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Blackfish - Orcas in Captivity

            The documentary "Blackfish," directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite brings to light the many issues that involve orcas being held in captivity at certain aquatic parks such as Seaworld as well as others. Throughout the film, the directer mainly focuses on one orca named Tilikum. Tilikum had been captured from the wild when he was around two years old and taken to an aquatic park called Sealand of the Pacific in British Colombia, Canada. Being held in captivity has had a big impact on Tilikum's life and how he behaves. Cowperthwaite was certainly trying to get her audience to understand that orcas don't belong in small pools in a theme park but that they belong in the wild, free to move around and do as they please. .
             While living in captivity, Orcas are often subjected to living conditions that are less than ideal. Eric Walters, a former trainer at Sealand, recalls the whales being stored in steel modules throughout the night. Initially when the whales were much younger and smaller they fit into the modules. However, as the whales grew bigger they became practically immobile during the night, and remained that way until the trainers returned in the morning to let them out. These living conditions were much different than how the whales were used to living in the wild. Though orcas seem to be generally happy animals, being held in captivity caused them to become unpredictable and in a few cases, aggressive towards trainers. On February 21,1991, a trainer named Keltie Byrn fell into the pool containing three orcas and was pulled down to the bottom of the pool by Tilikum, one of the Orcas inside of the enclosure. Not long after Keltie's death, Sealand had closed for good and Tilikum was sent to Seaworld in Orlando Florida. There, the orca repeated this aggressive behavior and a very skilled trainer named Dawn Brancheau lost her life. Dawn, who was in the water had been taken by the arm, drug to the bottom of the pool and was mauled by Tilikum.

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