Essay about Killer Whale in Captivity

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Captivity is the state or period of being imprisoned, confined, or enslaved, according to Wiktionary. Every year, marine parks and aquariums, like SeaWorld, make billions of dollars through ticket sales. SeaWorld estimates about 70% of their total revenue is due to their performing killer whales (Jeffs). People visit from all over the world to encounter killer whales up close. “Their beauty and power, combined with willingness to work with humans, have made them legendary performers” (Gorman). In recent years, humans have gained the ability to tame and train these creatures. Killer whales should not be kept in captivity simply because it is cruel, unnatural, and dangerous.
Orcas, or killer whales are majestic giants of the sea. They are actually the largest type of dolphin. They have long black bodies with distinct white patches near their eyes. A killer whale can be up to 32 feet or more in length, and weigh up to 12,000 pounds. Females are a bit smaller, but live longer (Gorman). The name “killer whale” apparently came not because it is a vicious whale, but because it preys on whales. They do not have any natural predators, and they are considered the “top dog” of the ocean. Not even the great white shark stands a chance against these superb killers. “Unlike sharks, killer whales are cautious hunters, sometimes spending hours harassing a 1,000-pound sea lion so it can easily be drowned” (Francis). Orcas use many hunting tactics that are unique to their species, which is what makes them invincible.
Killer whales communicate by a series of clicks and whistles called vocalization. Each pod, or family, has their own unique language. This gives whales the ability to identify their own pods. Orcas have a brain that is about five ti...

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... Pictures, 2013. Film.
Francis, David R. “Communities of Killer Whales.” The Christian Science Monitor. National Newspapers Core, 15 December 1987. Web. 7 November 2013. LSCS.
Gorman, James. “Smart, Social and Erratic in Captivity.” New York Times. New York Times, 29 July 2013. Web. 7 November 2013.
Jeffs, Paul N. “Frontline: A Whale of a Business.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 1 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Kirby, David. Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2012. Print.
Rose, Naomi A. “Killer Controversy: Why Orcas Should No Longer Be Kept in Captivity.” Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States. Sept. 2011. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
Smith, Gary. " ‘The Cove’ Star Ric O'Barry On SeaWorld's Despicable Track Record." Elephant Journal. 10 Mar. 2010. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.

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