It wasn’t before I saw my first humpback whale in Iceland that I became (let’s say) ‘obsessed’ with marine mammals. How those big creatures move around in that enormous pool of water is quite mesmerizing.
After Iceland, my first encounter with orcas happened in Canada. Those three big fins sticking out, a family swimming freely together, made me even more mad of the fact that we, humans, keep those animals in captivity. The so called stars at sea parks and aquariums throughout the world. Our own short-time entertainment resulting in a lifetime suffering of a beautiful creature.
Why should we, humans , even have the right to tear families apart? It’s know that orcas are highly intelligent, social animals with strong family bonds. They also need a great distance in the ocean to live, migrate and feed. In small tanks (even smaller than the parks parking lot) they just cannot thrive.
Most of us saw Blackfish, a documentary film, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, that tells the story of Tilikum. After three decades of misery and spending most of his live at SeaWorld Orlando, he died. He was involved in the deaths of three people mainly caused by stress of living in an unnatural condition. Some people say Tilikum was a murderer but let’s be honest, how would you act if you have no freedom at all?
The Covid-19 lockdown brought up a lot of mental issues for some people and that’s not even a life sentence. Wether it’s a bird locked in a cage, a gorilla staring behind glass in the zoo or a human not able to meet with his/her friends and family, we all want our freedom and make our own choice in our movements. It must be strange… swimming freely in the ocean until one day you are taken away from your family and home and kept in a small tank hoping that one day you’ll be taken back to that big endless salty pool.
So what can we actually do?
In my opinion it all starts with education. Don’t take your kids to those shows but make them aware it’s not OK for humans to steal marine mammals from their habitat. As a kid I too saw these shows and didn’t see any harm in it. Only by getting older and wiser you realize this is wrong in all ways.
Spread the message. Whether it’s via your Instagram page, a YouTube channel, word of mouth communication or any other way. MAKE PEOPLE AWARE!
Support organizations. Sea Shepherd, The International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP), WWF and many more of those wonderful organization are bravely fighting for marine conservation. In below video, Sir David Attenborough will explain you why this is so important:
Be a responsible tourist. Don’t go swimming with dolphins or attend orca shows. Just don’t participate in anything that involves the exploitation of marine mammals.
So as you can see, YOU can make an example. Unfortunately, the reason why those parks still exist is profit and not education. So if you want to see a humpback whale, orca or dolphin, book a whale watching expedition with a responsible company or simply take your binoculars and spot whales from shore.
The El Burro Crew