish in her tank, similar to an experiment conducted by Newman and Markowitz (1993) at Marine World Africa USA in California in 1993, may also be done. In that experiment, the two whales, which had been in captivity for 24 and 13 years, immediately echolocated on, caught and ate the fish. If such an experiment is permitted by the owner, allowing Lolita to catch live fish may be continued as environmental enrichment even after the results of the experiment are known. Broad based political support for the project will be important in all phases for several reasons. Many areas of oversight, experience and expertise will be relevant to various aspects of the project, and a generally supportive public will encourage help from the scientific community, permitting and supervisory agencies, land owners, possible funding sources, and others. Widespread public interest in the project will also help to fulfill an important objective: To draw attention to the whales that live in and depend on the waters of Puget Sound and thereby engender a sense of stewardship toward them and their ecosystem. When the whales' health and well being are an important consideration, the overall health of the Puget Sound marine ecosystem will become important for the public to understand and improve. For example, the whales' need for bountiful salmon and other fish runs requires that wetlands, streambeds and rivers be productive for them to simply eat. We know and otherwise suspect that PCB's and other contaminants build up in whales' fatty tissues and may cause reproductive failure or firstborn neonate mortality. From a general awareness of these ecosystem effects, the public will be more concerned about point and nonpoint pollution, oil spills and other sources of contamination that must be prevented to ensure water quality. Whales, especially a star whale like Lolita returning home, can help rally active concern to protect and conserve natural resources. For the millions of people who will follow Lolita's progress back to her native waters and reunion with her family, the health of her habitat and her prey sources will become generally known. Lolita is not only a unique individual; she is a unique vehicle to understanding and appreciation for marine conservation. Examples of some scientific experiments that might be conducted with Lolita's help. 1) DNA studies for genealogical relationships. mt DNA from blood or biopsy samples will further confirm Lolita's origin as well as improve general understanding of free-ranging pods. mtDNA studies using skin samples are already underway in free-ranging populations in Prince William Sound, Southeast Alaska, northern British Columbia, and in offshore, transient, and southern BC/Washington. In September, 1995, biopsy studies for DNA analysis will commence in Washington State. Potentially, all of Lolita's immediate living relatives will soon be known. It is vital that holders of animals in captive populations contribute samples from their animals and make the results available for scientific and conservation purposes. We suggest that for this, all Icelandic whales should be sampled, and all genetic crosses should be studied in detail. This information is very important to science, and should not be considered proprietary. 2) Communication studies. As a first step in reintroducing Lolita to her pod, we propose playback experiments to Lolita from recordings of several pods to look for recognition of her native dialect. We also propose making recordings of Lolita's vocalizations for playback experiments in the vicinity of her extended family to look for response. Based upon results of those experiments, we anticipate further proposing establishing a live two way communication link via satellite between Lolita's tank in Miami and her extended family in Puget Sound. Orca pods and communities share vocabularies of calls, and we believe that when she hears her family's characteristic vocalizations, Lolita will recognize them and vocally respond. This interaction will help establish the level of recognition between Lolita and her family, and may help prepare her emotionally for reintroduction. 3) Physiological studies. Physiological techniques and telemetry have advanced significantly since the US Navy conducted studies of free-ranging killer whales in the late 1960's and early 1970's (see: Bowers and Henderson, 1972; and Ridgeway, 1972 versus Mate, 1989; and Goodyear and Andrews, 1993). It is now technically feasible to instrument a free-ranging whale using benign suction cup attachment of physiological and other transducers and computer memory chips to send data back via radio signal, either with line of sight or satellite relay. Lolita can be trained to gate, range freely, and return to the security of her enclosure, all the while sending information such as body temperature, heart rate, acoustic emanations, brain wave patterns, depth of dive, oceanographic and ambient acoustic conditions. In routine medical examinations before and after free-ranging experiments, she can present urine, blood samples, respiratory air samples, etc. for unprecedented access to information regarding the

physiological state of a captive versus free-ranging killer whale. The US Navy is doing similar studies with dolphins, and potentially has interest in obtaining information on this larger species of cetacean. When we examine the Navy criteria (Brill and Friedl, 1993) of attributes for a candidate for a reintroduction program, we find that Lolita is very nearly ideal: 1) exact knowledge of its group and location from which the animal was acquired is known. 2) the animal was collected in the wild (not captive born). 3) the animal was self-sufficient before acquisition. 4) in terms of the animal's age at reintroduction, there is a low risk of mortality (Lolita is in her prime of life). 5) the animal is socially competent (Lolita has lived for six years with her family, for ten years with Hugo, and for the past fifteen years with other cetaceans). 6) if made available for return to a sea-pen and free-ranging studies in Puget Sound, the animal will have had experience in a variety of environments. 7) the animal exhibits flexible responses to novel and varied environmental conditions. 8) the animal's behavior is readily modified through the standard techniques of operant conditioning. 9) the animal exhibits no aberrant behavior. 10) the animal is in excellent health and physical condition. 11) the animal has not been exposed to any life-threatening diseases. When we consider questions concerning whether it is more humane to return Lolita to her home waters versus leaving her in her solitary tank in Miami, whether it is more humane to transfer Lolita to another marine park and the company of unrelated animals of her species or return her to her family, and whether it is more appropriate to display her for entertainment purposes or employ her in a scientific development of reintroduction procedures and inquiry into her species ecological requirements, we get into controversial areas of discussion; but, we nonetheless consider Lolita the ideal candidate for such discussion, and we hope that science, conservation, and her species will benefit from it. Concluding Remarks There is probably no more appropriate forum for such discussion of reintroduction of a captive killer whale to its home waters in the Pacific Northwest that in the 1995 Annual Meeting of the AZA in Seattle this September. A major topic of discussion at this meeting will be reintroduction of zoological specimens to wild populations, pros and cons. The peer group of assembled AZA experts have the most expertise, and the most at stake, aside from the animals themselves. The Governor of Washington State has called for discussion with Miami Seaquarium on the subject of returning Lolita, because she is the last remaining native daughter in captivity, and she offers the key to arousing tremendous public interest in the conservation and preservation of the Greater Puget Sound marine environment. We hope that this pre-proposal is seriously considered by AZA participants as a way of bringing their aquarium colleagues into step with current attitudes regarding their role in conservation. These creatures are more than circus actors for entertainment, they are important for public education and conservation purposes; and, their maintenance must be in accordance with humane standards.

Swim with Dolphins? Not if you care about them! LIFE AS A CAPTIVE Captive dolphins are surrounded by people, whether it be their trainers or the general public, for roughly 15 hours per day. In combination with being enclosed in small, barren, cement pools, they easily become

stressed, depressed, and frustrated. They display neurotic behaviors, similar to lions pacing in a tiny zoo cage. Captive dolphins swim endlessly in circles, with their eyes pinched closed or sulk listlessly at the surface of their tanks. Dolphins may chew on pipes or pool walls out of boredom. Dolphins perform monotonous, unnatural (and sometimes dangerous) circus-like tricks for the amusement of audiences everyday. Miami Seaquarium is open 365 days a year. There are no holiday breaks for dolphins! For example, Lolita the orca has performed close to 30,000 shows. Read about training methods used in marine parks from a former Seaquarium trainer. Chlorine and other chemicals in the animals tanks can cause their eyes to become irritated and their skin to become raw and slough off. Tanks become echo chambers. A dolphins most important sense, echolocation, bounces right off the walls. Loud music played during shows does the same, sometimes damaging their hearing. CAPTURES Even though Miami Seaquarium is not currently capturing dolphins from the wild, they caught dozens of animals over a 40 year period. The dolphins were literally ripped from their pods in the wild. It was not unheard of for them to die in capture by drowning in the nets. Nursing baby dolphins were taken from their mothers for captivity former capture-men say. Between the 1960s and 1993, at least 1,600 whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions were taken from U.S. waters, according to National Marine Fisheries Services. Each year, hundreds of dolphins are still caught from the Solomon Islands, Japan, Africa, Russia, and Cuba, for aquariums around the world.

SAFETY CONCERNS Remember that bottlenose dolphins weigh between 750-1,200 pounds and reach lengths of 10-13 feet. They are wild animals, regardless of if they were born in captivity or the ocean. Needless to say, there have been numerous accounts of dolphins, in Swim with Dolphins programs, attacking and seriously injuring people. Incidents include swimmers have their arms and or ribs broken, being bitten, being body slammed, and being raked with the animals teeth, according to the Humane Society of the United States. It is extremely rare for a wild dolphin to ever harm a human being. Marine biologists feel they only attack in situations where they feel threatened, such as in captivity. Not only can you be harmed by the animals but the animals can be harmed by you! They frequently develop ulcers as a result of stress and are constantly exposed to unnatural, dangerous human bacterial and viral infections. People may touch sensitive parts of the dolphins body, by accident, such as their blowholes and eyes. Sun screen, lotions, perfumes, and other harmful substances enter the dolphin tanks via tourists bodies. Dolphins may consume items dropped into their tanks, such as sunglasses, people food, coins, and plastic bags. These can not only make them ill but can also build up over time, causing internal damages. LIFE IN THE WILD VS. CAPTIVITY: Wild dolphins live 30-45 years, while the average lifespan for captives is just 10-15 years, according to the most recent Marine Mammal Inventory Reports. Wild dolphins and orcas remain with their family pods for life. They have been known to sacrifice themselves to save their companions. In captivity, however, these close bonds are shattered. Young calves are ripped from their mothers to be sold to other parks or put in another pool. Once an animal is moved, there is a high chance they will never see their family again. Miami weather is unpredictable! One day it can be a blistering 100 degree day. The next day, it can be a hurricane with winds 95 miles per hour. Imagine living in a cement pool, with no shade deck or hurricane protection, unable to defend yourself from the cruel elements.

Majestic wild dolphins can reach speeds of 25-30 miles an hour. They swim 40-50 miles per day in the ocean, eating dozens of types of fish and squid. Captive dolphins swim in tiny, shallow pools, day after day, year after year, as the world passes them by. IN IT FOR THE MONEY: Miami Seaquarium owns 24 bottlenose dolphins. (More than half of them are involved in the Swim with Dolphins program.) It is estimated that each captive dolphin present at an aquarium draws in about a million dollars in profits per year. Miami Seaquarium charges $199 (per person, plus tax) to swim with a dolphin for just 30 minutes and $139 (per person, plus tax) to wade in a shallow pool with a dolphin, also for just 30 minutes. The dolphin swim program runs continuously from 9:30 AM to about 5:00 PM. Groups of as many as 14 people may swim with a dolphin at once, leading to a very stressful and uncomfortable time for the animal.

Swimming with captive dolphins is dangerous

Facilities like the Hotel Los Delfines that allow direct human contact with marine mammals, are exposing their customers to possible infection and injury. The reverse is also trueThe Hotel Los Delfines is exposing Wayra and Yaku to possible human diseases or injury as the result of inappropriate behavior by the public. Diseases contracted from marine mammals however are difficult to treat and diagnose, as they may be overlooked or even ignored by physicians who are not aware of the risksor rangeof potential infectious diseases. In a report to the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission (MMC), researchers from the University of California highlighted the potential health risks to which humans are exposed through contact with marine mammals: In an internationally distributed survey of people who come into contact with marine mammals (primarily those who work with these animals), 23 percent of respondents reported contracting a skin rash or similar ailment. Respiratory diseases were also reported in nearly a fifth of marine mammal workers, including diseases such as tuberculosis. Clearly, exposure to marine mammals can involve a health risk to people working with the animals, but it can also threaten the health of the public.

Attacks on humans Clearly the public has an image of the dolphin as friendly and gentle. The Hotel Los Delfines and CILDE do strengthen this wrong perception by publishing in their website and educational material dozens of phrases like this one: It is about teaching them (the children) to take advantage of their intelligence and creativity for doing good to their neighbors and to discover the wonders of nature along with Yaku and Wayra who, through their language, teach us about the love and tenderness that we must hold in our hearts, the kindness that our planet shelters, and how to transmit the love and concern towards our environment, our home, THE EARTH, to others around us. But even if dolphins are intelligent and playful animals they are still large and very efficient predators, that could easily kill a man. Moreover, in the wild, their behavior to other dolphins and other marine mammals is often aggressiveand sometimes violent. For example, bottlenose dolphins, the most

commonly kept cetacean species in captivity, have been regularly reported attacking and killing members of other cetacean species, and even attacking and killing conspecifics calves. Orcas, another commonly kept cetacean and the biggest dolphin species, are well known for their predatory behavior and have been recorded killing a wide variety of marine mammal species. Cetaceans routinely kill mammals in the wild. Humans are also mammals, equal in size or typically smaller than many of the mammals killed by bottlenose dolphins or orcas. It is extremely foolish to think that somehow the rules do not apply to humans. We are not immune to aggression or injury by cetaceans. In Hawaii, a short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) grabbed hold of a human swimmer, pulling her down 1012 meters underwater before letting her go. Although the swimmer was lucky to not have been drowned, she suffered a bite wound that required nine stitches. As the number of facilities increases that offer encounters with dolphins in the water, particularly in regions where there are few or no safety regulations, safeguards, or reporting requirements, like in Peru, so the likelihood of more human injuries and deaths also increases. It would never be acceptable for zoos to allow visitors to interact freely in an enclosed space with chimpanzees, gorillas, lions, or elephants. It is folly to regard interactions with marine mammals as safer than those with other large wildlife species. Several factors additionally increase the probability of aggressive behavior by dolphins:

1.) Inappropriate behavior:

Inappropriate behavior, such as touching sensitive areas of the dolphins body, like the eyes or blowhole, increase the likelihood of aggression by the dolphins. To date there has only been one record, in Brazil, of a bottlenose dolphin killing a person. The animal who caused the incident was a solitary male, named Tiao by locals, with a history of approaching human swimmers as well as of inflicting injuries: 29 swimmers had reported injuries, mostly as a result of the humans harassing the dolphin by grabbing his fins or trying to jump on his back. Eventually, on 8 December 1994, the dolphin rammed a man (who was reported to have been attempting to put objects into the dolphins blowhole), rupturing his stomach and causing his death.

2.) Captivity
Captivity causes unnatural living conditions for marine mammals. Animals from different groups or even ocans are stuck together in small pools were aggression can not be avoided by creating physical distance between the animals, conflicts between the animals do become permanent and cant be resolved causing a latent threat of explosive aggression. Captive dolphins are time bombs. Dr. Horrace Dobbs, medical research scientist, author, Founder of the Oxford Underwater Research Group and later Founder of International Dolphin Watch, and since 1986 one of the British Pioneers of dolphin therapies with dolphins in the wild (not in captivity) resumes his concerns: Natural man-dolphin encounters (not tour-organized) almost always involve isolated dolphins, turned away from their groups or orphans. Those dolphins seek in men a substitute of the social relationship represented in nature by the herd. However, not every solitary dolphin has a friendly character, and some of them became famous because they broke legs and arms of swimmers who approached them inadequately. Notwithstanding, many people received great benefits from meetings with dolphins, and those animals were able to unlock pathologies which were considered serious or incurable. For this reason, in many dolphinariums programs of therapy-in-pool are organized: here, though, dolphins are forced and prisoners, their territory is very narrow, and abnormal behavior (even aggressive) is not rare. The aggression and violence of which orcas are capable were clearly witnessed at Sea World San Diego in August 1989, when an Icelandic female (Kandu V) rammed a northeastern Pacific female (Corky II) during a show. Although trainers tried to keep the show going, blood began to spurt from a severed artery near Kandus jaw. Sea World staff then quickly ushered away the watching crowd. Forty-five minutes after the blow, Kandu V died. It should be noted that two orcas from different oceans would

never have been in such proximity naturally, nor is there any record of an orca being killed in a similarly violent encounter in the wild. Captive orcas are the marine mammals most associated with human injuries and deaths. In 1991, a group of orcas killed trainer Keltie Byrne at Sealand of Victoria, Canada. In front of a shocked audience, the orcas held Byrne underwater until she drowned. Eight years later, one of those same orcas, Tillikum, was discovered one morning with the dead body of a man, named Daniel Dukes, draped on his back at Sea World Orlando. Dukes had also drowned and suffered a host of minor injuries incurred both pre- and postmortem, suggesting that Tillikum had once again held a person underwater until he died. Dukes had apparently either snuck into the facility at night or stayed in the park after closing in an attempt to swim with the whale, calling into question the parks security procedures. The potential for violence in orcas was also seen when a young orca called Ky attacked his trainer, Steve Aibel, at Sea World San Antonio in July 2004. During a show, the animal hit the trainer, pushed him underwater, and positioned himself between the trainer and the exit ramp of the pool. The trainer was rescued from the whale by another staff member only after several minutes of being unable to bring the animal under his control. But arent these only unfortunate accidents? The personnel at Swim-with-dolphin-programs claim that almost all injurious human-dolphin interactions are accidents. However experts express skepticism about the accidental nature of these injuries. Marine mammals are clearly capable of inflicting injuries and even killing humans. A study from the University of California found that 52 percent of the surveyed marine mammal workers in zoos and dolphinaria reported some form of traumatic injury caused by a marine mammal (251 cases altogether). Those in regular contact with marine mammals or involved with cleaning and repairing enclosures were more likely to be injured. The United States National Marine Fisheries Service NMFS received between 1989 to 1994 more than a dozen reports of injuries to people who participated in programs that allowed customers to swim with dolphins in captivity. The injuries reported ranged from lacerations to broken bones and shock. One man suffered a cracked sternum when butted by a dolphin, and a woman received a broken arm when similarly rammed. In another incident, on 7 October 2004, a 49-year-old man was admitted to Jackson Memorial Hospital, having sustained injuries from a captive female dolphin at the Miami Seaquarium. The injuries were severe enough that surgery was required. The fact is that at any time during a swim session, especially one that is not controlled, dolphins may inflict minor to serious injuries on swimmers for various reasons, some of which are neither obvious nor predictable. Even in controlled swim sessions, the risk is always present and is potentially lethal.

Does captivity educate our children to care

Dolphinaria like the Hotel Los Delfines exhibit dolphins performing tricks that are exaggerated variations of their natural behaviors. These tricks prevent the audience from contemplating the stark concrete and Plexiglas enclosures, so different from the environment from which these animals were taken. Despite arguments that such entertainment makes the experience of seeing marine mammals more memorable, in a survey of 1,000 U.S. citizens by researchers from Yale University, respondents overwhelmingly preferred to see captive marine mammals expressing natural behaviors rather than performing tricks and stunts. In fact, four-fifths of the public in this survey stated that marine mammals should not be kept in captivity unless there are major educational or scientific benefits. In a 2003 survey of members of the Canadian public, 74 percent of respondents thought that the best way to learn about the natural habits of whales and dolphins is by viewing them in the wild, either directly

through whalewatching tours or indirectly through television and cinema or on the Internet. Only 14 percent felt that viewing cetaceans in captivity was educational. Almost nothing is taught about natural behaviors, ecology, demographics, or population distribution during marine mammal shows. Indeed, the one thing that virtually all marine mammal public display facilities consistently avoid is providing in-depth educational material concerning marine mammal natural history or how the animals live and behave in their natural habitats. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that the information facilities present is sometimes scientifically incorrect or distorted to portray the facility in a better light. Traditional dogma states that the display of live animals is required to educate people about a species (and therefore to care about the species and its habitat). It is true that people may respond on a basic emotional level to seeing a live animal on display, and performances may also reinforce the bond with an individual animal felt by members of the audience. But because of the nature of these performances, the perceived bond is not with an actual creature but with an idea of that creature that has been crafted by the facility. Evaluation of the performances scripts and settings, as well as observation of the audiences reactions reveal that a performance is not an educational vehicle but a show in which miseducation (in the form of inaccurate representation of such things as normal behavior, life span, appearance, and social structure) occurs more often than not. To illustrate, many actions performed by dolphins in shows that are portrayed as play or fun are actually displays that in wild animals would be considered aggressive, akin to a dog growling or snarling. Mere exposure to live captive animals does not translate directly into practical action or even heightened ecological awareness, as public display rhetoric claims. Some in the display industry recognize this; the president of the Zoological Society of Philadelphia stated in a welcoming speech to a conference on education: The surveys we have conducted show that the overwhelming majority of our visitors leave us without increasing either their knowledge of the natural world or their empathy for it. There are even times when I wonder if we dont make things worse by reinforcing the idea that man is only an observer of nature and not a part of it. In our opinion exposure to live captive animals does exactly the opposite of what the industry rhetoric claims: instead of sensitizing visitors to marine mammals and their habitat, it desensitizes humans to the cruelty inherent in removing these animals from their natural habitats and holding them captive. Alternative educational means such as animatronics (robots), DVDs, videotapes, IMAX theaters, interactive and traditional museum-type displays, and virtual reality simulations could and should replace dolphin shows.

In nature.Dolphins enjoy the ability to move freely. Their streamlined bodies and smooth skin enable them to gain fast speed, and bottlenose dolphins are always on the move, swimming up to 40 miles a day. They spend only 10-20 percent of their time on the surface. They can hold their breath for as long as 20 minutes and dive to depths of more than 1, 640 feet (500 meters). In captivity.Dolphins are restricted to the size of their tank or enclosure. They can only swim a few feet before a wall or a fence stops them. Captive dolphins--especially those kept in a tank -- spend a lot of time swimming in a small circle or simply lying motionless on the surface of the water. In nature.Most dolphins spend their lives in the company of dolphins of their own kind, living in groups, known as pods. Some pods consist of females and their offspring; others of young males who -- when they reach maturity -- leave their mother pod to form their own. Dolphins are very intelligent and social s animals. Belonging to a pod is important to them, because this is where they find safety, love, and companionship. The social bonds within the pod may last for many years. In captivity.Dolphins are forever separated from their pod. During the capture, the strong social bonds the dolphins have enjoyed and nurtured for years are abruptly destroyed. Different capture methods are used for different species of dolphins. Bottlenose dolphins are usually captured with a net before being hauled onto the capture boat. The capture is an extremely violent procedure, not only for the captured dolphin, but also for the pod that experiences the sudden and permanent loss of a pod member.

In nature.The most intimate relationship within a dolphin community is that between a female dolphin and her calf. The two of them can be seen swimming very closely together, sharing a relationship characterized by deep affection. A young bottlenose dolphin will stay with his/her mother for as long as five years. In captivity.You will find dolphins that have been captured at a very young age to be sent to various dolphinariums/parks and swim programs. They will never see their mother or other pod members again. In nature.Dolphins live in natural seawater. In captivity.Most dolphins are confined in tanks containing chemically treated artificial seawater. In nature.Dolphins use their sonar to check out various fish, predators, their vast ocean world, and other dolphins. Dolphins are sound oriented in that they constantly scan their surrounding with bursts of sound. The use of sonar is as important to dolphins as eyesight to humans. In captivity.Dolphins are severely restricted in using their sonar. They can use it to chase live fish, as t they are fed dead fish as food rewards. Neither can they put it to full use to explore their underwater world, because there isn't much to explore in a barren, concrete tank. They can't use it to navigate, because they aren't going anywhere. Depriving dolphins of using their highly developed sense or sonar is one of the most damaging aspects of captivity. It is much like forcing a person to wear a blindfold for the rest of their life. In nature.Dolphins spend many hours cooperatively chasing and catching fish. Dolphins have developed a number of sophisticated ways of foraging. Not only does foraging satisfy the dolphins hunger. Chasing and catching live prey enables them to let all of their natural skills unfold: their speed, their intelligence, their use of sonar, and ability to communicate and cooperate. In captivity.The first two things a newly captured dolphin has to learn is to: 1. Eat dead fish 2. Accept hand feeding They will never again experience the thrill of chasing and catching live prey. In nature.The young dolphin's mother teaches the dolphin all the skills needed to live in the ocean: How to use sonar and avoid predators, where to look for food, and how to chase and catch fish. Everything a dolphin knows is a learned behaviour. It is by watching and mimicking the behaviors of the other dolphins in the pod that the young dolphin learns how to dive, leap, breach, surf the waves, and communicate. In captivity.Dolphins are trained by dolphin trainers to perform various circus tricks so they can perform dolphin shows and entertain the spectators. Captive dolphins depend completely on their trainers to be fed. This gives the trainer a lot of control over the dolphins. The trainer teaches the dolphins that every time they do the trick right, they receive a fish as a reward. This is how dolphins are trained to walk on their tail, wave at the audience, and take children from the audience for rides around the tank in small rubber boats. The training has a very damaging effect on the dolphins. While learning to perform unnatural behaviours like hitting a ball with their snout and jumping through hoops, the dolphins gradually forgets their natural behaviours. In nature.A dolphin's only boundary is where the ocean meets the shore. In captivity.You will find dolphins confined in small concrete and glass tanks.These dolphins are deprived of moving freely. Having to do dolphin shows several times a day, they are confined to a very small body of water, far away from their pods, with nowhere to swim to and nothing to explore. These are only a few reasons why dolphins and other cetaceans belong in the open sea's and not in concrete surrounds. The tragedy of dolphin captivity can be seen between the shows. When the music stops and the cheerful crowds go home, the dolphins resume to lying listlessly on the surface of the water, starring into the barren concrete wall of their tank. There is nothing else for them to do. This is where their journey ends.

Orca project

OSHA vs. SeaWorld: A Case Study Of DC In Action

August 21, 2010 This week, OSHA was on the verge of releasing its detailed investigation of SeaWorld and its practices following the February 24 death of trainer Dawn Branchea, who was pulled into the pool by SeaWorlds largest orca, Tilikum, and thrashed to death. There was plenty of speculation that OSHA might go so far as to mandate the end of SeaWorlds practice of putting trainers in the water with killer whales during shows. That was enough to prompt Orlando Representative Alan Graysonnormally a liberal heroto step in, which brought forth this articulate and thoughtful response on Daily Kos, from OrcaNetworks Howard Garrett. It is the best response we have seen so far: Todays Orlando Sentinel: U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson intervenes in probe of SeaWorld trainers death U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a vocal supporter of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, acknowledged Thursday that he intervened in a federal investigation into the death of a SeaWorld killer-whale trainer. Grayson, D-Orlando, personally contacted the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration earlier this week to discuss the agencys probe of the death of Dawn Brancheau, a SeaWorld Orlando trainer who was drowned Feb. 24 by a six-ton killer whale named Tilikum. OSHA is in the process of finalizing that investigation. The agency must issue any citations, proposed fines or recommended remedies by early next week. Personal note to Rep. Grayson: I appreciate you standing up for all of us so many times and speaking truth to power, and I wish you a long and glorious legislative career, but you have seriously soiled your reputation by trashing OSHA at a time when it is trying to perform its legislative mandate, an all too rare example of an agency doing its job with high integrity in the face of a corporate bully. You have lined up alongside the bully this time, and that wont be forgotten. Orlando Sentinel: It is not the first time Grayson has come to SeaWorlds defense. When the U.S. House of Representatives organized a hearing in April to examine marine parks and aquariums a hearing prompted in part by the Brancheau tragedy Grayson made a special appearance to speak on SeaWorlds behalf. As Air Americas Stephanie Miller gushes, I love him, love him, love him, but it turns out Grayson has sided with SeaWorlds lobby effort to derail an OSHA report. Yes, those minimum wage jobs are valuable, and yes, we want Grayson to be re-elected many times over, but this blatant, corrupt interference in due process is an assault on democratic values. Grayson is acting as a perfect example of the corporate stranglehold on the legislative process that he otherwise so effectively battles. Some background: In 2006, at SeaWorld in San Diego, a trainer was dragged by his foot several times to the bottom of the 30 deep tank and nearly drowned. OSHAs report on that incident noted that such attacks on trainers were inevitable and that trainers were in danger whenever they swam with the whales.

Los Angeles Times: March 02, 2007|Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO SeaWorld officials Thursday hotly disputed a finding by state investigators that it is only a matter of time before a trainer is killed by one of the parks killer whales. The trainers recognize this risk and train not for if an attack will happen but when, said a report by the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health. The report, released Tuesday, follows an investigation into a Nov. 29 incident in which Kasatka, a 7,000pound, 17-foot-long female, dragged her trainer underwater in front of hundreds of horrified spectators at Shamu Stadium. SeaWorld officials branded the reports findings highly speculative and not supported by scientific fact and met Thursday with the Cal/OSHA district manager to ask him to withdraw or modify the report. Although the SeaWorld trainers are experienced and well schooled in animal behavior, the risk of swimming with the behemoth mammals cannot be eliminated, the report said. Within 24 hours SeaWorld had bullied OSHA into retracting its report and issuing a bland whitewash with no such warnings or recommendations. Then on February 24, 2010 trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by a 12,000 pound male orca named Tilikum at SeaWorld in Orlando, commencing an investigation by OSHA that is, or was, due to be released this week. But in true form and totally in keeping with its modus operandi, SeaWorld has enlisted Rep. Alan Grayson to lie to the American public and bully OSHA to once again whitewash their report. Orlando Sentinel: But SeaWorld has done what it could to make that work as safe as possible, Grayson said in the statement. They have not. Because they got away with it the last time OSHA tried to warn them, they were lax about policies that encouraged Dawn Brancheau to lie down on a submerged ledge in front of Tilikum, from which he grasped her by the arm and dragged her to her death. The story SeaWorld is selling, that he grabbed her by her ponytail, is at odds with the taped evidence that he deliberately grabbed and dragged her by the arm. Its not just Tilikum endangering trainers at marine parks. See Violent incidents between humans and killer whales in captivity a longer list than the parks would like to tell you! for a partial list. Orlando Sentinel: Beyond that, SeaWorld has raised peoples knowledge and understanding of cetaceans enormously, and contributed greatly to the well-being of Central Florida and our community. True that SeaWorld offers thousands of low-wage jobs even the glamorous trainers are poorly paid but the amusement park is notorious for distorting and fabricating its version of orca natural history, like stating that the natural lifespan of orcas is only 25-35 years, to better justify the short lifespans of captive orcas. (Life spans for free-ranging orcas is 50-100 years for females and 30-60 years for males) They also demonize the natural marine environment to justify their keeping the most social mammal known to science as commodities in an entertainment industry, where they are shipped around from park to park to suit management needs. Orlando Sentinel: It is not the first time Grayson has come to SeaWorlds defense. When the U.S. House of Representatives organized a hearing in April to examine marine parks and aquariums a hearing prompted in part by the Brancheau tragedy Grayson made a special appearance to speak on SeaWorlds behalf. Personal note to Rep. Grayson: I appreciate you standing up for all of us so many times and speaking truth to power, and I wish you a long and glorious legislative career, but you have seriously soiled your reputation by trashing OSHA at a time when it is trying to perform its legislative mandate, an all too rare example of an agency doing its job with high integrity in the face of a corporate bully. You have lined up alongside the bully this time, and that wont be forgotten.

Theres one other great post on Daily Kos about this. We highly recommend you read it as well.

Could "Spare Air" Save Marine Park Trainers During Orca Attacks?
August 22, 2010

There has been a lot of chatter and rumor that SeaWorld is working on personal SCUBA air systems for its trainers, and is hoping that OSHAif SeaWorld adopts this technologywill allow trainers to continue to work in the water with killer whales. John Jett, a former orca trainer at SeaWorld Orlando, weighs in on the proposed technology, arguing that it will not really do much to improve a trainers chances if a killer whale goes after a trainer, as Tilikum did with Dawn Brancheau. Heres Jett: The scuba bottle solution Sea Word is likely to propose to OSHA represents, in practical terms, nothing. In other words, this is a false solution. First of all, there are issues with mouthpieces and hoses dangling off of trainers as these will be something for the whales to become focused on and to grab. After all, Sea World is claiming that Tilikum initially grabbed Dawns ponytail, which ultimately lead to her death. Im not sure how an air hose and a ponytail differ, at least from the perspective of Sea Worlds story regarding her death. Do whales differentiate ponytails from air hoses? Secondly, lets assume a trainer who was being thrashed by a whale was somehow able to get the mouthpiece into his/her mouth and begin breathing from the tank (an assumption I think is faulty as it would be difficult to get a mouthpiece in place while being tossed around). The bottom of the front pool represents about two atmospheres of pressure. The volume of a lung full of air taken at this depth doubles while one ascends to the surface. In the event a trainer takes a breath at the bottom (off of a tank) and is then rushed to the surface by the whale then his/her lungs expand beyond capacity and are ruptured. Whales move quickly. This scenario is a real possibility. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, this approach would not have saved Keltie Byrne, Alexis Martinex, Steve Aibel or Ken Peters. Additionally, this approach would have in no way saved Dawn Brancheau from her horrific death. What Sea World is doing is trying to create the illusion that they have fixed a problem which they have no real control over. That is, whales do what they want sometimes, without human consent, and in ways immune to man-made interventions. OSHA shouldnt buy it. UPDATE: Some other former SeaWorld trainers are weighing in on this issue. Samantha Berg worked as an animal trainer at SeaWorld Orlando for 3-plus years, 1990-1993: I think spare air or any kind of SCUBA gear that a trainer has to be wearing would likely CAUSE more problems than it prevents. It gives the whales something else to grab on to. As JJ said, whats the difference between a dangling ponytail and an air hose? One of the problems all marine parks deal with is how to keep things out of the mouths of the dolphins and whales. I know of at least one dolphin at SW that died from ingesting coins (zinc poisoning) that were thrown into its pool by tourists who didnt know better (or who didnt read the signs that specifically state not to throw things in the pool).

And lets just say a trainer is wearing SCUBA gear, the whale grabs the gear, the trainer gets away, and the whale swallows some of the gear. So, the trainer is OK, but now the whale is in jeopardy. So, even if the SCUBA gear or spare air provides some kind of safety for the trainer (which I dont think it does), it puts the whales at higher risk of injury and death. Carol Ray also worked at SeaWorld Orlando for about three years, starting in 1987. She worked in the education (tour) department before becoming a trainer and working at both the Whale & Dolphin Stadium, and Shamu Stadium: Im absolutely in agreement with JJs comments about spare air and lack of benefit to any trainer who ends up in a situation with any killer whale who is no longer under control, as per the videos we can see of prior incidents. Im sure SW will assert that they can desensitize the whales to the spare air that trainers would be required to wear. This is as meaningless as their previous attempts to assure us that call backs will be trained and ingrained so that the killer whales will come back to stage/control despite what is happening in a pool. As we can see with all of these incidents, the call backs are not succesful during real life (lifedeath) events, when they count, despite their success in training sessions. I believe the spare air solution will do nothing other than give the whales another means of potentially harming trainers, either by easy access to pull/drag or, as JJ says, by forcing the trainers to take in air which could eventually lead to bigger problems as per any SCUBA diver who is rushed to the surface. Spare air? Spare me. This is NOT a solution, and would not have prevented Dawns recent death or the majority of injuries that have occured as a result of the recent incidents we are aware of. Heres a video report on Dawn Brancheaus death that goes back and looks at previous incidents with trainers. Watch John Sillick get crushed at about 2:35 and see if you think spare air would have helped him much.

SeaWorld Obstructing Federal Safety Probe in Trainer Death?

August 23, 2010 SeaWorlds ex-safety chief Linda Simons claims gross negligence led to the horrific drowning of orca trainer Dawn Brancheau by killer whale Tilikum in February. Amidst the probe into the attack, Ms Simons claims she was fired for cooperating with federal OSHA investigators, a claim that could bring obstruction charges against SeaWorld. In response, SeaWorld called Ms. Simons an extortionist, saying she threatened to go public with false allegations unless she got paid. Simons has filed a federal whistleblower complaint. The New York Daily News reports: Simons told the Daily News she was fired for talking too much with the federal investigators who were probing the February drowning of trainer Dawn Brancheau by the killer whale Tilikum. Simons, who started work at SeaWorld in Orlando one week before the drowning, has filed a federal whistleblower complaint. She says that just two weeks before the drowning, SeaWorld held a safety drill that went so badly staffers didnt show up or barely paid attention that it was scheduled to be repeated a month later. It went so poorly that they stopped the drill and were going to have another one.

They never did have the opportunity to have the rescheduled safety meeting as Tilikums attack attack on Dawn Brancheau took place on February 24, just two weeks after the failed safety meeting. The News continues with Ms Simons account: When the 6-ton killer whale pulled Brancheau under by her ponytail on Feb. 24, the response was very chaotic, she said. As tourists watched in horror, Tilikum dragged Brancheau around the tank, scalping her and breaking her neck as well as drowning her. It took 30 minutes to retrieve her body. Simons claims SeaWorld withheld documents from Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators and blocked interviews with trainers that might have been critical. Brancheau, 40, broke park rules by lying on a submerged ledge in the tank with Tilikum, who had previously killed two other people by pulling them under water. Simons said the whale was considered so dangerous that new workers were routinely warned that anyone who entered his pool would come out a corpse. But Brancheau regularly was allowed to play with the orca as if he were her puppy dog, Simons said. And SeaWorld pushes back with their claims: Late Sunday, after Simons talked to The News, SeaWorld issued a statement saying she has been using the threat of negative publicity to seek a sizable monetary payment from SeaWorld in exchange for her not going public with these false allegations. SeaWorld said Simons was fired for poor performance during the OSHA inspection of Brancheaus death, and that she demonstrated an inability to conduct herself to the acceptable standard of competence, transparency, integrity or professionalism. The OSHA report is being delivered to SeaWorld today. SeaWorld has repeatedly claimed it has fully cooperated with investigators. Simons is flatly contradicting that. Watch her appearance on Good Morning America this morning and let us know what you think.

Is This the Beginning of the End for Killer Whale Shows?

August 28, 2010

This past week we have seen a number of developments that may spell the end for the marine mammal park entertainment industry as we now know it. SeaWorld, Orlando finds itself under fire from Federal Agencies, former employees and witnesses following the February attack and death of orca trainer Dawn Brancheau. Tilikum, a 13,000 pound orca (killer whale) who has been the main attraction of the theme parks Shamu shows was implicated in the deaths of two other people prior to pulling Dawn Brancheau into her watery grave. The horrifying attack which included dismemberment and scalping of the defenseless trainer was witnessed by unsuspecting park-goers and SeaWorld staff as she struggled to free herself from his powerful jaws. As the details of that fateful day emerge, the public is taking notice and SeaWorld may not escape this latest tragedy without undergoing a transformation leading to the abolishment of orca/trainer interactions which may in turn bring an end to the captivity and confinement of this amazing species. The fallout began on Monday, August 23 as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued citations to SeaWorld for apparently placing profit above employee safety. These citations opened the floodgates for further legal action by Dawns family, terminated employees and witnesses. It has also sparked a growing number of former SeaWorld employees to speak out about the culture of working with Orcas and the secrecy that shrouds the marine mammal entertainment industry.

Triggering the flurry of claims was the stunning announcement that OSHA fined SeaWorld Orlando $75,000 for safety violations including the maximum $70,000 penalty for the Willful act of knowingly placing its employees at risk Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel picks up the story: SeaWorld recognized the inherent risk of allowing trainers to interact with potentially dangerous animals, Cindy Coe, the OSHA administrator in charge of the Southeastern U.S., said in a prepared statement. Nonetheless, it required its employees to work within the pool walls, on ledges and on shelves where they were subject to dangerous behavior by the animals. In its written statement, OSHA added that its probe revealed that SeaWorld trainers had an extensive history of unexpected and potentially dangerous incidents involving killer whales at its various facilities. Despite this record, management failed to make meaningful changes to improve the safety of the work environment for its employees. The agency proposed fines totaling $75,000 for Orlando-based SeaWorld Parks, which generated approximately $1.4 billion in revenue last year. On the heels of OSHAs actions, Linda Simons, SeaWorlds former Health and Safety Administrator, spoke out in reports by ABC News and the The New York Daily News with claims she was fired for assisting OSHA in their investigation, a charge SeaWorld denies, but may be faced with legal action should SeaWorld be implicated for impeding the Federal investigation: Linda Simons is now speaking out on what she calls questionable or even dangerous safety practices at the Florida park that could result in another tragedy. Simons lawyer, Maurice Arcadier, said she was prevented from giving all of the documentation she wanted to OSHA for their investigation. He suggested an impartial panel be appointed to investigate separately. I want to make sure that it is investigated and that the safety of the team members that remain is not jeopardized, Simons told Good Morning America. I think that if theyre put into that close proximity [with the whales] it could easily happen again. Simons said everyone who came to work at Sea World was given what she called the Tili talk a warning about the killer whale that had killed a Canadian trainer in 1991 and a man who sneaked into his holding area in 1999. They talk to you about going into the water with Tili, she said. That if you go into the water with Tili you would come out as a corpse. Simons told the Daily News she was fired for talking too much with the federal investigators who were probing the February drowning of trainer Dawn Brancheau by the killer whale Tilikum. Simons, who started work at SeaWorld in Orlando one week before the drowning, has filed a federal whistleblower complaint. SeaWorld denies Ms Simons claims. You can be the judge as to where the misconduct lies Linda Simons worked for SeaWorld for only a few weeks and was fired not for the reasons she cites, but rather for poor performance during the OSHA inspection of Dawn Brancheaus death, the statement read. During those critical weeks, Ms. Simons repeatedly demonstrated an inability to conduct herself to the acceptable standard of competence, transparency, integrity or professionalism demanded of an inspection of this magnitude. Another block buster revelation came in the form of an announcement that the family of Dawn Brancheau has retained the services of a law firm specializing in wrongful death suits. SeaWorld has maintained that their relationship with the Brancheau family is amicable, however this action will indeed strain that relationship Dan OConnor, a partner with OConnor & Nakos, declined to discuss whether his firm will bring a suit against SeaWorld. The law firm says on its website that it represents injured persons and their families in matters of wrongful death and severe personal injury and lists scores of multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements won on behalf of injured workers and other accident victims. The violations included one that OSHA deemed willful its most severe category, reserved for businesses that OSHA says demonstrate plain indifference to or intentional disregard for worker safety because the agency said SeaWorld routinely exposed its trainers to the threat of attacks from killer whales without adequate safeguards in place. OSHA proposed $75,000 in fines.

OSHA was especially critical of SeaWorld for allowing trainers to work in close contact with Tilikum, who is about twice as large as any other orca at SeaWorld Orlando and who was involved in a separate drowning of a trainer at a Canadian marine park nearly 20 years ago. OSHA said the orca had known aggressive tendencies. OConnor said Scott Brancheaus lawyers are analyzing OSHAs materials. Its not every day that OSHA issues a willful citation for plain indifference or intentional disregard for human life, OConnor said. It is clear, after reviewing the willful finding, that more of the true facts will be brought out regarding the fatal attack upon Dawn. Adding to the mounting actions against SeaWorld, the Connell family, who witnessed the horrific attack and filmed the final moments of Dawn and Tilikums interaction in their now infamous recording, are seeking unspecified damages for the trauma they and their 10year old son endured. The New York Daily News reports: Todd and Suzanne Connell, who took their son Bobby to Florida in February to celebrate his 10th birthday, say the boy looked straight into Dawn Brancheaus eyes as the doomed trainer briefly freed herself from the orcas jaws. Bobby Connell saw the look of horror and desperation on Dawns face as she was swimming for her life, the complaint reads. He then saw Tilikum violently yank her down again to the depths of the pool. The boy, who became hysterical as Brancheaus broken body was dragged around the tank, has been plagued by gruesome nightmares ever since, the family says. The media spotlight continues to shine and expose these revelations as additional witnesses, former employees, Marine Mammal Professionals and Animal Rights Organizations speak out. The facts, as they are revealed, will continue to shed light on what goes on behind the scenes and what future actions and/or inaction may mean for the safety of trainers and the captivity of orcas. It is The Orca Projects view that these developments WILL lead to major changes in the captive orca programs and eventually phase out that portion of the marine mammal entertainment business. Is this the beginning of the end for the Killer Whale Shows?

Lolita the Orca; Facts, Legal Issues and How To Get Her Home September 1, 2010

It is simply her remarkable spirit that has kept her alive this long

Name: Prior name: Nickname: Species: Approx. size: Approx. wt: Approx. age:

Lolita Tokitae which means nice day, pretty colors in Chinook affectionately known as Toki (Orcinus orca) Killer Whale, also called Orca 21 feet long 6,000 lbs 43 yrs

Location: Miami Seaquarium (MSQ), Miami, FL, a subsidiary of Wometco, a privately held company. Family: Lolitas birthright is the L25 matriline of the L pod of the Southern Resident orca community in the Pacific Northwest. Lolitas mother is believed to be Ocean Sun, approx. age 82, who still resides with Lolitas family swimming freely in the open waters where Lolita was captured. Her capture occurred right before implementation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act which helps protect her family members from being taken, although loopholes still exist in these laws. In 2005 the Southern Resident orcas were listed as endangered species. Because Lolita was caught pre-act, the powers-that-be excluded her from the status of endangered. More on Lolitas Life before Capture: HERE Captured: August 8, 1970 in Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, Washington State. Lolita is the last surviving orca of 45 members of the Southern Resident community that were captured and delivered for display in marine parks between 1965 and 1973. At least 13 members of her family were killed during the brutal captures. More on Lolitas Capture: HERE Lolitas Life at Miami Seaquarium: Lolita arrived at Miami Seaquarium on September 24, 1970. She was kept separated from her future tank-mate orca Hugo until June 2, 1971. They performed together for 9 years until Hugos death, 30 years ago in 1980, after repeatedly bashing his head into the walls of the pool, in what many believe to be an act of suicide. After 12 years of service they simply dropped his body in the Miami dump. Lolita has been alone (aside from a few dolphins) for 30 years, performing tricks for tourists, two shows a day. Since 1970 Lolita has resided in what is the smallest and oldest orca tank in the United States. The tank is merely one-and-a-half-times her size, has garnered numerous safety violations, and does not meet US Department of Agricultures (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Regulations. Now a young adult at about 43 years old, Lolita has been a captive entertainer for 40 years. Only Corky at Sea World in San Diego, captured in 1969, has been in captivity longer. The Gulf oil spill caused by oil giant BP is now threatening the captive marine mammals at MSQ, including Lolita. MSQ and the USDA and APHIS are not prepared to deal with this crisis. More on Lolitas Life Today: HERE and the possible oil spill contamination: HERE

Captivity continues without enforcement of numerous Animal Welfare Act Regulation Violations: Perimeter Fence & Protection from Abuse and Harassment: Lolitas pool does not meet the requirements to keep animals and unauthorized people out nor does it provide protection from abuse and harassment by the viewing public. (see more below) Protection from Weather and Direct Sunlight: Lolita is not afforded protection from the weather or from direct sunlight to benefit her health and well-being. (see more below) Space Requirements for Orca: The most egregious violation which has not been enforced is that of Lolitas pool size, comparable to that of a bathtub for a marine mammal of her size. (see more below) Housing with Compatible Animals: Lolita has not been in the company of another orca since 1980. This highly social animal is subjected to this solitude with the unfounded belief that her dolphin tank-mates are an acceptable replacement for a member of her own species. (see more below) Emergency Contingency Plans: The wellbeing of Lolita and the other marine mammals at MSQ are now being threatened by the Gulf oil spill and MSQ and APHIS have neglected to enforce Emergency Contingency Plan requirements. (see more below) Pool Environment Enhancements: Non-food objects are utilized in Lolitas pool for stimulation which may subject her to injury through ingestion. (see more below) Hurricane Threats with no Plan to Protect Marine Life & Contamination of Biscayne Bay (see more below) Miami Seaquarium General Information and Owner Information (see more below) Campaigns to Retire Lolita to a SeaPen (see more below) _______________________________________________________________

PERIMETER FENCE & PROTECTION FROM ABUSE AND HARRASSMENT Animal Welfare Act 9 C.F.R. PART 3STANDARDS Subpart ESpecifications for the Humane Handling, Care, Treatment, and Transportation of Marine Mammals Section 3.103 (3)(c) Perimeter fence On and after May 17, 2000, all outdoor housing facilities must be enclosed by a perimeter fence that is of sufficient height to keep animals and unauthorized persons out. Fences less than 8 feet high for polar bears or less than 6 feet high for other marine mammals must be approved in writing by the Administrator. The fence must be constructed so that it protects marine mammals by restricting animals and unauthorized persons from going through it or under it and having contact with the marine mammals, and so that it can function as a secondary containment system for the animals in the facility when appropriate. The fence must be of sufficient distance from the outside of the primary enclosure to prevent physical contact between animals inside the enclosure and animals or persons outside the perimeter fence. Such fences less than 3 feet in distance from the primary enclosure must be approved in writing by the Administrator. Lolitas tank definitely does not have a 6 foot perimeter fence around it. Anyone could reach their hands over the tank or jump in it if they really wanted. I dont think a trainer would have time to stop it. Comparing to SW and Six Flags, they all have the high glass type enclosures that one cannot just reach or climb over easily. So per the law, the APHIS administrator would have had to approve of the fence. So the question would be, was Lolitas perimeter fence approved by the Administrator? 3.101 (2) Facilities, general All marine mammals must be provided with protection from abuse and harassment by the viewing public by the use of a sufficient number of uniformed or readily identifiable employees or attendants to supervise the viewing public, or by physical barriers, such as fences, walls, glass partitions, or distance, or any combination of these. This would also bring the perimeter fence into play since there is no physical barrier tall enough to protect Lolita from the viewing public. Looking at old pictures of Lolita and Hugo, there was a much higher fence around their tank at one point that was over 6 feet, but I dont know when it was changed.

PROTECTION FROM WEATHER AND DIRECT SUNLIGHT Section 3.103(3)(b) Shelter Natural or artificial shelter which is appropriate for the species concerned, when the local climatic conditions are taken into consideration, shall be provided for all marine mammals kept outdoors to afford them protection from the weather or from direct sunlight. Lolitas tank has no shade structure at all. As seen by the image from Google Earth, her tank is fully exposed to the sun. The only way she can get shade is by moving around the tank as the position of the sun changes. Lolita also has no protection from the Miami hurricanes. Miami is known to be an area in the United States that is prone to hurricanes. Now in 2008, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom was found in Indirect non-compliance of Section 3.103. The inspection report reads:

Shouka stadium back area: there are no shade structures in the three pools in the back of the facility. Shade structures need to be added over or around the pools. This is necessary for the protection from the sunlight for the health and well-being of the animals. My question is does APHIS consider the stadium seats around Lolitas tank and the barrier wall behind the medical pool her shade structures. If you look at the picture of Shoukas stadium below, there is nothing at all around the 3 pools in the back. Shoukas stadium is similar to Lolitas with the stadium seats being shaded (except for the front rows), the main pool is exposed to the sun and in between the main pool and back tanks is a high wall that goes across the back of the tank the length of the pool. Yes, the stadium cover and wall structure provide shelter throughout the day to protect Lolita from direct sunlight, but there are periods of the day where those structures do not provide protection from direct sunlight. Is it considered by APHIS that the periods of the day when the tank is fully exposed to the sun are insignificant since there are parts of the day when Lolita is provided shade as the suns position changes? SPACE REQUIREMENTS FOR ORCAS 3.104 Space Requirements (a) General. Marine mammals must be housed in primary enclosures that comply with the minimum space requirements prescribed by this part. These enclosures must be constructed and maintained so that the animals contained within are provided sufficient space, both horizontally and vertically, to be able to make normal postural and social adjustments with adequate freedom of movement, in or out of the water. (An exception to these requirements is provided in 3.110(b) for isolation or separation for medical treatment and/or medical training.) Enclosures smaller than required by the standards may be temporarily used for nonmedical training, breeding, holding, and transfer purposes. If maintenance in such enclosures for nonmedical training, breeding, or holding is to last longer than 2 weeks, such extension must be justified in writing by the attending veterinarian on a weekly basis. If maintenance in such enclosures for transfer is to last longer than 1 week, such extension must be justified in writing by the attending veterinarian on a weekly basis. Any enclosure that does not meet the minimum space requirement for primary enclosures (including, but not limited to, medical pools or enclosures, holding pools or enclosures, and gated side pools smaller than the minimum space requirements) may not be used for permanent housing purposes. Rotating animals between enclosures that meet the minimum space requirements and enclosures that do not is not an acceptable means of complying with the minimum space requirements for primary enclosures. (1)(i) The required minimum horizontal dimension (MHD) of a pool for Group I cetaceans shall be 7.32 meters (24.0 feet) or two times the average adult length of the longest species of Group I cetacean housed therein (as measured in a parallel or horizontal line, from the tip of its upper jaw, or from the most 8 anterior portion of the head in bulbous headed animals, to the notch in the tail fluke ), whichever is greater; except that such MHD measurement may be reduced from the greater number by up to 20 percent if the amount of the reduction is added to the MHD at the 90-degree angle and if the minimum volume and surface area requirements are met based on an MHD of 7.32 meters (24.0 feet) or two times the average adult length of the longest species of Group I cetacean housed therein, whichever is greater. The minimum horizontal dimension for Lolitas tank would be 48 feet, which APHIS agrees. APHIS claims that Lolitas tank is 60 x 80 feet, not including the medical pool in the back. Lolita is around 22 feet long. By APHIS claiming Lolitas tank is 60 feet across from the edge of the pool to the trainers platform would mean you could line Lolita up in a straight row approximately 3 times to equal the 60 feet distance. Clearly, this is impossible.

Per measurements taken from Google Earth of Lolitas tank, the measurement between the edge of the pool to the trainers platform is approximately 35 feet, which is 25 feet less than APHISs measurement of 60 feet and 13 feet smaller than what the law requires. A response from Google Earth regarding the accuracy of the straight line measurements is pending. Taking a measurement of the length of the tank APHIS states is 80 feet concluded Google Earths measurements to be quite accurate as there is no dispute that this length of Lolitas tank is 80 feet. Adding in the medical pool in the back of Lolitas tank, which measures approximately 25 feet would coincide with the 60 foot measurement APHIS states. Yet APHIS states they did not include the medical pool in their measurements of 60 x 80 feet and the use of the medical pool does not diminish the size of the main pool. On December 14, 1995 the Miami Herald published an article Lolitas tank is big enough, feds say. Lolita the Killer Whale has enough room in her tank at Miami Seaquarium, federal animal-protection officials ruled Wednesday. A week after re-measuring Lolitas pool in response to persistent complaints from an animal activist, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the tank exceeds minimum legal space requirements. There is adequate space,said Dr. Richard Watkins, the USDAs southeast regional director for animal care. So where is the documentation from USDAs measurements of Lolitas tank? How was the tank measured?

HOUSING WITH COMPATIBLE ANIMALS Section 3.109 Separation Marine mammals, whenever known to be primarily social in the wild, must be housed in their primary enclosure with at least one compatible animal of the same or biologically related species, except when the attending veterinarian, in consultation with the husbandry/training staff, determines that such housing is not in the best interest of the marine mammals health or well-being. However, marine mammals that are not compatible must not be housed in the same enclosure. Marine mammals must not be housed near other animals that cause them unreasonable stress or discomfort or interfere with their good health. Animals housed separately must have a written plan, approved by the attending veterinarian, developed in consultation with the husbandry/training staff, that includes the justification for the length of time the animal will be kept separated or isolated, information on the type and frequency of enrichment and interaction, if appropriate, and provisions for periodic review of the plan by the attending veterinarian. Marine mammals that are separated for nonmedical purposes must be held in facilities that meet minimum space requirements as outlined in 3.104. Lolita has been without the companionship of another orca for 30 years. APHIS states the Miami Seaquarium meets AWA regulations requiring that social marine mammals, such as orcas, be housed with at least one compatible animal of the same or biologically related species. Lolita has shared her tank for many years with Pacific white-sided dolphins that are, like Lolita, cetacean mammals. Lolita is a member of the Southern Resident Community of orcas in the Pacific Northwest. The Southern Residents are a social structure of orcas consisting of generations of family. There is no known Southern Resident orca leaving from their pod to live with a pod of Pacific White Sided Dolphins. Howard Garrett of Orca Network also stated in 2009 a paper was published proposing that the species Orcinus orca be divided into several new species, based on the observed fidelity and cohesion of distinct interrelated family groups. See: LeDuc, Richard G., Kelly M. Robertson, and Robert L. Pitman (2008). Mitochondrial sequence divergence among Antarctic killer whale ecotypes is consistent with multiple species Biol. Lett. (2008) 4, 426429. Link: HERE The congruence of these lines of evidence suggests that the divergence between these types represents a species boundary. Given this fidelity and cohesion within extended family groups, now

universally accepted within the scientific community, the only compatible animal for Lolita would be a member of the Southern resident community. Based on their shared calls, Hugo was probably also a member of the Southern residents. Since 1980 the Seaquarium and USDA have no basis in stating that Lolita is housed with a compatible animal, or any other cetacean would be a compatible animal, except another member of her genetic and cultural community. Six Flags again was found in Indirect non-compliance on May & June of 2008. The inspection report states: The orca is single housed. They are using a dolphin as a companion animal but they are separated but next to each other the majority of the time. This situation is being reviewed by USDA APHIS. Is the Miami Seaquarium to be entrusted to say that Lolita is not separated by gates from the dolphins the majority of the time? And the wording of APHIS stating They are using a dolphin as a companion animal sounds strange compared to their statement that the Miami Seaquarium meets Section 3.109 requirements because Lolita is housed with another cetacean. In May of 2010, Colleen Gorman, an individual concerned for animal welfare gave an account of her visit to the Miami Seaquarium and documented the conditions of Lolitas daily routine and the solitude of Lolita and her separation from her tank-mate dolphins who are often separated by gates dividing the main pool and medical pool. Colleens account can be found HERE.

EMERGENCY CONTINGENCY PLANS Section 3.101 (4)(b) Facilities, general (b) Water and power supply. Reliable and adequate sources of water and electric power must be provided by the facility housing marine mammals. Written contingency plans must be submitted to and approved by the Deputy Administrator regarding emergency sources of water and electric power in the event of failure of the primary sources, when such failure could reasonably be expected to be detrimental to the good health and well-being of the marine mammals housed in the facility. Contingency plans must include, but not be limited to, specific animal evacuation plans in the event of a disaster and should describe back-up systems and/or arrangements for relocating marine mammals requiring artificially cooled or heated water. If the emergency contingency plan includes release of marine mammals, the plan must include provision for recall training and retrieval of such animals. This would require the Miami Seaquarium to have a written contingency plan regarding emergency sources of water and electric power in the event of a failure of the primary sources, when the failure could affect the health and well-being of a marine mammal. They are required to have a plan for whatever the circumstance may be that would cause a failure of their primary source of water and electrical. The oil spill threat of 2010 made the absence of a contingency plan extremely negligent on the behalf of the Seaquarium. In July, 2010 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a 61- 80% chance that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill would hit the Miami area in August. In addition to the oil, the chemical dispersant used to break up the oil, which is dangerous to the health of animal life, was to be included in the toxic mix approaching Miami waters as reported by the NOAA HERE. Miami Seaquarium demonstrated they are not prepared to deal with any pending disaster. Due to the possibility that contaminated water may still reach Miami, the public and by animal welfare organizations are still concerned for the safety and health of Miami Seaquariums wildlife. In addition to killer whale (orca) Lolita, the lives of 30 dolphins, 15 seals and sea lions, dozens of reptiles/fish, sea turtles, and at least eight manatees may be in peril. Built in the 1950s, this marine mammal park relic uses an open water system, which feeds directly from Biscayne Bay filling its numerous performing animal tanks, including that of Lolita. Andrew Hertz, General Manager of Miami Seaquarium demonstrated his non-compliance through public statements in media reports and by indications of intent to file monetary claims against oil corporation BP. These acts indicate Miami Seaquarium has an insufficient filtration system and a lack of reliable and

adequate emergency sources of water in the event of failure of the primary source, as was anticipated to occur in August, 2010 via contamination from the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The contaminated water, with its toxic mix of chemical dispersants still poses a threat to the good health and well-being of the marine mammals housed in this facility. Through published media at WPLG Channel 10 in Miami HERE, Mr. Hertz stated his intention to file a $3 to $5 million dollar claim against BP citing his requirement to upgrade the marine parks filtration system By this action, Mr. Hertz admittedly demonstrated that MSQ is not prepared, equipped or otherwise capable of carrying out a contingency plan (Plan) to provide emergency sources of water and/or arrangements for relocating marine mammals as is required by Regulation 9 CFR section 3.101(b). The news report states, in part: If I have damages, Ive got dead animals that are irreplaceable. I need help on the front end to keep that from happening, Hertz said. When the Seaquarium pulls saltwater from Biscayne Bay, the water goes through a complicated filtration system before it gets to the animals. But Seaquarium representatives said even that system cannot handle large amounts of oil, so they are looking at alternatives but none of them are cheap. Whether it is digging a deep well here on property that hits salt water underground or whether it is burying a new intake under the seabed out there so the seabed turns into a filtration system for us, however it works it is going to cost money I dont have in my budget right now, Hertz said. Additionally, APHIS spokesman David Sacks indicated that a Plan exists but APHIS does not have a copy of the Plan. I believe this is an irresponsible act by APHIS by failing to maintain copies of Emergency contingency plans or to substantiate and/or verify the existence of such. Mr. Hertz went on to contradict the APHIS assertion that a Plan exists; We have been consulting with APHIS as we develop our contingency plans. Once finalized, we will send the plan to them. Moving the animals is not a consideration, Hertz added. Both Mr. Sacks and Mr. Hertzs statements were made public in numerous media outlets including Washingtons Kitsap Sun HERE. On July 6, 2010 John Kielty, an individual concerned for the wellbeing of marine mammals filed a request for information with the USDA/APHIS Freedom of Information Act office requesting to receive a copy of Miami Seaquariums contingency plan to provide emergency sources of water and/or arrangements for relocating marine mammals as is required by APHIS Regulation 9 CFR section 3.101(b). Additionally, he requested a copy of any proposed Disaster Plan submitted to APHIS regarding the pending contamination of the MSQ water supply by the gulf oil spill. This request was assigned case #FOIA 10530. The response from APHIS dated July 20, 2010 states the following: The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) does not have a disaster plan requirement. Although a written emergency contingency plan for marine mammals must be submitted and approved by the Deputy Administrator, the AWA regulations do not require APHIS to maintain these plans. Nevertheless, Agency employees conducted a thorough search of their files and have advised the FOIA office that our Agency has no records responsive to this request. As the Gulf oil spill caused by oil giant BP was threatening captive marine mammals, including Lolita, Mr. Kielty objected to the claim that the AWA does not have a disaster plan requirement. Regulation 9 CFR section 3.101(b) clearly states the requirement for specific animal evacuation plans in the event of a DISASTER and additionally objected to the claim that APHIS does not have a copy of emergency plans as required by APHIS Regulation 9 CFR section 3.101(b). Miami Seaquariums emergency contingency plans need to be made available to the many individuals and organizations that would need to make short term preparations should the evacuation of Lolita become necessary. In a recent interview with the Puget Sound Marine Life Examiner HERE, Howard Garrett of Orca Network expressed the need for immediate actions; Id like to see something announced this week, either by APHIS or the SQ. It would be highly irresponsible to wait until the oil is lapping on the side of the park. Theres a lot of logistics to get into motion to get the bay pen prepared, the transport arranged, the personnel lined up, and to get her accustomed to going into a sling, give her physical exams, etc. The dispersant penetrates the skin and the oil kills rapidly. Letting her be hit by oil would be corporate negligence, like the BP gusher itself.

The above statements clearly demonstrate there are contradictions and discrepancies in statements by APHIS officials and those by Miami Seaquariums management.

POOL ENVIRONMENT ENHANCEMENTS Section 3.101(2)(g) Facilities, general (g) Enclosure or pool environmental enhancements. Any nonfood objects provided for the entertainment or stimulation of marine mammals must be of sufficient size and strength to not be ingestible, readily breakable, or likely to cause injury to marine mammals, and be able to be cleaned, sanitized, and/or replaced effectively. Could this wetsuit be construed as ingestible or readily breakable? Is this an appropriate nonfood object to entertain or stimulate Lolita? Considering that her trainers wear wetsuits, is giving her one to entertain or stimulate Lolita a good idea for the safety of the trainers?

Sewage in Biscayne Bay One of the most prolific reasons given by Miami Seaquarium staff and supporters of Lolitas continued captivity is a claim that she is safer in the waters fed by Biscayne Bay than she would be in the waters of the Pacific Northwest, citing contamination in the PNW would kill her. This statement is false and perpetuated by the staffs at marine parks, but its not connected to reality. Howard Garrett of Orca Network indicates the toxins of Washingtons coastal waters are bioaccumulative endocrine disrupters, like PCBs, not infectious pathogens. No immunity can be built up, and since it takes decades for dangerous levels to accumulate in blubber layers, and the effects occur mainly only as a result of the effects of malnutrition, the toxins would not be a factor for Lolita. Conversely, over-development of Miami-Dade has had a significant impact on surface water quality in Biscayne Bay. In many of the coastal areas in the region, the infrastructure to convey storm water and sewage is outdated. Storm water runoff from intensively developed properties and roadways, hydrologic modifications, and pollution from septic systems pose the greatest threats to water quality in Biscayne Bay as reported HERE and HERE. In July 2010, a 72-inch pipe burst and spewed an estimated 20 million gallons of sewage into Biscayne Bay, city officials in some municipalities that were affected say Miami-Dade County did little to notify them. The cause of the break was due to the catastrophic failure of the reinforcing wire in the pipe which was manufactured by a company that is now out of business. The county may be faced with a large-scale and costly effort to prevent further breaks from occurring. Read more HERE. With these water quality issues and Miami-Dades failures to notify businesses in the event of contamination, we can not rely on Miami Seaquarium to discover problems and react to protect Lolita and their marine life. As recently as 2007, Miami Seaquarium was cited for failing to meet the pathetic minimum standards for bacterial testing as required by the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS). The lax standards that are in place call for bacterial coliform testing to be performed at least weekly. Not a high priority for MSQ. On at least 3 occasions in 2007, Miami Seaquarium exceeded these minimums including a 15 day period in February, 2007 when no bacterial testing was performed. And this is only what APHIS has discovered and reported. This is just another example of Miami Seaquariums lack of concern for the welfare of their marine life.

Hurricane Threat The 2010 hurricane forecast from the National Weather Service indicates major hurricanes are ahead, and Miami Seaquarium has no Hurricane Preparedness plan, APHIS does not require and/or enforce a disaster contingency plan. MSQ has shown repeatedly that they are not equipped and/or capable of dealing with these frequent storms that ravage the southern Florida coast. The hurricane forecast can be found HERE.

As a result of hurricane Andrew in 1992, 5 sea lions were electrocuted when the pumping system in their pool flooded and over 60 sharks died of asphyxiation when silt laden bay water flooded the shark moat. But employees found five new baby peacocks, and a 50-pound baby manatee so all was well. In 2006, Miami Seaquarium re-opened after a storm surge from Hurricane Wilma dropped silt into lowlying exhibits, killing more than 1,000 fish and 15 sharks. Upon reopening, the park had even more fish, as curators collected more than 2,500 from Biscayne Bay and nearby reefs to replace the fish that died after the storm. Theres twice as many fish as there were before Wilma, Seaquarium curator Robert Rose said. Some of the new fish were donated, while Rose and other staff members went out on boats and donned scuba gear to do some of the collection themselves. Hertz said the storm cost $2.5 million in property damage and $4.4 million in lost revenue to the park. A nice little insurance claim. These disasters, natural or otherwise translate into a nice payday for MSQ and the Hertzs. It all just comes at the expense of their marine life. CBS 4 reports HERE.

Supporter Talks Back for Freedom of Captive Orca Lolita at Miami Seaquarium on 40th Anniversary
For 40 years, the Southern resident orca named Lolita (or Tokitae, Toki for short), has been held in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium performing for tourists in what is an illegally sized pool, far too small by current Animal Welfare Act regulations. Many have spent years fighting for her freedom. 40 years to the day of Tokitaes brutal capture in which she was torn from her family, one individuals simple innocent written statement declaring Free Lolita nearly led to her own confinement by the Miami Police Department. This is her story: First of all, this is the second time I have traveled to Miami to see Toki. As some of you will recall, in May of 2010, I had written my accounts of that visit. Ironically, something quite similar to the first visit as this last visit transpired. By this I mean, we were asked to leave no explanations given without my drilling them for answers, that is. Second, MSQ has been holding Lolita in the same tank that she arrived in 40 years ago with very little changes made to the overall structure in all those years. Her tank is clearly illegal (too small) according to the rules of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and not being enforced by the agency in charge of doing so the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). That is clear, however, on the days we went in to see her, this wasnt the only thing I found/find incredibly disturbing in what MSQ is doing. I also would like to add that, we did not and do not pay Miami Seaquarium to get in. We have season passes that were donated to us for the purpose of checking in on her periodically. Each time is an experience in and of itself. So, to be clear we arent contributing to the MSQ bottom-line. The day before our Walk for Lolita, on Saturday August 7th, along with a few friends meeting up from various places around America for the demonstration outside of Miami Seaquarium, we went in to see both shows. One at 1pm, and the other at 5pm. Before seeing the first show, I must admit, Lolita looked and seemed much more energetic and playful than she did when I saw her in May of this year. She came up to see us quite often and even swam upside down in circles around the lower half of the pool. The gates to the medical tank where they house the Pacific white-sided dolphins (lags) were open this time, unlike in May where they were closed off. However, before the show starts while shes begging for food, they lock her off to the front of the pool. In the first show at 1 pm she did a few tricks; splashes, several fin slaps, sirens, breaches, and lifting of the trainer out of the water a couple of times. At one point we all noticed that when the trainer went under Lolita to be lifted high out of the water, the trainer wound up coming within about 4 feet of hitting the wall.

You could clearly see the look of fear on the trainers face and her leaning back to avoid hitting. All in all, Lolita seemed good yet, they still dont have the main focus on her. The lags are still 75% of the 20 minute show. The announcers did make many more comments about Lolita due to the fact that they were/are promoting the 40th anniversary of her being at Miami Seaquarium. I must admit that I found it quite annoying that they have been promoting this Celebration for about a week prior to kicking it off on Friday the 6th of August because, if they look back in their history books, as I mentioned earlier she didnt arrive until late September, so factually they are wrong. In any case, the second show at 5pm was completely different. We sat on the opposite side of the stadium this time but it was clear Lolita didnt want to play or cooperate. She wouldnt do more than one of the several fin slaps they signaled for her to do, she wouldnt do the calls/sirens they asked her to do, and the show just stopped a few times where even the dolphins were not doing anything whatsoever. There were periods in this show where nothing was happening at all and the trainers were looking at each other as though they didnt know what was going on. After seeing the show 4 hours earlier where everything seemed to go off well, this show was the complete opposite. At the end of the show, unlike the first one, it was quite noticeable that Lolita would not go over by her trainer. We were able to stay after both shows for about 5 to 7 minutes and it was almost sad to see because after Lolitas trainer gave her the last fish, she was begging for, and poured the bloody juice from the cooler into Lolitas mouth, she swam off to look at the other humans around the pool, including us. The trainer was trying to get Lolitas attention, but she wouldnt listen. She called her, slapped the water, and even got in the pool on the edge where the trainers hang out trying to call her and still Lolita wouldnt listen. To me it was as though she was being sassy and saying, No, I dont want to listen to you. Im tired of this routine so leave me alone. Ive seen Lolita on 5 separate occasions and never saw her behave this way. Clearly this trainer (I believe her name is Jennifer) loves Lolita yet, I almost felt sorry for her that the orca she loves wont listen to her and showed no interest in interacting at this point. Considering we could all see this it had to be a little humiliating for the trainer. Ok now, fast forward to the next day, August 8th, the day of the walk. We were meeting a large group of people and several of us had arrangements to get some body paint with various artwork such as a portrait of Lolita, and/or little phrases such as; Save Lolita, Retire Lolita, Free Lolita, Born to be Wild, etc., etc. I opted for, Free Lolita on my back and, Born to be Wild, on my forearms. We had quite torrential rains just as we arrived to MSQ but even so, we hung out there with our signs for a good 30 minutes before throwing in the towel. After we were finished a friend of mine and I decided wed go back to the hotel, dry off and go see her for the last time at the 5 pm show. We cleaned up my body paint (which, mind you, had got very smudged in the rain) and I thought well, Ill go like this to MSQ, why not? I had no idea what trouble it would cause. Since it was drizzling again when we entered, I wore a towel and umbrella and walked in the stadium and saw Lolita in her corner and stopped to say hi to the security guard I had talked with the day before. He was a very nice guy, has been there 2 and a half years and just plain friendly. In fact, I talked with him and another security guard the day before and had asked them kindly, out of curiosity, if they knew there were people who wanted to see Lolita retired? They smiled and said, Yeswe know., and were very nice about it. They even said they knew her real name was Tokitae, and agreed that the tank was probably a little small for her. As a matter of fact, you could hear other patrons saying, Wow, shes beautiful but boythat tank sure is small. I even had a small boy come up and say it as though he was thinking out loud, but standing right next to me doing so. I agreed with him and watching him walk away as though he was sad. To be honest, I had a little chat with him about her after he mentioned how little her pool was and he was very sad to hear shes been in this same barren tank for 40 years. After saying hi to the security guard who remembered me from the day before, I went over to say hi to Toki in her little corner where the trainers enter or spend time after the show. At this point they are down the stairs waiting for the show to start before they all come running in like a circus act. She spent several minutes with us at least 4 or 5. At that point most of the patrons were taking their seats because of the drizzle and mostly congregated by the entrance area of the stands. There were very few people directly behind me. It was only 10 minutes to 5 pm yet, they were making announcements for people to take their seats. They made 3 such announcements which I found odd because they dont start until 5. As the stands were starting to fill up (about 1/3rd capacity) and while talking with Toki and my friend Jeff and

minding our own business I was approached by a female manager of MSQ (who I recognized immediately as we have seen each other on several occasions like when in May the trainer, Robert Rose, had me and two other people thrown out for absolutely no reason whatsoever besides the fact we were with a recognizable female who is one of the leaders of the Save Lolita group and monthly protests the last Saturday of every month. That story is above in the link to the Thomas Paines Corner article.) The manager and a security guard came up and told me, Im sorry Maam, I am going to have to ask you to leave. To be quite honest, I did not even think twice that having Free Lolita or a 6 (which I must add, I swear Toki peered at) portrait of her with Born to be Wild would be grounds to get expelled from the property. Maybe that was quite naive but, I do have to mention that the day before at the second show I had my Save Lolita/Boycott Miami Seaquarium tank top on and talked with the security guards and they never did anything. As a side note, I did see this woman who approached me on Sunday as the same woman standing at the exit seeing me leave with that shirt on. As soon as she asked me to leave I thought and said, Why? I havent done anything wrong. She said, Im asking you to leave, you are on private property and we reserve the right to ask you to go. I replied, For having Free Lolita on my shoulders? She said, Maam I am asking you to leave and will refund your money, but its time to go. To be honest, I knew then that it was better if I had a cordial question/answer session on behalf of Lolita than just go quietly, no questions asked. After all, at the same time this is going on, there are people all over the country and those who have been behind her cause for decades meeting at the point of capture in Penn Cove, doing ceremonies. Howard Garrett of Orca Network , Ric OBarry of the Cove, and various politicians who in the mid 70s changed laws about capturing wild orcas, after witnessing these brutal acts, were all out there paying homage to this beautiful soul I was standing next to and that we are all fighting for. Many other well-known people behind the movement to get her retired were out there holding visuals for her, so surely, I wasnt going to just walk out for having a loving statement on my body. In fact, I pointed out to the manager several times that, I dont have anything derogatory or defamatory about Miami Seaquarium anywhere on my body. I havent said anything, Im not talking to strangers about what a God awful place this was.nothing. That said, one thing she did say to me about 3/4ths of the way through the discussion was, What if a child was to see that?, as though it were profanity. I found her statement/words quite strange and pondered them after we left. Why was Free Lolita too much for a child to read? Is it perhaps because a child may question, Mommy, why does that woman want Lolita free? and perhaps start asking questions like they did with Keiko, the beloved orca in the movies, Free Willy? Children were a huge part of the movement behind his cause. In any case, as the manager kept pointing out that, It is our Policy and we reserve the right to ask anyone we want to leave, and I kept asking (no less than 10 times) to please let me see this policy and where it says, in writing, that a simple statement is grounds to be kicked out. It was then I noticed out of the corner of my eye that one of the security guards surrounding us had left. Well, little did I know it was because he went to get a Police officer to escort me out or arrest me if I didnt go. I said hi to the officer and calmly asked him, But why? I didnt do anything threatening; I wasnt holding a banner or large sign, and as I pointed out, I did not speak to anyone around me I did not try throwing anything in the pool I did not try to endanger a marine mammal I didnt jump in the pool or try to hurt Lolitawhy should I have to go? Well, apparently they have the right to ask you to leave because they are on private property. You can go to the party they invited you to attend but, you have to give up your freedom of speech rights. Right or wrong, I went right to the line and stayed just short of getting arrested for having the words, Free Lolita on my body in 2.5 inch letters. I felt horrible after outside of the park as though I was some fool for going in there expecting not to get tossed out. To be honest, as soon as I walked out of the gate, I cried like a 6-year-old girl who just lost her puppy. Not only did I feel bad for my friend who had to leave with me I felt just awful that I didnt get the chance to turn around and say, good bye, to her. Maybe that was prophetic and it was the last time I see her in that tiny pool at MSQ? I would like nothing more than to never see her again there, and the next time it is when she is being lowered into a sea pen off Puget Sound. So perhaps not saying good bye to Lolita that last time was fitting All in all, the fact that Miami Seaquarium does not want any sort of advertisement to the causes behind her retirement plan became extremely clear. They feel the need to hold on tight to her as their solo cash cow when she is clearly healthy, strong and even though she is able to be rehabilitated, retired and potentially reunited with her family in the Salish Sea off Washington. When you stop and think about the

fact that; Arthur Hertz, the owner of MSQ and, Andrew Hertz, his son and General Manager, could make moves to negotiate her retirement with all these great organizations behind her get her into a coastal sea pen after 4 decades of hard work (mostly in solitude) and come out looking like heroes, it makes one take pause and wonder why not? Why not make Miami Seaquarium into a rehabilitation center/aquarium and use the other parts as a Water Park where they could surely make more money on a daily basis over the course of the year, than do an orca show twice a day for a total of 10 minutes of her 24 hour day? Also, in addition to his duties at the park, Andrew [Hertz] serves Floridas tourism community as the incoming chair of the Florida Attractions Association, is on the board of Visit Florida serving as its Treasurer, and has been appointed to the Florida Commission on Tourism by Governor Charlie Christ. Too many friends in the right places? Look, and judge for yourselves. There are so many more questions beyond that like; why do the Hertz men not have compassion for this beautiful soul and do the right thing by her and make her a bigger pool just because they care about her? Why doesnt APHIS enforce the law in place by the AWA and fine them for her tank being illegal? Why arent they shutting them down after years of it being illegal? Why dont they force them to expand the pool? And why on earth wouldnt the Hertz family do so because, as noted, they care about her wellbeing and also just for the sheer fact that she is swimming in a pool the equivalent of a 6 inch Goldfish bowl for a fish that is 3 inches long? She is an orca not a mere fish. Shes an intelligent, sentient being and is acutely aware, just as humans and orcas by nature are, of what is going on around her 24 hours a day. More questions; why isnt someone filing a Class Action Lawsuit against, APHIS, for not enforcing the law that they are supposed to? Why isnt the City of Miami-Dade county, suing the MSQ or making them bring her tank up to code after all these years, since the land is owned by the City, not the Hertz family? I can assure you that if I owned a business on land owned by Miami-Dade and was non-compliant with the law Id be fined and evicted if I didnt comply. And lastly why doesnt the Miami Herald call them out on their criminal law breaking ways? Is it because Hertz pays too much money in advertising and its a conflict of interest? What will it take to make things happen for this beautiful soul who deserves much better than what she has been given? Its time to retire this enslaved orca and get her back where she belongs. Please keep spreading the word and never give up hope that one day, she will be found with some compassion in the hearts of those that are Hertz, and swimming in a natural setting in her home waters. Her family is there, and they are waiting for her to come home.

Seeing is Believing: Tilikums lonely life after Dawn.

Since the death of animal trainer, Dawn Brancheau, at SeaWorld Orlando in February, the marine mammal parks officials have maintained that Tilikum, the killer whale involved in her death, continues to live a rather stimulating life. From the SeaWorld Parks Blog: Tilikums day continues to be filled with variety and stimulation, including time with other whales, participating in training, husbandry, exercise and playtime sessions and the opportunity to breed. Many have questioned if SeaWorld is indeed providing quality care for Tilikum (aka, Tilly or Tili) and if he continues to lead an enriching life in captivity as new rules were imposed which limits his interaction with trainers and the other orcas. There has been deep concern for how his reported isolation may affect the

well-being of this intelligent, social animal. After two full days observing Tilly and his caretakers, one woman tells her story of what she saw. Is SeaWorld living up to its claims? On February 24th, 2010 at SeaWorld in Orlando Florida, a captive Orca (Killer Whale) named, Tilikum, brutally killed his longtime trainer, Dawn Brancheau. Ever since that fateful day the question keeps coming up; what will SeaWorld do to enrich this orcas life and make his time there meaningful and worthwhile? Orcas are held captive at facilities in North and South America, Europe and Japan, providing entertainment for theme park visitors. Currently there are 41 in captivity worldwide. SeaWorld and its chain of marine mammal parks in the United States is the largest owner of captive orcas in the world. In fact, they own more than half. Currently they have an inventory of 19 Killer Whales who are dispersed and or moved around between parks in Orlando, FL, San Antonio, TX, (6) and San Diego, CA (6). At this time, 7 of them are housed at SeaWorld in Orlando. SeaWorld also has 3 Killer whales on loan to Loro Parque in Tenerife, as well a new baby, bringing the total to 23 that SeaWorld owns worldwide. Tilikum is the largest male orca on record in captivity weighing in at 12,500 pounds (5,600 KG) and reaching a little over 22 feet in length (6.9 Meters). He was captured near Iceland in November of 1983 at about two years of age and sent to live at Sealand of the Pacific in B.C., Canada. He was obtained by SeaWorld and moved to Orlando to become their prize stud in January of 1992 after he killed a female trainer who fell in the water in 1991. In 1999, Tilikum was involved in the death of a man who stayed in the park after hours and was found dead in the pool the next morning. This latest incident with killing his longtime trainer, Dawn Brancheau, brings Tilikum to a total of 3 deaths which are linked to him. *As a sidenote; there have never been any recorded deaths of humans by Killer Whales in the wild to this day. Since the brutal and untimely death of Dawn Brancheau, SeaWorld has kept Tilikum out of the show Believe where he was the star of the Splash segment. One of his primary jobs at SeaWorld is (was) to come out towards the end of the show and spray the first 15 rows with water as he circled the pool. His other job there is to provide semen through mating or Artificial Insemination (AI) for the breeding program that continues today. For the past 6 months (now 11), while SeaWorld conducts their own internal review, they have completely kept him from doing his segment in Believe. Considering OSHA handed down their report along with citations of willful negligence to the safety of their trainers on August 24th, it begs the questions: what does he do with his time? Why does SeaWorld hold on to him verses retiring him to a sea pen? What are they planning on doing with him in the future? And now that trainers are not allowed to come into contact with him, even at the waters edge without a barrier, what does he do for stimulation? There are so many questions, so I went to see for myself what his days are like. (It should be noted that since this story was written in September, I have gone back to see Tilikum regularily. His condition and lifestyle has not changed. As of January 20th Tilikum has been kept in isolation for 330 days, and counting.) Read on. When we arrived the first thing in the morning on day 1, Tilikum was alone in the back pool (E pool) which has a covered awning. The 6 other whales were spread out between the two front pools (B and C). When the gates are opened, they are able to continue on into the F pool and proceed directly into the Dining with Shamu pool (G pool). This area has 3 underwater viewing windows in which guests of the park can view them when they swim by. SeaWorld in Orlando has 7 pools in all, A G. The section where Believe takes place is referred to as the A pool. D pool is a medical pool with a false bottom. Kalina (died suddenly and unexpectedly on Oct 4 she was only 25), Kayla, Trua, Katina who is pregnant (update, has given birth on Oct 9, 2010 ), Malia and Nalani (two small female calves) were relatively free to move around the Dine with Shamu pool and back into the F, C and B pools. Tilikum, however, was kept gated in E pool by himself. However, the workers I spoke with say they are all (including Tilikum) moved around throughout the day and are free to come and go as they please. This is simply not true. Tilikum was never able to come and go as he pleased.

Under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) separation is prohibited per 9CFR, section 3.109 Separation. Marine mammals, whenever known to be primarily social in the wild, must be housed in their primary enclosure with at least one compatible animal of the same or biologically related species, except when the attending veterinarian, in consultation with the husbandry/training staff, determines that such housing is not in the best interest of the marine mammals health or well-being. However, marine mammals that are not compatible must not be housed in the same enclosure. Marine mammals must not be housed near other animals that cause them unreasonable stress or discomfort or interfere with their good health. Animals housed separately must have a written plan, approved by the attending veterinarian, developed in consultation with the husbandry/training staff, that includes the justification for the length of time the animal will be kept separated or isolated, information on the type and frequency of enrichment and interaction, if appropriate, and provisions for periodic review of the plan by the attending veterinarian. Marine mammals that are separated for nonmedical purposes must be held in facilities that meet minimum space requirements as outlined in 3.104. On day 1, after being in E pool all day, when he arrived to the Dining with Shamu pool at 6 pm, they closed the gate that goes into the F pool unlike earlier in the day when the others were coming by the windows they had the gate open so they could swim in or out. Clearly was housed separately all day long, for two days in a row. The only constant companions he has is a couple of security guards who are stationed poolside as well as the trainers sitting in the lifeguard stand watching over him.

When the workers at the window told me (no less than 6 of them I spoke with) that they keep him away from the females at times because, You know how frisky males can be. I answered with, Well then why not use birth control? They said that, in SeaWorlds opinion, it may mess with their brains. These are answers that all of the workers at the DWS windows are telling people. I found it baffling because birth control is something that SeaWorld has absolutely used with their orcas in the past. We watched the first show on day 1 which starts at 12:30 pm. They open the stadium approximately 45 minutes before the show. Trainers came by at noon to hose Tilikum down for about 3 minutes and after that gave him some fish. They then rinsed out his mouth which is a necessary part of his daily routine because most of his teeth have been > manually drilled and are all but gone. <(See link.) The trainers spent no more than 7 minutes total with Tilikum before getting ready for the show to begin. Tilikum swam in slow circles or surface rested in the E pool and did so the entire show. At the time when the others were out having fun interacting with their trainers, hes secluded off as though he is some outcast, and, without so much as a toy to play with. In the afternoon on the first day, the trainers brought a few of the whales to the F pool to have a training session. Tilikum was still alone in the E pool. When waiting in the stands for the second show of day 1 to begin and watching Tilikum, I saw him being moved from the E pool to the Dining with Shamu pool (at 6 pm) and quickly left the show and went straight over to see him up close through the viewing windows. When he arrived to the pool he was given some minnow sized fish and, lucky for him, one of them had landed on the bottom. He came up to the window (showed his mouth photo above) and then went down and picked up the little fish and swam around the tank in a circle with it in the tip of his mouth. It was as though it was his little toy and amusement for the time. After 30 minutes, it finally fell apart, he lost interest, and let it go. We stayed there until closing at 7:10 pm. Coming back early the next morning and seeing Tilikum in the same pool all by himself was quite startling. He was simply logging (bobbing) listlessly and did so for nearly 3 and a half hours. He has nothing else to do but bob in the water. Here at the Dining with Shamu pool viewing window, there are employees who are stationed in one hour intervals in order to answer guest questions. When I asked the workers, Why doesnt he have any toys or something to play with? - all four of them gave similar answers, such as: We dont want him to get bored with a certain toy so we change it up now and then.

Or, For enrichment purposes they dont want him to get too used to playing with the same things so they change his routine often. Shocking and disturbing answer. When I told the workers as I watched him napping for over 3 hours that this type of behavior isnt typical in the wild, they argued that it was. I said, Not really because, orcas dont normally sleep by themselves. In the wild they get close to their pod mates (Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins), synchronize their breathing, keep moving, and still dive unlike Tilikum here who is vertical and bobbing in the water. The answer they gave to this was attributed to the fact that he is an Icelandic transient, therefore implying that transients are drifters and spend time alone. Of course I said, That is not true, transient means they typically feed off other mammals such as seals and dolphins versus residents who are fish eaters. Another point is no one knows for sure if Tilikum was a transient or a resident when he was captured. Either way both transient and residents stay together in matriarchal pods and have close family bonds for life. In fact, if he had never been captured from the wild, hed be swimming next to his Mom at this very moment. Something that Tilikum doesnt have in this artificial setting at SeaWorld a family pod. Sadly, it is quite clear he is kept completely alone, something that would never happen in the wild. Again, the thing that really bothered me was the fact that Tilikum did not have one toy in his pool and since he is kept there alone it would have been nice to see him at least playing with something. That said, I did not sleep over night in the park but, at a time when SeaWorld is under a microscope due to the penalties handed down recently by OSHA, you would think that during the day when the trainers are there and people (guests) are watching they would do something more with and for him. I stayed at the pool and watched him from the first thing in the morning, until closing time. He did not have one toy, therefore, barely moved. Also, in the morning of day 2 - (where he wound up staying by himself again until 6 pm when they moved him back to the E pool) it is clear SeaWorld is also in violation of another AWA regulation about leaving a marine mammal under the elements without a shaded area for him to hide under in order to protect himself from the blazing Florida sunshine. E pool has a covered awning to protect the whales Dining with Shamu pool, does not. He was there under the sun for no less than 10 hours. AWA regulations state under 9CFR Section 3.103 (b). Facilities, outdoor. Shelter. Natural or artificial shelter which is appropriate for the species concerned, when the local climatic conditions are taken into consideration, shall be provided for all marine mammals kept outdoors to afford them protection from the weather or from direct sunlight. It also should be noted that Tilikums security guards are afforded shade in the form of an umbrella or covered awning. As a person who has been monitoring the SeaWorld Orlando fan page of FaceBook over the past 6 months, what you are being told is happening with him by SeaWorld, and what is actually happening are two very different stories. When you ask SeaWorld, What are you doing with Tilikum and what are his days like?, they give you the same answer. He is still interacting and socializing continually with the other whales, he gets just as much interaction, play, stimulation from the trainers and is doing very well. then they post this blog for reference. Here it says that Tilikum is no exception, however, he is an exception. He is now linked to 3 deaths and clearly has issues with a couple of the other females as they are dominant over him, dont blend well socially, so therefore, they are separated. Taima Tilikums old mate who in June of 2010 died due to complications while trying to give birth for the 4th time in her short 20 years of life was Tilikums best friend. The two were often together and now that she is gone, he is utterly alone. As an aside, MMIRs obtained from NMFS FOIA state that Taima died from Uterine Prolapse. Prolapse is caused by a stretching of the ligaments that support the pelvic organs, causing those organs to stretch and drop down. And that is caused by her being breed far too young and far too often. It took her nearly 24 hours of labor before she finally died. It must have been a horrible and painful for her. Moreover, they couldnt do anything and, in fact, didnt know what to do (obviously), which simply reinforces the point that they should not be breeding whales in captivity.

Trua (a male orca) and Tilikum are friendly, however, in the 2 days I watched them they were not put together one time. In fact, Tilikum was alone from 9 am on the morning when we arrived, until 7 pm the on the second day. After viewing Tili for nearly 10 hours two days in a row I witnessed him in total isolation from the others over the course of those 20 hours. The others were allowed to mingle with each other, however, Tilikum was not given that opportunity on those two days. Now, again, I did not sleep overnight at the park but, Tilikum arrived from the E pool to the Dining with Shamu pool on day 1 at 6 pm sharp. He was still there at 9:00 am the next morning on day 2. Did they put a companion in with him at 7:30 pm and take them out before 9:00 am? He was in a slumber when we arrived on day 2 so, I highly doubt it. One cannot help but wonder as sentient, intelligent, and aware these great beings are - how does Tilikum feel these days? He is definitely not appearing to be enjoying his time whatsoever. He barely moved from 9 am in the morning on day 2, and simply rested all day long until it came time to be fed. Once at 1 pm, 3 pm and 6 pm when they came with a bucket of ice and a few fish in order to lure him to go through the gate back to E pool. f he wasnt sitting completely still, he moved 20 or 30 feet to go back and forth to the gate to peer over at the other whales having a training session. At one point during the end of the first Believe show on day 2, he went to the gate of the Dining with Shamu pool and tried nibbling on it as though he wanted out. He surely hears the activity going on. Even I could hear the show and my primary sense is not acoustic as his is. He has to wonder why? Why is he secluded, basically ignored and given no outer stimulation from an inanimate object such as a big ball or giant frisbee? Where did Taima go? And why cant I be in the show? Its heart-breaking really. Any sentient being would go out of their mind in such a situation. If they thought that Tilikum was dangerous towards humans or on the receiving end of aggressive behavior by the other orcas in this false pod situation before; what will happen to this poor soul if they continue to keep him separated, isolated, ignored, neglected and without the constant stimulation he deserves? What I saw was totally unexpected. To be perfectly honest, I really thought he would have been with at least one of the other whales, interacted more with the trainers, and least of all, be active of his own volition throughout the day. He was none of these things. The word that kept coming to my mind and out of my mouth as I sat there watching him without pause was pathetic. I truly hope that SeaWorld will do the right thing and start looking into donating him to a foundation that is ready, willing and able to give him a better life such as one in a coastal sea pen. He could surely learn how to feed on his own once again, and even if he does not, there are caring human beings who would be more than happy to take care of his needs for the rest of his days. To think that he has the potential to live for a few more decades, it would be a tragic waste of a beautiful life if he continues to languish in such mundane conditions. It is time to retire this beauty and get him in a setting that nature intended. ~ By Colleen Gorman As a sidenote: Since this was written, I have been back to the park on a regular basis to see Tilikum. He is still isolated and not much has changed in this poor souls life. They do not introduce him or even refer to him at the beginning of the Believe show as they do with the 6 others (including the new baby which arrived in October). By keeping the pressure on SeaWorld and the awareness on Tilikum, we hope that they will have the heart to start treating him like part of the family versus the black sheep.

Sumar, the Killer Whale, dead at the age of 12

September 8, 2010

One of the problems for orcas in captivity is that they tend to die young. So it was sad, but not surprising, to hear of the death of 12-year old Sumar at SeaWorld San Diego earlier this week. And it was even more sad to watch the video of him being removed while Corky, his longtime friend, looks on. Heres part of the report from San Diegos SAN DIEGO A killer whale died Tuesday afternoon at SeaWorld, prompting the cancellation of whale shows at the park, officials told 10News.According to SeaWorld officials, trainers noticed that the whale named Sumar was not feeling well on Monday. Veterinarians were notified and blood samples were taken.Despite being given antibiotics, Sumars condition worsened Tuesday and he was declared dead shortly before 1:45 p.m., park officials said. Unfortunately he did not respond, said SeaWorld spokesman Dave Koontz. His condition continued to deteriorate today. Whatever illness he had, it moved very fast.Park officials told 10News the 12year-old whale had no prior history of major health problems.The whale was removed from the park grounds and a necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, 10News reported. Koontz said it was a very sad day for trainers and other staff members at SeaWorld.They love these animals, Koontz said. They are devoted to these animals, and (the death of one is) like losing a member of their family.Killer whales in captivity routinely live into their 30s or 40s, according to Koontz. It would be nice if SeaWorld would release the results of the necropsy, because the reasons killer whales in captivity die suddenly are not very well understood. And despite what Koontz says, they DO NOT routinely live into their 30s and 40s. Of the 42 orcas still alive in captivity, only two have survived long enough to reach the age of 40, and only three have survived long enough to reach the age of 30. More than 130 have died before reaching those ages (details here). As an update; it has been reported that Sumar died of Intestinal/Mesenteric Volvulus. This is not an illness that comes suddenly. Nausea, vomiting of bile, bowel movements that are mixed with blood and mucus, constipation, diarrhea, lethargy and fever occur as symptoms. Without immediate treatment, volvulus can lead to strangulation of the twisted bowel loop, ischemia, infarction, perforation, and fatal peritonitis. Since he doesnt have the ability to speak and say, Im having major pain here., and they werent able to pick up on the clear signs he was mortally ill until the day before he died, they fed him antibiotics, which would do nothing to heal this particular ailment, and instead Sumar died a painful death because they are not equipped to treat such a thing. This in despite of SeaWorlds claims which repeatedly states, We provide superior care for our animals. To give you a sense of how young orcas in captivity mostly are when they die, here is a list of orcas that have died at SeaWorld over the years, and their age at death (which doesnt include more than a dozen stillbirths or miscarriages). 1. Shamu (F) lived 6 years 2. Ramu (M) lived 15 years 3. Kilroy (M) lived 11.5 years 4. Kandu (F) lived 4 years 5. Orky 2 (M) lived 20 years 6. Nootka (F) lived 20 years 7. Winston (M) lived 15.5 years 8. Kandu 3 (F) lived 4 years 9. Sandy (F) lived 4.5 years 10. Kona (F) lived 6 years 11. Canuck (M) lived 2.5 years 12. Frankie (M) lived 5 months 13. Kanduke (M) lived 15 years

14. Kenau (F) lived 15 years 15. Gudron (F) lived 19.5 years 16. Canuck 2 (M) lived 4 years 17. Kona 2 (F) lived 10 years 18. Kandu 5 (F) lived 12 years 19. Winnie (F) lived 24.5 years 20. Kotar (M) lived 16.5 years 21. Shawn (F) lived 1 year 22. Kahana (F) lived 12.5 years 23. Nootka 4 (F) lived 12 years 24. Haidi 2 (F) lived 19 years 25. Samoa (F) lived 8.5 years 26. Bjossa (F) lived 21 years 27. Katerina (F) lived 10.5 years 28. Splash (M) lived 15.5 years 29. Taku (M) lived 14 years 30. Nyar (F) lived 2 years 31. Baby lived 38 days (Haida 2) 32. Hayln (F) lived 2 1/2 years 33. Taima (F) lived 21 years 34. Baby Shamu 2 lived 11 days (Kenau) 45. Sumar 12 years

SeaWorld Former Trainers Tell OSHA Spare Air Is No Solution

September 14, 2010

OSHAs citation of SeaWorld suggests that some sort of air supply system could be used to allow waterwork to resume between SeaWorlds trainers and the parks killer whales. But a group of former trainers has approached OSHA to make clear that so-called spare-air will not keep trainers safe. Their argument boils down to three points: 1) many of the incidents (partial list here) between trainers and killer whales involve physical trauma, where lack of air is not an issue (and that Dawn Brancheau was killed by traumatic injury; air would not have changed the outcome); 2) giving trainers new equipment, which involves hoses, squeaks and other noises, might just give killer whales something else to grab, and might also unsettle them, leading to more incidents, not fewer; and 3) that even if a trainer involved in an incident did manage to get a regulator in his or her mouth despite the violent motion and high speeds often involved, taking a lungful of air creates a danger of lung overexpansion (which can be deadly) if a whale with a trainer rapidly ascends from the bottom of the pool to the surface. The trainers sent statements on spare air to OSHA, and have shared them with The Orca Project. You can read them here. And former trainer Samantha Berg appeared on Fox News Fox & Friends to discuss the issue, and trainer safety at SeaWorld.

The Hidden Cost Of Captivity- Oral Health of Killer Whales Exposed

September 25, 2010 Part of our mission here at The Orca Project is to delve into the detrimental effects that captivity brings to orcas and other cetaceans at marine mammal parks. In this installment we take a look at the oral health of orcas (Killer Whales); the pervasive degradation, its causes and potential consequences. The PRIMARY risk factors for developing poor oral health conditions in captive orcas (Killer Whales) are AGE and CAPTIVITY. The longer animals are in confinement, the higher the risk of developing problems. Definitively, there is a high prevalence of poor dentition (fractured and broken teeth) in a majority of captive orcas. However, there is an unknown rate of new occurrences since orca mortality decreases the prevalence of broken teeth (dead whales get removed from the population, and younger whales have better teeth). It is speculated the risk increases for the male gender, based on increased testosterone levels and subdominant status. Additionally, social strife and moving animals from park to park may increase risk, because every time an animal moves, it must reestablish itself on the social hierarchy. This is more common with mid-range and lower animals within the social hierarchy. Upper echelon whales may have less of a need to establish themselves as they are already at the top of the society, therefore, subdominant animals would more susceptible to these problems.

SeaWorld, Six Flags and other marine mammal parks have managed to keep this cloaked in relative secrecy: Broken and fractured teeth usually occurs from common threat displays known as barking or jaw popping as they chomp down on steel gates that separate orcas in an effort to establish dominance. Dental fragments have been retrieved from the bottom of the pool after such displays and while this behavior can temporarily alleviate stress, it generates additional stress in the long run a vicious cycle. The resulting damage and chronic pain can lead to behaviors of grinding down the jaw itself. In the adjacent image (See Photo) you can see how this orca, Nootka 5, has worn the jaw. Nootka 5 has been observed using the corner of the performance stage like a big file; swimming by at high-speed with an open mouth biting the corner of stage and wearing down the bone. Additional contributors to the poor oral conditions of captive orcas include tooth grinding, tooth flattening and tooth drilling. Few people are aware of the practice where captive orcas routinely have holes drilled in their teeth (Pulpotomy) as well as grinding or flattening of their teeth, and fewer more understand, or have even thought about, how the holes are drilled. Trainers are forbidden to speak of this practice publicly. SeaWorld trainers use a variable-speed tool (similar to a Dremel tool) to perform this Pulpotomy with a stainless drill bit attached. The whales are conditioned to accept the noise, heat, vibration and obvious pain associated with drilling vertically through the tooth column and into the fleshy pulp below. Success is measured by blood spilling out of the hole, in which case its apparent the bore is complete. Former SeaWorld trainer. Once the teeth are cracked, it leaves pulp exposed which will lead to infection unless treated. Since they cannot perform a root canal on a captive killer whale, they perform a pulpotomy. This entire procedure is performed without a local anesthetic for reasons which are not fully understood. For example, while the teeth of many of SeaWorlds orcas are in train-wreck status, drilling and flushing routinely takes place regardless of whether the teeth are infected or in need of this procedure. The training and education staff at SeaWorld contends that the thrice daily tooth flushes are superior dental care. What they dont tell you is that the teeth have holes in them, and if the impacted fish isnt flushed with a Waterpick daily, an infection would likely occur. This is done by filling the reservoir of a device with a Betadine solution which

is pumped down into the jaw. In the case of Tilikum, the orca involved in the February 24, 2010 death of trainer Dawn Brancheau, this procedure is, or was, performed three times a day. Although Lolita, the sole orca at Miami Seaquarium has endured 40 years of captivity and has been subjected to numerous other detrimental issues her teeth appear to be in remarkably good form; the front teeth are barely erupted or worn down. Perhaps this is due to Lolitas isolation, and lack of a need for social-climbing (no competitors in her facility) or other available mechanism of injury resulting from social-climbing and/or threat displays such as Jaw-popping. The absence of these captive environment conditions also holds true for orcas in the wild that do not suffer the same oral degradation as seen in their captive counterparts. When compared, there is a significant prevalence of fractured and broken teeth in captive orcas which can be directly related to their confinement. SeaWorld, for example, routinely does the following to conceal the teeth issue: 1 They will use a juvenile or dominant orca with good teeth for all public photo shoots. 2 They will create an angle where the photographer can only see the top jaw (in many cases the damage is to the lower jaw only) 3 They wont let anyone close to an animal, citing safety reasons (ironic, given their safety assurances). 4 They sell the public on superior dental care as they often perform the tooth flush husbandry behavior publicly several times a day. 5 PR pictures were always done mindful of avoiding mouth close-ups for fear of inadvertent disclosure. Numerous studies of both Eastern and Western Medicine practitioners suggest that oral health, and gum disease in particular, are related to serious health conditions in humans and the relationship between teeth and other areas of the body can create a recipe for illness, infection and death. This raises the following question: Is there a correlation between poor dental health in orcas and their premature mortality? In the wild, male orcas live an average of 30+ yrs and females 50+ yrs (many can live well into their 80s or 90s) and they do not to suffer the same oral degradation seen in captive orcas. In captivity; orcas rarely make it out of their teens and most suffer from extremely poor dentition as we have presented here. Regardless of whether human oral health studies can be viewed as an accepted truth for orca health, these issues and images are strong evidence illustrating another example of the callous nature of orca confinement which predominantly results in early death.

TOP: Welcome back to part 2 of our interview with former SeaWorld Trainer, Samantha Berg. Its nice to talk with you again, Samantha. Last month, we touched on several topics, including your experiences of working with marine mammals at SeaWorld and your perspective on wildlife up in Alaska. We thank you for your insight! Today wed like to dig a little deeper into SeaWorlds proposed safety improvements as well as their educational programs. And later, well take a close look at what happened on the day of Dawn Brancheaus tragic death. But first, wed like to talk a little bit about SeaWorlds breeding program. As we know, Tilikum has become the primary breeding stud for orcas in captivity. With the relatively small number of killer whales housed in marine parks, its alarming that Tilikums genes are so prominent in the population. Thanks to the help of our friend Wendy Cooke, weve been able reconstruct Tilikums family tree: TOP: At The Orca Project, we are aware that your undergraduate training at Cornell University was in animal sciences. Can you comment on the ethics and continued use of Tilikum as a breeding stud for SeaWorld?

SAM: Sure. At Cornell University, I learned quite a bit about the meat and dairy cattle industries while studying animal sciences. The bull cattle being used as breeding studs had to go through years of genetic testing to be accepted into the breeding program. I believe this is standard practice in any reputable breeding program for animals such as horses or dogs. There are two parts to any successful breeding program. The first is the collections and insemination aspect. The second, more important part is thorough genetic testing through multiple generations to ensure that the semen being used is not passing on unwanted traits or genetic defects to future animals. Since SW is limited by the small number of captive male orcas in its collection, its not like any genetic testing they could do would be meaningful. They have the whales they have, and they are forced to use those whales for breeding. The whole point of a legitimate breeding program is not just to make MORE animals, but to strengthen and diversify the gene pool, thus producing animals that are more resilient, more resistant to disease, and which display the specific kinds of traits that are considered to be desirable. For dairy cattle, that might be greater milk production or percentage of butter fat in the milk. For dogs it might be temperament, speed or agility, smell acuity etc. For animals intended to live their lives in captivity, youd think the breeders would be concerned about the temperament and health of the whales in their breeding pool. Tilikum has sired many calves that either died prematurely, or ended up having health issues. In two cases, Tilikums sperm resulted in stillborn calves that caused their mothers to die as well. Not only that, but Tilikum has also clearly demonstrated aggression towards humans on at least 3 occasions that resulted in death. Speaking of aggression, there is one whale in the SeaWorld collection that is related to both Tilikum and Keto, the Loro Parque whale who killed Alexis. Kohannas recent calf, Adan, is Ketos son and Tilikums grandson. Why would anyone consider breeding an animal that has demonstrated extreme aggression towards humans on numerous occasions? Especially when they know without a doubt that this animals progeny will likely continue to interact with humans? SeaWorld is producing more whales, but theres no regard for the health of the whales that they are creating or for the safety of the trainers that will interact with those whales. Fourteen out of twenty-five whales living in SeaWorlds collection (56%!) are currently carrying Tilikums genes. I think you could say that SeaWorld has created more of an inbreeding program which jeopardizes the health of their population and their human trainers. In my opinion, continuing to breed Tilikum is unethical based upon his known aggression towards humans, the number of stillborns he has produced, the two breeding moms that have died giving birth to his calves, and the lack of genetic diversity it perpetuates in the SeaWorld gene pool. Not only is it unethical, it is down right irresponsible. No reputable breeding program in any other animal industry would continue to use this animal as their main breeder considering this information. TOP: Sam, it is known that youve provided at least one written statement to OSHA regarding Sea Worlds intention to use spare air as a new safety measure. Can you briefly tell us what spare air is, and why SeaWorld would be looking into using this technology? Also, explain briefly why it wouldnt work. SAM: Spare Air is a term that refers to gear that could be given to trainers to give them access to additional air (oxygen) to prevent them from drowning in the event they are trapped in a pool underwater either due to an accident (hitting their head and falling in a pool) or due to an animal actively preventing a trainer from exiting the water, as in Keltie, Dawns and Alexis cases. Here is a summary of why this technology is impractical for SeaWorld orca trainers: 1. Spare air requires trainers to carry additional equipment and gear which could give the whales something else to grab or bite. 2. At Shamu Stadium in Orlando, the pressure at the bottom of the main show pool is double the pressure at the surface. A trainer taking a breath of compressed air at the bottom of the pool could be at risk of a lung over-expansion injury if a whale decided to take them rapidly to the surface

without giving the trainer enough time to exhale. So, spare air could actually kill a trainer instead of save their lives in the event of an attack. 3. The sound of the equipment could agitate or excite the whales, causing unpredictable behavior in an already unstable situation. 4. Killer whale attacks are often fast and violent. Although Kelties official cause of death was hypothermia and drowning, the autopsy reports from Alex and Dawn clearly show massive amounts of physical trauma. Therefore, spare air would not have saved Alex or Dawn, and spare air wouldnt do anything for hypothermia either. 5. In Kelties situation, trainers tried to throw her a life ring and she couldnt get to it because the whales kept her away. I believe that trainers tried to throw Dawn a spare air canister as she resurfaced following the initial take-down but they were unsuccessful. But even if all three trainers went in the water with scuba gear on or with a smaller spare air canister with mouth piece and regulator already on their person, they likely wouldnt have been able to access it. View any of the YouTube videos that show the speed and violence of a killer whale attack, and it quickly becomes obvious that the trainer is able to do very little that the whale doesnt want them to do. 6. Captive whales have been known to ingest objects in the pool either accidentally or intentionally. Kanduke, a male killer whale at SeaWorld had a navigation buoy in his stomach which was found after his death. Nami, the Japanese killer whale who recently died in January 2011, was found to have 180 lbs of rocks in her stomach. Spare air equipment could endanger the lives of the whales if they swallowed a tank or a hose. TOP: Sam, you once told us that your biggest regret at SeaWorld was presenting false information to the young kids that came to SW for education shows or with their families. Can you expand on that comment? SAM: As I said before, I know a lot more about killer whales in captivity and killer whales in the wild than I did when I worked at SeaWorld. Part of my job at SeaWorld was to narrate educational shows for school children visiting the park. The educational shows differed from the regular shows in that there was a little less spectacular behavior (trainers jumping off of whales) and more time spent teaching children about whale anatomy, habitat and fun facts such as how many pounds of fish does Shamu eat in one day? The facts I was trained to present to the children were made up of only the biased information that SeaWorld provided. So, if someone wanted to know why one of the killer whales dorsal fins was bent, I would be instructed to reply that killer whale dorsal fins are often bent in the wild. Of course we now know that some dorsal bending does occur in the wild, but complete dorsal collapse (as discussed in a recent paper published by former trainers Drs. John Jett & Jeffrey Ventre) is nearly exclusive to captivity. The statistics I was told to provide about the lifespan of captive killer whales vs. wild killer whales were also false. (Again, see John and Jeffs paper for more on this topic) Even more ironically, after Dawn was killed, I was asked to speak at a local high school about what happened at SeaWorld, and I was only able to tell the children what I knew from when I worked there. I didnt do any independent research prior to giving that talk, because I assumed the information I had from SeaWorld was accurate. This assumption turned out to be a grave misjudgment on my part. I wish I could go back and tell those kids the truth. To learn more about this topic its worth reading an interview by Frontline with Susan Davis, author of Spectacular Nature: Corporate Culture and the SeaWorld Experience. Davis details how every aspect of SeaWorld parks from landscape to concessions to educational material is carefully researched and commercialized to present just the message the company wants to present. Davis suggests that the education that one might receive from one of SeaWorlds shows is equivalent or possibly not as good as the average library book targeted for third graders. SeaWorlds educational programs are nothing more than a thin veil behind which all of the less savory aspects of the captive marine mammal industry can be found hiding. I actually feel a fair amount of shame when I think about how much misinformation I participated in disseminating over my time at SeaWorld. My hope is that I can use the knowledge that Ive gained since that time to set the record straight.

TOP: Sam, at The Orca Project, we heard rumors of a huge demonstration that was being planned on the anniversary of Dawn Brancheaus tragic death. Apparently some folks from Jacksonville were planning on coming to SW dressed in wet suits with blonde ponytail wigs. Did you hear of these plans? SAM: Yes I did. TOP: Although we understand the message, what does this say about the publics general understanding of how Dawn was pulled into the water? What are your thoughts on this? SAM: When Dawn was killed, SeaWorlds first report to the news media and the public was that a trainer had slipped or fell into the pool and drowned. Only later, after witnesses on CNN and various local outlets began to speak out, did the story evolve. The media and general public are still not informed of what I, and the other former trainers, regard as the truth. SAM: Dawns safety spotter, Jan Topoleski, reported to the Orange Country Sheriffs department that he saw Dawns hair floating on the water into Tilikums mouth. However, witness reports of the initial takedown raise a question of whether Jan was watching closely, and saw it. Witnesses have also reported that he lost valuable seconds by not sounding the pool alarm immediately. So there is reason to wonder how clearly Jan saw the grab, if at all.

From the OCSO Final Investigative report- Jan Topoleski describes Dawns hair floating into Tilikums mouth and immediately sounding the alarm SAM: I, along with 5 other former SeaWorld trainers, have reviewed the video evidence of Dawns last moments with Tilikum. We all agree the most likely explanation is that Tilikum actually had Dawns arm in his mouth before he rolled and took her underwater. So, it was an arm grab and not a ponytail grab. TOP: So, why does SeaWorld still promote the Pony Tail Theory? SAM: There are several reasons why making this distinction is important to SeaWorld: 1. It gives SeaWorld an action they can take to remedy the situation: No female trainers are allowed to wear their hair down hair must be kept in a bun or cut short. This gives the appearance that SeaWorld is effectively addressing the problem and mitigating the dangers of working with Tilikum and all other orcas. 2. A ponytail grab seems less intentional. People who dont know anything about killer whales and how they feed in the wild could make the assumption that Tilikum didnt actually INTEND to grab Dawn, but somehow the accident of her ponytail drifting in his mouth or touching his nose stirred up

some kind of instinctual feeding behavior and he grabbed her. SeaWorld is trying to confound the issue by suggesting a reflex type feeding frenzy more akin to sharks, not whales. 3. The ponytail theory allows SeaWorld to blame Dawn for being careless and letting her hair drift in his mouth. However, anyone who has worked with killer whales can review the video of Dawns last session with Tilikum and it will become more obvious that the answer as to what happened is more complicated than a simple, instinctual behavior. 4. Finally, if Dawn was grabbed by her ponytail, then it would be reasonable to assume that she could have died right away due to a broken neck from the violence of being whipped around by her head. However, witness statements indicate that Dawn re-surfaced at least once following the initial take-down and that she was likely alive for at least 1- 1/2 minutes into the attack. Thus the scalping that is reported in the MEs report (which is also the supposed evidence FOR the ponytail grab) probably occurred AFTER Dawn died, not before. I think the idea that Dawn was alive and fighting for her life for this amount of time is likely an image that SW does not want to have people contemplating. TOP: Based on what we know from the evidence (including witness statements) and after reviewing the video of Dawns final interaction with Tilikum, in your opinion, what is the more likely scenario that triggered the attack? SAM: In the video from the Dine with Shamu show, Tilikum is performing well in the session to start off, but then Dawn loses his attention and he starts giving her mediocre responses to her requests. (To view a second by second transcript of Dawns last session with Tili, click HERE ) For some reason, Dawn continued to work a session with an animal that was not responding well and with minimal food (fish) at her disposal. There is reasonable speculation that VIPs were in the park that day and its possible they viewed the regular Shamu Show Believe just prior to the Dine with Shamu show. The Believe show was interrupted due to social disturbances between the whales. While this social unrest likely played a role in agitating Tilikum, the presence of VIPs could be an explanation as to why an experienced trainer like Dawn didnt give him a break. (*see Note 1 below re: VIPs) SAM: This time Tilikum decided that pulling Dawn in the water with him was more rewarding than anything else that was going on. Keep in mind that we now know Tilikum had an elevated white blood cell count when he pulled her in, and may not have felt well. In the final image of Dawn and Tilikums interaction before the camera shuts off, it appears that her arm is already in Tilikums mouth. He has probably closed down on her arm while she was rubbing his tongue a behavior known as tongue tactile. But instead of calling out to the spotter, she is quietly giving him a neutral response hoping that Tilikum will open his mouth and let go. Jan Topoleski likely didnt see that this was happening and, in the end, possibly offered a story that sounded plausible so it would not appear that he wasnt paying attention. TOP: In a little more than a year, at least 5 orcas have died in captivity (4 at SeaWorld parks, including the stillborn calf of Taima) along with 2 young trainers. Do you see anything positive that may come out of all of this tragedy? SAM: Yes. Since Dawns death last year, the topic of killer whales in captivity has been in the media more frequently than at any other time I can remember. Already 7 ex-SeaWorld trainers have stepped forward to highlight the brutality, isolation, over-breeding and other wrongs that were perpetrated on these animals for the sake of commercialized entertainment. Many more ex-trainers will likely come forward, and we welcome them (*see note 1 below), as the accumulated evidence demonstrates beyond a doubt that these magnificent, intelligent and highly social animals do not belong in tanks for the purpose of entertaining people. I think that the recent deaths and tragedies have started a chain of events that will be viewed from some vantage point in the future as a kind of Rosa Parks moment for killer whales. SAM: I recently saw a preview of Stan Minasians movie, A Fall From Freedom, which examines the captive killer whale industry (**see Note 2 below for more info). In the movie, Ric OBarry, former animal trainer for the television show Flipper, is interviewed about how he would like to see marine parks evolve and change in the future. OBarry points out that the Monterey Bay Aquarium has 1.8 million visitors per year and manages to provide a highly educational experience for its guests without having any live whales on display. Instead, the aquarium has life sized models of many different types of whales.

In the interview, OBarry also references the 1997-1998 rehabilitation of a sick grey whale at SeaWorld of San Diego. People came from everywhere to view and support SeaWorlds efforts in treating AND releasing an animal back to the wild. This generated plenty of income for the park. SeaWorld and other marine parks have the potential to do a great service by helping to rescue, rehabilitate and return animals back to their natural environment. In my opinion, the only conclusion that can be drawn from the overwhelming amount of evidence that has been collected here at The Orca Project and all over the internet, is this: We must stop capturing more killer whales, stop breeding killer whales in captivity, work to release any animals that are healthy enough to survive on their own, and retire unhealthy, un-releasable animals (like Tilikum) to sea pens where they can live out their life with their companions in a much less stressful environment. TOP: Thank you Samantha for speaking with us today. This concludes our interview. *NOTE 1: If anyone reading this interview has further information regarding the topic of VIPs in the park on the date of Dawns death or at any other time, please comment or write directly to The Orca Project. This information can be passed along to the proper authorities. Also, if you are a trainer, former or otherwise, and would like to speak out, please contact us at: We welcome your insights and any information you provide can be done so with conditions of anonymity. **Note 2: The theatrical release of Stan Minasians newly-cut film A Fall From Freedom is scheduled for Spring 2011 with new footage including an interview with former SeaWorld killer whale trainer John Jett, PhD., a frequent contributor here at The Orca Project. This film documents the tragic history of the industry where the killer whale, beluga whale and dolphin are torn from their close-knit families in violent and often illegal captures. We witness footage of trainer injuries caused by killer whales driven to violence by the stress of captivity, contrasted with the mesmerizing social interactions and herd camaraderie exhibited by these gentle and peaceful animals in their ocean kingdom.~ The Orca Project has previewed this film, which is a MUST SEE for anyone who wants to learn the truth behind the captive marine mammal industry. We will keep you posted on when and where it will be available.