Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity by David KirbyFrom the New York Times bestselling author of Evidence of Harm and Animal Factory—a groundbreaking scientific thriller that exposes the dark side of SeaWorld, America’s most beloved marine mammal park.
Death at SeaWorld centers on the battle with the multimillion-dollar marine park industry over the controversial and even lethal ramifications of keeping killer whales in captivity. Following the story of marine biologist and animal advocate at the Humane Society of the US, Naomi Rose, Kirby tells the gripping story of the two-decade fight against PR-savvy SeaWorld, which came to a head with the tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. Kirby puts that horrific animal-on-human attack in context. Brancheau’s death was the most publicized among several brutal attacks that have occurred at Sea World and other marine mammal theme parks.
Death at SeaWorld introduces real people taking part in this debate, from former trainers turned animal rights activists to the men and women that champion SeaWorld and the captivity of whales. In section two the orcas act out. And as the story progresses and orca attacks on trainers become increasingly violent, the warnings of Naomi Rose and other scientists fall on deaf ears, only to be realized with the death of Dawn Brancheau. Finally he covers the media backlash, the eyewitnesses who come forward to challenge SeaWorld’s glossy image, and the groundbreaking OSHA case that challenges the very idea of keeping killer whales in captivity and may spell the end of having trainers in the water with the ocean’s top predators.
Shamu (SeaWorld show)
Sad news out of Orlando this morning as another orca has died in captivity. Kalina has delivered four calves at SeaWorld parks. Images of his body being lifted from his pool brought shock and sadness to many. That is not a long life — not for a wild orca. Was it a happy or fulfilled life? SeaWorld officials have long rejected such notions, saying they provide top medical care, high-quality food and a stimulating environment for killer whales.
From the topic Life. SeaWorld has announced it is evolving its killer whale shows, which typically feature the orca Shamu, after activists repeatedly called them cruel. Shamu is actually a brand name, based on the original star of these shows, who performed 50 years ago. She died in but lent her name to the many orcas who would follow, in shows that have become controversial. Recently celebrities such as Harry Styles and Pamela Anderson have been campaigning against SeaWorld but in the past it wasn't frowned upon for them to pose with the orcas. Peter Graves starred in the television series Mission Impossible and posed with a subsequent Shamu in Kalina was the first orca to be successfully born and survive in captivity in
SeaWorld has taken its final steps in distancing itself from Shamu, and the accompanying legacy of animals in captivity; earlier this year, it was announced that the water-centric theme park has rebranded its last remaining Shamu-themed attraction. The change comes as part of a Sesame Street attraction currently being built in the Orlando park, while San Antonio has long had a Sesame Street theme in the area around the former Shamu Express. In fact, it has long been speculated that SeaWorld will soon become a Sesame Place entirely. Not only did they drop the Shamu moniker from the name of the venue, but also the focus of the show has shifted to be much more educational. Pressure has been on SeaWorld since the release of the documentary Blackfish , which focused on Tilikum, a captive orca who performed at SeaWorld Orlando.
Raising Awareness of the Captive Orca Industry
Shamu is the name used for several SeaWorld orca killer whale shows and is the stage name given to the "star" of those shows, beginning with the original Shamu in the late s and early s. The orca Shamu died in , but the name Shamu was trademarked by SeaWorld as well as the names " Namu " and "Ramu" and has been given to different orcas at different times when performing in Shamu shows. In March , SeaWorld announced they are ending their orca breeding programs making their current orcas, "the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld's care. The first "Baby Shamu" was named Kalina. She was the first surviving orca born in captivity on September 26, The stage name "Grandbaby Shamu" was given to Kalina's first calf, which was born on February 2, — a male named Keet.