Orca Behavior and Subsequent Aggression Associated with Oceanarium Confinement

Orca behaviors interacting with humans within apparent friendship bonds are reviewed, and some impediments to the human evaluation of delphinid intelligence are discussed. The subsequent involvement of these orcas and their offspring in aggressive incidents with humans is also documented and examined. This is particularly relevant given that the highest recorded rates of aggressive incidents have occurred among orcas who had previously established unstructured human friendship bonds prior to their inclusion within oceanaria performances. It is concluded that the confinement of orcas within aquaria, and their use in entertainment programs, is morally indefensible, given their high intelligence, complex behaviors, and the apparent adverse effects on orcas of such confinement and use.

This article has been written by Robert Anderson (Utah State University), Robyn Waayers (Palomar College) and Andrew Knight (University of Winchester & AWRN member). 

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