Another death in captivity, but it isn’t just SeaWorld at fault

Once born into a life at SeaWorld, Jozu did not stand a chance.

There has been yet another death in the pools of marine mammal captivity. In 1994, a false killer whale was born into a life of captivity in SeaWorld. As with most captive animals, she faced a short life full of sickness and ailments. She was named Jozu and was said to have chronic health problems throughout her life. Jozu only made it to the age of 17. In the wild, female false killer whales live an average of 62 years.

When I read stories like this I find myself going through a string of emotions. I am always sad for the animal because their life here is gone. They are no longer existing amongst us and I find myself wondering if their soul has been reborn into another life that is now wild in the ocean. As I am thinking about this life that is gone I realize I am angry with SeaWorld for allowing it to happen. They bring these animals into the world knowing that they will never live to see a day anywhere close to what they should naturally. They know about the species and what they require in order to survive and yet they still allow captive breeding and condemn these animals to an early death. It is in these moments that I wish I hadn’t been banned from all of SeaWorld’s social media pages so I could write to them publicly and tell them how I feel while exposing the truth to their “fans”.  Although, it was those messages that originally got me (and several other fake profiles) kicked off their pages in the first place.

Then, I seem to realize that even though the people at SeaWorld are guilty of many cruelty crimes involving animal exploitation, there is another group at blame.  Every single person that supports SeaWorld or any other marine park is also responsible for Jozu’s death. This continued ignorance is what drives the industry. And perhaps it is not always unintentional ignorance. We have become a VERY complacent society who thinks they have a great deal of entitlement owed to them. We look around and see bad things and just look the other way or tell ourselves its just part of life. For example, anyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows about the pet population crisis. The shelters are bursting at the seams with homeless pets and yet there is still that person who will go spend $1000 on a pure bred animal and justify the action by saying, “I wanted it”. People breed their own cats or dogs because they can or want their kids to see the birth. It stems from this idea that because you were born into the human species you have domain over every other creature and if you want it, you can have it. And you will just walk by the pet shelter with your pure bred dog because you’ve become completely complacent to the faces in the window.

This is exactly what is happening at SeaWorld. People simply do not care or think about the existence of those animals. People feel that they have the right to go look at dolphins and whales at a park. Or they say that since they were born in captivity it doesn’t matter.  They get to go to the park for a day with the family and watch these animals perform a bunch of unnatural circus tricks and then go home. That is where the thought ends. They don’t go home and think about that animal still sitting in the same pool full of chemically altered water. They don’t think about the dead fish the animals get only when they perform their silly tricks. They don’t think about the medicine stuffed into the fish to help the animals cope with stress and health issues. They aren’t sitting in the stands cheering and clapping, listening to the announcer and the music and wondering how all that noise effects a creature whose strongest sense is sound. They simply go to SeaWorld, watch the shows and then go home and tell their friends and family about their big family day out.

Money and power and entitlement and complacency. That is what makes SeaWorld go round. A simple internet search will teach you that False Killer whales naturally swim in groups of 10-20 members, which then belong to a larger pod consisting of hundreds of animals. You can learn about the average life span which is about 58 years for males and 62 for females. You can learn about their strong social bonds which have resulted in mass strandings. These are not things you learn at SeaWorld and none of these natural attributes were a part of Jozu’s life. She was deprived of all the things her wild cousins have, including a life that should have lasted into her sixties.

And while these animals are floating around in glorified swimming pools, getting sunburns at the surface, with no life beyond tricks and swimming in circles, Stephen Schwarzman (CEO of the Blackstone Group) is home in his 20,000 square foot, 35 bedroom estate. A home that is bigger then the orca tanks at SeaWorld. Yes, he is responsible for the sad life of every animal at SeaWorld, as well as the death of Jozu, but if you’ve bought a ticket then so are you.

Stop with the complacency. Stop supporting SeaWorld. Stop supporting captivity. Together we can close their doors for good.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Orca, Whales | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yup….SeaWorld Still Sucks

Sully, the pilot whale dies after being forced into a life of captivity.

In 2009, a pilot whale became beached near Aruba. People of course showed up to “help” and the pilot whale, now called Sully, was taken to a local aquarium. It didn’t take long for SeaWorld to discover the animal and offer to “adopt” the whale. Of course SeaWorld would take him because they had determined he was “non-releasable” and he could bring in money for them despite the fact that he was a wild animal.

SeaWorld can no longer take wild animals from the ocean but they can acquire them through a rescue. So Sully was flown from the Caribbean Islands to SeaWorld San Diego via a FedEx plane. He survived with SeaWorld for only a couple years. Sully died on May 23, 2012 from complications due to a sunburn. In the wild, whales and dolphins only spend time a fraction of time at the surface and spend over 80% of their time below the water exploring, playing, and eating. In captivity the animals have nothing to do but sit at the surface and float and are therefore exposed to the sun day in and day out.

It is just another reason to not keep marine mammals in captivity and another part of their life that is not natural.

Yup…SeaWorld still sucks and they are still killing animals and sentencing others to a life behind concrete and glass, one “rescue” at a time.

 

Thanks for reading.

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Whales | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

My First Donations!

My First Donations!

I am so happy to be receiving support from my amazing friends and family for my upcoming trip to Taiji, Japan!

Thank you to everyone!

~Rachel

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wasteful Fact Wednesday!

This weekend I went to a talk by Captain Moore about plastic waste in our oceans and I was HORRIFIED! I thought I knew how bad things were, but he took it to another level. The waste and destruction in our oceans has become so problematic that it is beyond clean up. The only option we have to try and save this planet is to start cutting off the problem at the source. The source is wasteful people and their obsession with plastic. One such destructive object is the plastic bag.

The estimates I kept finding online was that globally there are 500,000,000,000 bags used EVERY SINGLE YEAR! That averages out to about 1,000,000 plastic bags consumed and wasted every single minute. That is incredibly insane, wasteful, and avoidable.

Plastic does not go away. It simply breaks into smaller and smaller pieces, contaminating soil and water along the way.

Here in Washington State we have plastic bag bans in three cities (including Seattle) that will all take effect this summer. A state wide ban is also being considered. If it passes Washington will be the first state in the country to ban these terrible bags.

It seems that bringing your own bag into the store is a no brainer. Everyone should be doing that at this point. It is the easiest way to make a HUGE difference for our planet. You can buy them at the store or even look up your favorite organization online and purchase a bag from them. You can support a great cause and do your part for the planet at the same time.

Thanks for reading!

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, plastic, pollution, Uncategorized, waste | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Journey Towards Taiji….

Okay guys, it is official. I have decided to go to Taiji, Japan during this year’s dolphin hunting season. I am aiming to go sometime in January 2013, but I need to start fundraising for the trip. I sent in my Cove Guardian application to be a part of Sea Shepherd’s on-going campaign, Infinite Patience. Since my application was accepted I must now start the process of FUNDRAISING!

I am very excited to begin this new journey towards helping the dolphins of Japan even more. In order to stop this annual slaughter of dolphins we must show the world what is happening. People need to see how their tickets to Sea World directly contributes to the deaths of these magnificent creatures.

I have started a fundraising page with the website Go Fund Me. I needed an easy way for friends and family (and hopefully some animal loving strangers) to help support me in this dream.

So check out the donation page HERE. (www.gofundme.com/stopthedolphinslaughter)

Thank you so much for reading and I will continue documenting the steps in this journey right here at World Wide Waves.

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Sea Shepherd, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Great Ocean Video!

I came across this oldie, but goodie today. I have watched it multiple times because it is so good. Brian Skerry is an underwater photographer who captured both the beauty and the horror of our oceans.

 

Click the link to view the video.

Brian Skerry’s TED Talk

Categories: Animal Welfare, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, pastic, pollution, Shark Finning, Sharks, waste, Whales | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Update to Morgan’s Timeline

I have made a couple of updates to the timeline about Morgan.

You can click here to go to the timeline and see the new updates at the bottom.

Thanks for reading!

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Orca, Whales | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wasteful Fact Wednesday!

WATER BOTTLES – Did you know that the use  of plastic water bottles results in 60 million water bottles a day to be manufactured, transported, and then disposed of? Almost 90% are not recycled or reused. Bottled water produces up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year. According to Food and Water Watch, that plastic requires up to 47 million gallons of oil per year to produce. And due to the slow decay rate of plastic, the majority of all plastics ever produced still exists some place on this planet. A lot ends up in our oceans, polluting them and harming marine wildlife.

Some estimates say it takes 3 liters of water to fill a 1 liter water bottle. That is A LOT of water waste especially when so many people in this world still do not have access to clean water.

So what can you do? Well start by NOT buying plastic water bottles. There are so many options for reusable bottles now. Check out these ones. I have one myself and absolutely love it!

Oh and one more thing, Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coke’s Dasani water is basically just tap water that has gone through a filter. Every time you buy those you are spending your hard earned money on a bottle of tap water.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Oceans, waste | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

How to Help the Bonneville Sea Lions

I wanted to give a couple resources on how you can help the sea lions at the Bonneville Dam. Not everyone can travel to the Dam to be a Dam Guardian but there are ways to give your voice to the innocent sea lions.

Call and Email! Contact the governors of Oregon and Washington and urge them to stop this senseless abuse and killing of sea lions.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber:

phone: (503) 378-4582

email: http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/contact.shtml

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire:

phone: (360) 902-4111

email: http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/

 

You can also sign the petition to help stop the sea lion killings by clicking here.

 

Thank you for doing your part to help the California sea lions!

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, dam guardians, Marine Wildlife, sea lions, Sea Shepherd | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Dam Guardians and the Bonneville Dam

Well, yesterday, May 4, 2012 was my first day as a Dam Guardian for Sea Shepherd. I traveled down to the Bonneville Dam at the Washington/Oregon boarder with my friend Eloisa. We had signed up to be Dam Guardians shortly after learning the government was ordering California Sea Lions be trapped and killed for eating salmon. We got to Portland, Oregon late on Thursday night and slept for a few hours. We got up at 4:30am on Friday and drove to the Washington side of the dam where we met another Dam Guardian, Katie. She had been there before monitoring the activity and was able to give us the lay of the land. As we were standing there watching with our cameras and binoculars, a couple of men in uniforms parked across the river and were watching us. At one point they even waved as Eloisa was looking at them through the binoculars. We were greeted shortly after by a couple more men who had been informed by the woman at the gate that it was our first time there. They wanted to make sure we knew where we could go and what was off limits. They seemed nice enough but clearly we were being watched.

It was cold, cloudy and rainy most of the day. We saw several sea lions playing in the rough waters and rain. We saw two eating fish as they swam by us. Two men stood on the dam looking out over the river. One had binoculars and the other had a gun. Katie told us they shoot off hazing shots and explosives from there when the sea lions get too close. The traps remained empty the whole time we were there which was a good thing of course. Around maybe 10:30am or so the boat that patrols the area drove past. There were 3 men on board and Katie once again told us about them. That boat apparently drives back and forth chasing the sea lions and firing shots at them. It was definitely eerie to hear pops and explosives going off while we were standing in the rain along the shore. At one point as the boat went by the shore where we were standing it fired off a shot. (NOT at all aimed at us) The men seemed amused as we jumped at the unexpected ‘pop’. The sea lions were not near that spot at that moment so it was clear that was just for us to remind us that they do not like our presence there.

All in all it was a quiet day and no sea lions were trapped, branded or killed. So far the government has killed 9 California Sea Lions and sent one poor soul to a life of captivity at an aquarium in Chicago. The sea lions consume 2-4% of the salmon on the Columbia River. Fishermen take 17% of the salmon  and the dam itself claims the lives of 7-16% of the adult fish. Clearly the sea lions are not the reason for the current salmon population problems. They are simply the scapegoat for a group of government entities that do not want to take responsibility for destroying an ecosystem. Humans have driven the salmon into a state of decline with their fishing, habitat destruction, dam construction, and even the introduction of farmed fish and non-native fish.

I am hoping to travel to the dam again this Friday so stay tuned!
Thanks for reading!

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, dam guardians, Marine Wildlife, sea lions, Sea Shepherd | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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