December 13, 2016:
Chinese company wants to capture orcas off Namibia:
Welwitschia Aquatic and Wildlife Scientific Research, a company which is registered in Namibia but owned by a Chinese businessman, has put in a request several months ago to export a large number of internationally listed vulnerable wild cetaceans, pinnipeds, sharks and African penguins, to Chinese aquariums. The Chinese have offered to pay the equivalent of about 22 million USD, labelling it as money that will be invested through funding of the project into the country. The horrifying proposal includes the capture of 10 orcas. Namibian and international NGOs are working to prevent this dangerous plan.
Update December 27th: Apparently the company has withdrawn from Namibia! It has to be seen whether they’ll try to capture animals somewhere else.
November 14, 2016:
More Russian orcas in China than previously thought:
There are now 15 orcas confirmed in China:
1) Chimelong Ocean Kingdom imported nine orcas from Russia, from 2013 to 2015. The Ministry of Agriculture confirmed this on 7 Dec 2015.
2) The Haichang Group imported four orcas from Russia for Shanghai Haichang Polar Ocean World, which is still under construction. These four orcas are being temporarily held in Dalian Laohutan Ocean Park, which belongs to the Haichang Group. From the environmental assessment notice for the temporary orca holding tank, the construction area of the holding tank is only 3000 square meters, including the space for the life support system and other equipment.
3) Linyi Polar Ocean Park, which is still under construction, has announced that two Russian orcas “will meet the public” on or around the next Spring Festival. Linyi is a large city in the mountainous part of Shandong Province, between Shanghai and Beijing.
Currently it is not known where the four additional orcas came from, whether they are the four listed in the Nakhodka facility or whether they are four additional (potentially illegally captured and traded) whales. But there is government confirmation that there are 15 whales in China, at these three facilities.
Source: Dr. Naomi Rose, Animal Welfare Institute
Note: for the time being I’ve treated those four additional orcas as new captures.
October 26, 2016:
More sad news from Russia:
There was a ZERO quota for catching orcas this year in Russia, partly due to the efforts of FEROP researchers, as well as our colleagues from the Russian Marine Mammal Council. But that didn’t stop the captors. We now have strong though unconfirmed rumours that 2 orcas have been captured last month in the western Okhotsk Sea. According to the story, these 2 orcas have been transported on the Amur River and then quickly shipped by road to China. Meanwhile, 4 orcas, of 7 captured in 2015, remain at Nakhodka. At least 2 orcas were also exported to China in December 2015.
Source: Russian Orca Project
August 24, 2016:
What seems obvious to every observer, has now been confirmed by a government body: that the ridiculously small tank at Miami Seaquarium, where Lolita is confined in, does not comply with official regulations.
In March 2016 Lyndsay Cole, the assistant director of legislative and public affairs for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), declared after triple-checking with experts that space requirements, specifically for Minimum Horizontal Dimension (MHD), are actually strictly measured without obstructions.
“The MHD is calculated for only those areas of the pool that are unobstructed and meet the depth requirements,” she said.
The Marine Mammal Commission (MMC), a government body that works with Congress to protect animals, has backed Cole’s words recently stating clearly that when it comes to tanks carrying orcas and other dolphins, measurements for minimum space requirements are to be unobstructed; otherwise, the agency says, the regulations are “rendered meaningless.”
Let’s hope that Lolita finally get’s her hard-earned chance to get of this hellhole and back to her native Pacific Northwest waters, where she belongs.
Source: Broward – Palm Beach New Times
August 24, 2016:
A young killer whale, nicknamed Tama Tiger (the previously used “Bob” was only used by one media outlet, and the people found that rather disrespectful), that had been taken into human care for rehabilitation after being discovered in a serious condition off a New Zealand harbour, has sadly passed away a couple of days after his rescue.
August 24, 2016:
Kasatka, the matriarch of SeaWorld San Diego pod, is ill. SeaWorld announced on their blog that she is currently being given both oral medication and a nebuliser. She is said be be suffering from both a respiratory and bacterial infection. They go on to say that it is also an illness that can not be cured, only managed, though it is not contagious to the other whales.
Source: Killer Whales in Captivity
July 20, 2016:
The Free Morgan Foundation has published a report by Dr. Ingrid Visser and Rosina Lisker about ongoing welfare concerns regarding Morgan and the other SeaWorld killer whales held at Loro Parque in Spain. Pretty horrific, especially the dental conditions of the poor animals.
Source: Free Morgan Foundation
April 27, 2016:
Video footage has emerged that shows a young killer whale, almost definitely Morgan, bashing repeatedly into the gate of a medical pool at Loro Parque. The Dutch government failed to protect this young orca and now she’s paying the price…
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Update: Excellent article on the situation by Sam Lipman from Ocean Advocate News
March 17, 2016:
SeaWorld has announced today that it will end all orca breeding programs and phase out killer whales in captivity. This is a major breakthrough that hopefully will have other facilities across the globe reconsider their own cetacean captivity programs. Incredible how the backlash from Blackfish has changed the world..
Source: Los Angeles Times
March 8, 2016:
Tilikum at SeaWorld Florida is seriously ill, according to a SeaWorld press release:
“We are saddened to report that over the past few weeks, Tilikum’s behaviour has become increasingly lethargic, and the SeaWorld veterinary and animal care teams are concerned that his health is beginning to deteriorate.
Our teams are treating him with care and medication for what we believe is a bacterial infection in his lungs. However, the suspected bacteria is very resistant to treatment and a cure for his illness has not been found.”
January 20, 2016:
A recent government reply to a Chinese NGO enquiry has revealed that there now a total of nine orcas kept at Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in China. It had already been speculated that two more killer whales captured off Russia in 2013 were transfered to China. Now it turns out that two of the 2015 captives have been moved to Chimelong. Also, the 2104 captive that had been thought to be at an unknown Chinese facility, is actually at Chimelong as well.