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dawnJane Valez Mitchell in the promotion of the CNN special Blackfish, a controversial special aired on CNN this eveningĀ  stated “If you were stuck in a bathtub for 25 years, wouldn’t you go stir crazy?” Some who would hear that statement might think that Orcas are just another animal and it would not matter if they were in a big pool or the ocean. The main argument that advocates such as Mitchell make is that “Killer whales” or Orca whales as they are better known are self aware.


Self aware? What the hell does that mean? It means, simply, that just like you or me, Orcas know who they are. They can look in a mirror and think “I am me.”

In fact, it is a “mirror test” That is used to determine if an animal is self aware.


Since Orca whales are self aware and are also highly socialized animals, it would seem that confinement for life might not bode well for the species and thus explain how Dawn Brancheau, A trainer at Sea World Orlando was killed during the famous show that was presented there. It turns out that Tilikum had killed before.

The first death occurred in 1991 when trainer Keltie Byrne slipped into the tank where Tilikum and two other whales were kept at Sealand of the Pacific.


The second death occurred once again at Sea World Orlando when the body of Daniel P. Dukes was found nude on Tilikum’s back. One rather odd detail is thatĀ  the man’s “private parts” had been pulled off.


It is clear that the movement against having these animals in captivity is getting stronger. It appears that sometime in the near future we may see an evolution as to how animals are housed in zoos and other forms of confinement. There may come a time when zoos are no longer and that people will have to travel to natural preserves to see these animals or watch national geographic tv.

Stay Tuned