Subject: Killer Whales Behaviors

Dr. Cathy Schaeff (schaeff@american.edu)
Tue, 24 Nov 1998 21:54:39 +0000

JCali53544@aol.com wrote:
> 
> Are killer whales really being tortured while held in captivity for so long in different theme parks and entertainment centers? I would like to know your insights on what you think about whales being captured for these reasons?


Hi,

I think that there is always a cost to wild animals held in captivity. 
The cost varies between species and also varies depending on the
conditions of their captivity. The costs to the animals may be physical
(increased chances of illness or shortened life span) or related to
quality of life.  I suspect that holding wild species in captiviy is
rarely better than having them in the wild (but sometimes may be). So,
the question is more whether the benefits justify the costs to the
animals.  I think that there are reasons to have some animals in
captivity. Zoos are important for education and conservation, captive
breeding programs may help the wild populations, etc.  I don't think
there is any excuse for having animals kept under cruel or dangerous
conditions.

Regarding collecting animals from the wild -- again, there are some
occassions when it is needed but I don't think it should be done lightly
or just for profit.  Also, I think that it is dangerous to the animals
and so should only be undertaken by experienced and well equipped
individuals.

Please also check: Behavior page
(http://whale.wheelock.edu/whalenet-stuff/classifications.html) 


Good luck.
-- 
Cathy Schaeff, Ph.D.
Biology Department,
American University,
4400 Mass. Ave. NW,
Washington DC 20016.

(202) 885-2175 (phone)
(202) 885-2182 (fax)
schaeff@american.edu (email)