SAN JUAN ISLAND, WASHINGTON – It’s an image you often see on paintings and wood carvings – a giant totemic killer whale, with the images of sea creatures and faces artistically contained within the whale’s body.

The image tells the story of the Tlingit legend of the creation of the killer whale, which goes as follows: Natsilane was a charismatic and skilled wood carver who married the Chief’s daughter. Jealous of Natsilane’s popularity and talent, his brothers-in-law devised a plan to abandon Natsilane at sea during a traditional sea lion hunt. Left to die on a small rock in the middle of nowhere, Natsilane was summoned under the waves by a sea lion. The sea lion asked him to heal his son who was injured by a spear during the hunt. After pulling the spear point out, the Sea Lion Chief granted Natsilane great powers and helped him back to shore. Still angry about being abandoned, he began carving a great whale out of different types of wood. The first two carvings, when set in the water, simply floated away. But the third, made of yellow cedar, came to life. Natsilane sent it to exact revenge on his brothers-in-law. When the killer whale found them, he smashed their canoe and killed the brothers. But Natsilane felt badly about what he had done, and when the whale returned to him, he instructed it to never harm humans again.

The legend tries to explain something curious about orcas. They don’t attack people. The question is — why not? On a simple, biological scale they are bigger and stronger than we are, have sharper teeth, and they’re carnivores. Any similar creature might see humans as a tasty little snack, but not orcas.

Observation has shown that one answer may not be far from the ancient legend. Killer whales seem to follow rules that go beyond basic instinct and border on culture. Individual pods forage, communicate and navigate differently, much the way different cultures of people do. Researchers have witnessed “greeting ceremonies” between pods. They’ve even seen the equivalent of a funeral. It may very well be that within “orca culture” there is a social norm not to go after people.

A more scientific explanation might be that we’re simply not tasty enough to be included on the killer whales’ menu. Orcas, it turns out, have picky palates. The Southern Resident Killer Whales of Puget Sound dine on only the fattest Chinook salmon, even if it means allowing an entire school of skinnier salmon to swim by. Transient orcas, which have a broader diet, have shown similar selective behavior, in one case killing a gray whale but eating only its tongue.

A third possible reason is that we don’t resemble any food source killer whales typically depend on. There have reportedly been incidents where an orca attempted to hunt a human, but broke off the hunt immediately upon realizing it wasn’t a sea lion.

Okay, so we’ve established that killer whales are pretty darned smart — they have a culture with specific behaviors, a picky diet, and they know that we don’t taste very good. Still, humans pump toxins into their water, we bombard them with noise, and sometimes we kidnap their babies and put them in aquariums. Orcas have a pretty good reason to hate us, perhaps even enough to want to extract revenge, yet they don’t. The answer here might be friendship. There are many cases where nomadic killer whales have gravitated to humans, bonding with them and playing games. Trainers at places like Sea World say very little goes into orca training. The whales seem to understand people, and are eager to cooperate and create bonds.

In fact, the only apparent instances of orcas attacking people have happened at aquatic parks, where the whales have killed trainers. Many experts think these attacks are not malicious, rather a case of play getting out of hand. Howard Garrett of the Orca Network disagrees. He argues the attacks are deliberate, though not in cold blood. Cut off from their pods, confined in small concrete tanks, and hand fed instead of being allowed to hunt, Garrett thinks the pressures build causing the orcas to occasionally lash out.

Whether that’s the case or not, it’s clear that in the wild, orcas seem to have a pretty universal rule: don’t attack humans. The reason would appear to be both biological and cultural. Killer whales have been around about 11 million years. Compared to them, we are a relatively new species on the planet. Physically we’re no match for this apex predator, but they’ve apparently deemed us worthy of coexistence. We owe them the same.

At the very least, we can admire and respect these creatures, and be grateful to Natsilane for commanding the killer whale to follow the universal rule.

See the related Video, Science on the SPOT: Sound Waves – Listening to Orcas

  • http://beamreach.org Scott Veirs

    The artwork on Val and Leslie’s guesthouse wall is a depiction of the story of Natsiclane by artist Odin Lonning who is based on Vashon Island. You can see more of his great work at http://www.odinlonning.com/ as well as in the orca section of the Seattle Aquarium.

    • Jayden

      Stop spamming you f c k t a r d.


    i just wanted to prove to my my mom that orcas dont eat each other

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see how the author came to the conclusion that orcas don’t eat people out of a cultural convention. Yes, they’re intelligent and observe cultural customs (as MANY animals do), that doesn’t have anything to do with leaving humans alone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sabastious Alex Strait

    I would say that that there has been enough interaction between the species of the Orca and humanity for them learn the consequences of killing humans. Sure, maybe an Orca can kill a group of humans on a boat or easily best a single human, but the exchange is ultimately not worth it. Humans are smarter and have the capability to target and destroy entire species based on prejudice. Think of how a tribe would react if an Orca made a meal out of the chief’s daughter? Imo, the Orca intuitively know the risk vs reward of killing other humans and that’s why they don’t do it. Somehow that awareness got programmed into their genetics, maybe because of an ancient Orca/Human war which would have just been a slaughter in favor of the humans. Our brains cannot be matched, that’s why we are the dominant species on the planet. Don’t kill, or capture, our young, because there WILL be consequences.

    • John G

      That is an interesting theory and who knows there may be some truth to it. I mean think about it. There is strong evidence to suggest that mammoths are extinct because of man. The American lion is extinct and so is the Saber tooth cat. Most of these can easily kill a man, but no doubt because of our intelligence we were no doubt instrumental in their extinction.

      So maybe as you say there was a ‘war’ between these two ‘intelligent’ species, and maybe perhaps it was a draw. And the peace treaty commenced.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ravenbo39 Raven Bo

        Saber booth was very specialized so tooth will hamper killing a human.
        Also, I bet orca think of us as we think of rat. Could be eaten on survival, but not when they have way more then enough food to be picky.

        Other than that, they probably communicate over time that humans are generally not fat and tasty. Also they figure humans are no longer threat and very smart with technologies.

        • Clarke W. Griswald

          Good response real7777, that made the most sense to me.

      • lupusposse

        Intelligence is a rather poorly-defined term.

        The Orca brain, by the way, is over 5x the size of human; human brains in turn appear to have shrunk somewhat in the past 10,00 years. We know that orcas separated from their group for over 30 years grow excited in unique ways when hearing recordings of their relatives. We also know that dolphins invent games, even when starved and imprisoned in human exhibits. They grow bored and in the case of human fatalities, have a limit on how much mistreatment they will tolerate.
        The largest-brained land mammal is the elephant. Another highly social predator is the Humpback whale, with a brain about Orca-sized.
        The world’s largest brain is the Sperm Whale, and we know extremely little about what it does with it, having only, like ticks or other ectoparasites, used a larger species with bigger brain for human consumption.

        Large brains, aside from their relationship to body mass, may be greatly involved with social coalition, complexity of symbolic communication, and other variables in mammals.

        Humans have evolved a complex manipulative ability, which is by no means equaled in cognitive skill. There are other human traits at odds with a definitive assessment of intelligence. Our symbolic communication has the defect of allowing deception, and this may be why our brain is enlarged in certain ways. If deception and the ability to detect it within our species is intelligence, it might be considered that that is a woefully limited description of the concept.

        Intelligence might be usefully defined as an organism’s fitness within its niche or habitat. Since both large-brained organisms like humans, and smaller brains as cockroach (a surprisingly intelligent and responsive social animal, having found commensal skills, and so not itself needing to modify habitats, as its best partisan does the work) are successful, any arrogation of intelligence to one’s own species could be shown to be in error.

        • batvette

          This is a prime example of appearing to post something intelligent that really says nothing of substance at all. Congratulations.

      • batvette

        Since we’re not in competition with the Orca for habitat as we would be with a land based carnivore I don’t see the relevance.

    • Claudia Peters

      Humans are smarter??
      CAPTAIN PAUL WATSON: Well I think that intelligence can be defined in many ways. I happen to believe that intelligence is best to find by the ability to live in harmony with the natural world, to live within the context of the basic laws of ecology, and by that criteria human beings are not that intelligent.

      • batvette

        Yeah I’m sure those attributes apply to the Orca which is known to consume an average of 800 marine mammals per year.

    • Jayden

      Yet practically every other animal we have encountered (including domesticated ones) have taken a chance by decimating several human beings. Great Whites, Tiger Sharks, Bull Sharks, Elephants, Lions, Tigers, Pit Bulls. All of them don’t have the genetic intuition of the Orcas, according to you. stfu if you have absolutely no idea what you are typing about.

      • batvette

        None of the species you mention have the sense of community, the intelligence, the ability to learn and communicate, of Orcas.

  • Hawaii Dave

    If Orca’s are that smart, they might have figured out that we are slaughterers of anything we choose to annihilate. I also think we are not their normal food. Unless they have special powers of telepathy, most Orcas never cross paths, and it would be difficult to tell each other to stay smart, stay safe, and leave those crazy humans alone. So it is probably a combination of several things.

  • http://twitter.com/joey89924 joey

    it would be difficult to tell each other to stay smart..

  • Barbara

    It certainly isn’t because they found us worthy of coexistence, they have no trouble killing their cousins, the dolphins.

  • http://www.facebook.com/howard.garrett1 Howard Garrett

    Orcas don’t seem to act according to hard-wired instinct, but rather according to traditions transmitted over the generations. One of those traditions that is apparently universal among all orcas is that humans should not be attacked or eaten. For contrast, sharks kill 4.4 humans per year worldwide according to news media, so sharks, acting out of instinct, make no distinction between humans and marine mammals or fish. Orcas are generally very specific about what they will eat, depending on their community’s dietary traditions.

    • NotAnymore

      That’s not true. Humans kill MILLIONS of sharks each year. The only reason why 4.4 humans are killed by them is that surf tables resemble the form of usual sharks preys.

  • Peter Limburg

    There was a case some years ago of two orcas deliberately smashing and sinking a sailing yacht in the Pacific, although they did not attack the humans on board. One of the survivors wrote a book about it.

    • Jayden

      Very dubious claim, at best. The invading “pack” of 20 or more orca, compared to the normal pod wihich contains a handful of cetapods, only exists in their imagination.

  • Prepper

    I knew this was going to turn into another whacko environmental TREEHUMPER article!

  • Tango&Cash

    I’d say it’s because they are smart and realize we’re even smarter. They’ve seen the boats, the fishermen. They recognize us from their travels at sea. They see us as a danger as do most animals because they’ve seen how effectively humans hunt much larger animals.They also see us as a source of food. We chum the ocean in search of fish. That draws their prey to a centralized area. They can use us to hunt their prey because they know we can find the fish.

    • batvette

      Perfectly logical argument but I think it only applies to humans on boats- and see my comments above about humans in scuba gear and wetsuits.
      IMO if humans were ever to take to the relatively cold waters orcas call their home while naked, without boats nearby- the status quo shifts drastically as they communicate with each other about the safe new cuisine.

      • Clarke W. Griswald

        Orcas don’t only exist in alaska, there are orcas right here, by me on long island. The water isn’t tropical, but people have swam in it, since before the existance of a wetsuit. Or as not only don’t attack us, they interact with us, like dolphins do, beacause they ARE friggin’ dolphins.

        • batvette

          People can swim off long island but only do so in summer when most marine mammals migrate north. Most of the year if you are sent overboard in those waters you will quickly die from exposure. You’re just wrong.
          As for that dolphin thing yeah right. Dolphins are also orca lunch.
          The irrefutable fact remains that in areas where orcas are most commonly found, humans who regularly spend long periods of time in the water, do so in wetsuits.
          I invite you to produce a video of a Sea World trainer interacting with an orca in water without a wetsuit. There is your proof.

  • Jill of NY

    Humans don’t live in the Ocean, so were not on the Menu.

    • Michelle Lloyd

      tell that to just about everything else in the sea lol

    • batvette

      Orcas are well known to eat deer.

      • Jayden

        They are not “well known” to eat deer, this was an exception to the norm when they attacked a migrating moose or dear. Do some research before you spew your nonsense to the world wide webz.

        • batvette

          The events are well documented, and thus “well known”, and keep your childish remarks to yourself.
          Since moose and deer rarely come within the reach of Orcas, it could be called RARE, but that is hardly attributed to any choice by the Orca, but that Orca-deer/moose interaction is rare.

          • Lance Johnson

            The answer is pretty simple and everyone keeps nuking it. Every culture of Orca has established it’s own way of life to ensure that they never go hungry. An Orca that is on the verge of starvation is a very rare occasion. Humans are rarely seen amongst them. If they had to choose between eating something they are familiar with or some weird thing, would they choose the weird thing? Would you eat some random thing you never seen before out in the wild or would you eat an apple? You can’t dictate an entire species based off the actions of one Orca so that deer incident is really irrelevant and that goes the same for humans.

          • batvette

            what’s irrelevant is asking me about about what I would or wouldn’t eat in the wild and applying human thought processes to orcas. even if we try this analogy it plain fails, how did the first human who ate an apple know it wasn’t poisonous? How did people find foods were poisonous? BECAUSE SOMEONE ATE THEM. However I do find your theory about orca social programs to be high comedy, one of the more amusing leftist things I’ve heard in awhile. Thanks for that.

          • Blind

            If we were to use such arguments as well as a few you have used before about sharks, I can point you to Greenland sharks which also have no known attacks upon human beings, granted they are in wetsuits, but as you said “sharks have not been shown to have learning capacity, live in communities, or communicate what they learn with others” therefore being just another dumb shark known to eat seals, surely the ones who have interacted closely with such large predatory animals would have been “attacked” immediately.

  • Diana G

    Yeah I agree we don’t live in the ocean, that probably has something to do with it. Can you imagine a Lion eating Jelly Fish or Squid if it showed up in its territory? We are probably just as weird to them. Check out the site Psychicsbyphone.com if you have time.

  • Live_Love_Teach

    Ethan, This is a nicely well written article of the Tilingit history of Orcas. Thank you for sharing it. Such an interesting perspective. I will probably share it with my students this year, when we do a unit on global perspectives.
    I don’t know if your article was at all related, but the documentary film Blackfish (about whales in captivity) was just released. Looks thought-provoking and certainly speaks to some of the points folks have made about whales in animal parks.

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  • Counterculturalist

    If orcas had thumbs and walked on land we would definitely be screwed :(

    • josh

      no, theyd be screwed.

      • Counterculturalist


        • TheEvilGenius

          Humans are the most successful animals on land because no species is better at slaughtering the competition.

  • darwinski

    How about the kid eaten on youtube June 9th 2013.Looks pretty freakin’ real to me!

  • batvette

    It seems the conclusions here were reached more on ideology than science, specifically:

    ” It may very well be that within “orca culture” there is a social norm not to go after people.”

    Sounds like someone has been to the Timothy Treadwell school of animal research.

    It is logical to assume we aren’t as tasty as a sea lion pup or salmon. I think currently it has as much to do with this as anything- the latitudes orcas call their habitat have water that’s cold enough that no humans enter the water without wetsuits or similar gear. Neoprene not only tastes awful, it has a pungent smell. A wetsuit in an orca’s digestive system probably makes him sick or could even be fatal. Especially with other scuba gear. Since we know they communicate and learn, the few orcas unfortunate enough to try and dine on a wetsuit wearing human probably passed the word that that seal in the neoprene wrapper wasn’t good eating.

    • arthgar

      we can test this idea. If orcas are able to eat/kill a great ape, then we have a problem; Can an orca see the diference between an ape and a man?

      • batvette

        If both display the same physical characteristics in the water, possibly not, at a distance.

    • Jayden

      Transient Orcas hunt in areas where the water is warm enough so that humans do not need wetsuits in order to get in the water. Taste has nothing to do with our relationship with Orcas. Sharks have attacked neoprened divers consistently since neoprene was introduced to the ocean. Bottom line is that Orcas have never attacked human beings in the wild.

      • batvette

        “Transient Orcas hunt in areas where the water is warm enough so that humans do not need wetsuits in order to get in the water.”

        Humans can “get in the water” in such latitudes but I maintain that humans who prolifically spend time in the ocean for extended periods of time where Orcas dwell most commonly do so wearing a wetsuit. Arguing against this point is like saying humans would embrace eating all mushrooms without hesitation just because some of them did not make them ill.

        Regardless we can see as rebuttal to your point that every trainer at every Sea World in every video available is in fact wearing a WETSUIT.

        “Sharks have attacked neoprened divers consistently since neoprene was introduced to the ocean.”

        Wholly irrelevant since sharks have not been shown to have learning capacity, live in communities, or communicate what they learn with others. The reality is that neoprene tastes like crap and would sicken or even kill an Orca who ingested a human covered in it.

        You can’t possibly argue against that.

        Orcas can learn from their experiences and communicate this to others.

        You can’t possibly argue against that.

        Thus it is entirely plausible that it has become known in Orca communities that humans are not edible and ingesting them can sicken or kill them, (which is a fact) possibly by the experience of Orcas ingesting humans in statistically insignificant and obscure events.

        In contrast there is no other rational argument why Orcas do not eat humans when they consume marine mammals prolifically.

        “Bottom line is that Orcas have never attacked human beings in the wild.”

        That is hardly an established fact.

        • Jason

          Alright, I can agree that most of the interaction between Orcas and human beings occurred while we were in wetsuits. Mushroom analogy, way off. But let’s continue.

          “Regardless we can see as rebuttal to your point that every trainer at every Sea World in every video available is in fact wearing a WETSUIT.”

          That has absolutely nothing to do with this discussion, nonetheless serve as a rebuttal, as we are not talking about captive Orcas.

          “Wholly irrelevant since sharks have not been shown to have learning capacity, live in communities, or communicate what they learn with others.The reality is that neoprene tastes like crap and would sicken or even kill an Orca who ingested a human covered in it. You can’t possibly argue against that. Orcas can learn from their experiences and communicate this to others”

          Yes, Orcas have learning capacity, live in pods, and have been observed passing on specific hunting techniques to their offspring. Nobody can state with certainty that neoprene sickens or kills marine animals, nor that the taste of it is what keeps them from attacking us when we encounter them. That is pure conjecture with no scientific backing. People do not usually go swimming alone far out in the ocean. If your theory about neoprene had any merit, their would be documented cases where divers were attacked. There are none. You can’t possibly argue against that.

          “Thus it is entirely plausible that it has become known in Orca communities that humans are not edible and ingesting them can sicken or kill them, (which is a fact) possibly by the experience of Orcas ingesting humans in statistically insignificant and obscure events. In contrast there is no other rational argument why Orcas do not eat humans when they consume marine mammals prolifically.”

          Possible, but very unlikely. As i mentioned above, there would be some documented cases of neoprene equipped divers being attacked, then we would see the normal pattern where they do not attack us as a result of these initial attacks. Even if these initial attacks did occur, (which factually have not), it is a far stretch to say the least for someone to extrapolate that a handful of attacks caused Orcas as a species to avoid attacking humans. There are other rational explanations as to why Orcas do not attack humans. One being that almost all animals, marine or terrestrial, have a preference as to what type of prey they pursue.

          ” “Bottom line is that Orcas have never attacked human beings in the wild.” That is hardly an established fact. ”

          It is established, the only possibility of an attack in the wild was when Hans Kretschmer reported being attacked by an Orca while surfing. This could be a case of misidentifying the perpetrator. So humans have had hundreds, if not thousands of interactions in the wild wit Orcas, with the result being one reported case of attack. If you do some more research on wild Orcas, you will know this to be true.

          • batvette

            “That has absolutely nothing to do with this discussion, nonetheless serve as a rebuttal, as we are not talking about captive Orcas.”

            The relevance is that Sea World keeps tanks at a temperature comfortable for orcas, and that temperature is cold enough for humans to need wetsuits. Thus negating all this BS about humans occupying orca waters without wetsuits.

            “Nobody can state with certainty that neoprene sickens or kills marine animals, nor that the taste of it is what keeps them from attacking us when we encounter them.”

            This is evidence you are the kind of person who will say anything, no matter how patronizingly wrong, to support your opinion. What kind of stupidity possesses you to believe a neoprene wetsuit and other assorted scuba gear like masks, fins, hoses, and metal tanks, are things that orcas can digest without harm or would eat by choice?

            I can’t carry on a discussion with someone who would insult my intelligence by believing I’d accept this argument and if you believe it yourself you have a screw loose.

      • 82ATW

        It’s not true that Orcas have never attacked humans in the wild. It’s extremely rare but it’s happened. Aside from the fact that we’re not fat aquatic creatures that they would recognize as food, Orcas almost never encounter people swimming in deep water in the ocean, so the kind of contact that would generate attacks is rare.

    • chad

      major! major flaw in your argument. Your entire hypothesis is dependent upon the fact that a few orca’s have tried eating men in wet suits. Ignoring the fact that the entire worlds orca population wouldn’t receive this news from just a few incidents with a few orca’s (they are social animals, but they aren’t THAT social..geez). There are zero recorded incidents of divers being killed by orca’s, much less eaten by them.

      You have a nice thought, but ultimately it has no basis.

      • batvette

        What makes you think an orca must eat a man in a wetsuit and scuba gear to recognize that wetsuits, tanks, fins, etc, are inedible? How many people eat the wrappers their food comes in to find out you don’t eat the wrapper?
        Isn’t it true that a human clad in such inorganic equipment would act and smell in a manner quite unlike anything the orca normally dines upon?
        And quite unlike a naked human as well?
        So why would you speculate the choice to not eat him is because he is human, and not because he is inedible?

        • chad

          you said it, not me. I was just showing how baseless your original comment was.

          “Since we know they communicate and learn, the few orcas unfortunate
          enough to try and dine on a wetsuit wearing human probably passed the
          word that that seal in the neoprene wrapper wasn’t good eating.”

          your original comment is still baseless. Nice attempt at saving face though

          • Jay


          • batvette

            Theres nothing baseless at all about it.
            You’re dodging the main point anyway which is the obvious reason orcas won’t consume humans is because they virtually never encounter us in the wild without some kind of inedible, often toxic wrapper covering us.
            There is no logic supporting some “peaceful coexistence” belief.
            The issue you claim is baseless is supported by the fact orcas communicate.

          • 82ATW

            Not to mention they almost never encounter a human swimming in deep water at all.

          • The Mynxie One

            Why don’t you go swimming with them in the wild without a wet suit or scuba gear (totally naked). Then come back and tell us if they liked the way you taste? They are smarter than that hon.

          • Brian Doherty

            There is no logic supporting the idea that the only reason Orcas dont eat humans is because they “virtually never encounter us in the wild without some kind of inedible, often toxic wrapper covering us”. There is plenty of supporting evidence of the peaceful coexistence belief. Absolutely NO evidence of your idea that they dont eat humans because of scuba gear or wetsuits.

        • http://controversialmarketing.blogspot.com Sam Freedom

          Island fishermen didn’t wear all that crap and used to dive and swim with orca. No stories of them being eaten there, either.

      • Todd K Autman

        The real reason Orcas might not dine on humans is that humans like Orcas are feared in the wild, They are social animals and no doubt know that humans have killed their kind many times before, Also scientist believe that Scuba gear absorbs sound…thus when they use their Sonar on us and get no sound bouncinng back it might even make them think of us a Alien or Uncanny…You don’t eat uncanny things because you don’t know what it can do to you. Also humans are just as nasty and ruthless and species and just as social a specie as Orcas… Humans evolved the feeling of sadness of loss…this is to make humans seek revenge for their fallen friends an family…thus when a animal such as a orca kills a human..they likely expect nasty retaliation… Orcas do the same actually. When humans are attacked even by creatures in the wild oceans we do our best and usually find the culprit and then kill the culprit…the reason why is so that these animals don’t think that hunting humans is a good idea and wont repeat their actions..nor would they have children who they would train to do the same. Humans like Orcas have a heartless yet smart way of insuring their dominance over other species. Orcas rather not waist the energy.

    • slpsa

      You know, i havent read this place for two years almost. I come back, i look around. I read all your posts. Id say this. You know everything about everything, i figure you like to argue with everyone. Our little 9/11 exchanges about say it all. Your a troll, who knows about every subject on the planet, and then you insult, and talk down to people who actually know about those subjects. This one is no different, now its Orcas your an expert on. Not 9/11 today. Awesome, your a treat to read.

    • Brian Doherty

      I think you are over looking the fact that Orcas NOWHERE have attacked and eaten humans that we know of throughout history. The few recorded instances of “accidental” attack have resulted in the Orca moving on and leaving the human alone. Why is that? From Hawaii to Alaska no one has been eaten. I dont think the surfer in Hawaii had a wet suit on either. The mistake is assuming they are just dumb animals. Research is ongoing and the question will eventually be answered definitively but there is no harm until then in theorizing. Humans are intelligent and we dont eat every animal we come accross.

      • batvette

        That surfer wasn’t naked we can be sure of that. So what is your point anyway? Surely it is to imply that the reason orcas do not have a history of commonly attacking humans because they are intelligent compassionate creatures who respect humans thus we should give them the same consideration. Whether that’s your position or not I call BS on that and say it’s because we taste like **** to them and can even sicken or kill them clad in the right attire and those who didn’t find out firsthand were told by others.
        Since they are documented as dining on virtually every mammal they can get their mouth around including deer and moose there should be little expectation of a kind or gentle nature.

        • Brian Doherty

          How the f*&k would you know if we tasted like anything to an Orca? You don’t want to take the FACT that people have never been reported eaten by a killer whale into consideration but are quick to assume because Orca’s have eaten every other mammal that we shouldn’t have an expectation that they wont eat us? Makes no sense considering they have not eaten humans. And I doubt we can sicken and kill them lol. First of all, wetsuits are a modern invention and a 100 years ago when Orcas WEREN’T eating us, there was no risk of getting sick. Not to mention they can easily tear the offending garments from a body if they wanted to.

          • batvette

            Thats the stupidest **** I have ever heard. Before wetsuits we didnt swim in cold water.
            And how does an orca get a wetsuit off a person? Why would he even go to the trouble? Neoprene tastes like crap. Get over it.

          • McGuinty-Wynne Turbines

            You flap your flippers like a flippin’ seal. Were you trained at SeaWorld? Here’s another sardine for you, now jump up and touch the ball with your nose.

          • McGuinty-Wynne Turbines

            You flap your flippers like a flippin’ seal. Were you trained at SeaWorld? Here’s another sardine for you, now jump up and touch the ball with your nose.

          • McGuinty-Wynne Turbines

            You flap your flippers like a flippin’ seal. Were you trained at SeaWorld? Here’s another sardine for you, now jump up and touch the ball with your nose.

        • McGuinty-Wynne Turbines

          You flap your flippers like a flippin’ seal. Were you trained at SeaWorld? Here’s another sardine for you, now jump up and touch the ball with your nose.

        • McGuinty-Wynne Turbines

          You flap your flippers like a flippin’ seal. Were you trained at SeaWorld? Here’s another sardine for you, now jump up and touch the ball with your nose.

        • McGuinty-Wynne Turbines

          Yes. Hey…
          You flap your flippers like a flippin’ seal. Were you trained at SeaWorld? Here’s another sardine for you, now jump up and touch the ball with your nose.

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  • http://controversialmarketing.blogspot.com Sam Freedom

    I’ll tell you why Orca don’t attack humans…

    Imagine, if 10,000 years into the future, some humans remain humants, while others evolve into species that fly and live in the upper atmosphere. However, they develop external means to fly down here into our heavier atmosphere and look around… perhaps we could shoot them, capture them and eat them with our technology but would you really want to eat something emotive and sentient that evolved from you? No, you’d feel some kind of kinship to it even if the means of direct communication was a little muddled. You’d probably be more likely to try to understand one other.

    • Chris Fields

      Evolution is a lie, have a nice day

      • Ferlonda


        • Chris Fields

          And victimless crimes can not exist in a free society. Blowing your mind one piece at a time…. Laugh now, think later

          • Ferlonda

            You didn’t blow my mind, you made me laugh with “evolution is a lie.” Thanks, though- I always enjoy a good laugh.

          • Chris Fields

            No problem, happy to help… It is a lie but ignorance is rampant these days… It’s trendy to believe anything people that are smarter than normal people say and downright hilarious when people contradict those beliefs…. So take solace in the fact that your “normal “

          • Ferlonda

            Not even remotely normal here. You’re welcome to believe evolution is a lie. I’ll just walk away…

          • Tony

            That’s probably the best choice you made if you refuse to hear the truth.

          • Ferlonda

            Your truth is not mine.

          • Tony

            Obviously. You try to justify evolution when there is no scientific evidence that shows one species has ever evolved into a different species. There is evidence of “microevolution”… also known as variation or adaptation. Similar to a bird’s beak becoming longer or shorter over time. The fact is they did not evolve into a different species… they are still the same bird with a variation.

          • Ferlonda

            Where did birds come from?

          • Tony

            That’s a great question. Before I respond… should I use your truth or my truth?

          • Ferlonda

            Since you are only ever capable of knowing your own truth why don’t you start with that?

          • Tony

            Before I do, I feel led to ask something. Do you believe that all people are limited to knowing only one so-called ‘truth’? In other words, can people know what they believe is the truth yet still have knowledge of what others believe to be “their truth”? I only ask because I was not sure if your statement was implying that I was incapable of knowing the details of what other people believe to be the truth or if your statement was a general statement.

            Also, you really do not know where birds came from? Don’t you have your own truth about that?

          • Ferlonda

            I can no more know your truth than you can know mine. But our personal truths (from experience in our lives) is neither the only truth nor a universal truth. We may learn what another person thinks is their truth but we will never know it completely- thinking and knowing are not the same.

            I am asking you to tell me where YOU think birds come from if you don’t think evolution created them. Either give me an answer or don’t but that is my question.

          • Tony

            To answer your question about where I believe birds come from. It’s a very simple answer. God created them… just like He created every other living thing including man.

          • Ferlonda

            Well, dang. I was hoping to learn something I didn’t already know. Creator creating us and everything does not mean, however, that evolution isn’t real.

          • Tony

            Do you believe we were created by a Creator or that evolved into what we are today?

          • Ferlonda

            Both. They are not in the least mutually exclusive. Do you think Creator is limited in any way? I surely don’t nor do I think it is possible to know “god’s” mind and plans. A leaf, a stone, a bird, the wind, all have more knowledge of the Divine than any human. We think we are separate from Creator and yet we are in the palm of Creator’s hand from the beginning of time until the end of time- and beyond time. There is no separation and your idea that Creator and evolution must be mutually exclusive is just not possible.

          • Brian Doherty

            Which God? LOL there are thousands of them. Funny how you demand proof of evolution then ignore it when presented but don’t have the same requirement for God or the bible. Just blind faith that a religion started by ignorant desert nomads is right.

          • Tony

            There is only true God… I would look at proof if it were presented. But there is no proof of actual evolution where one species change to another species. There is evidence of adaption which some people mistakenly consider evolution. But the two are truly not the same. I answered his question… so why don’t you answer it Brian. Where do YOU think birds come from?

          • Brian Doherty

            Birds come from dinosaurs http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC214.html and contrary to the lies of Creationists trying desperately to justify their illogical and unsubstantiated belief in their “One true God” (LOL) we have plenty of transitional fossils that show how life changes from one form to another over millions of years. Instead of focusing on science which is an ongoing process, I say apply your skepticism to your religion. Jesus didn’t exist. Not one bit of historical evidence from any of the other historians alive during the time he supposedly lived. All “evidence” comes from church sources and some of these Church sources forged and faked some of the writings of people like Josephus (who was not even born till after Jesus supposedly died). Jesus was actually made up and based on Mithria. Look it up, I dare you.

          • Mr Poitier

            Use common sense for a change you phucking jerk off

          • The Mynxie One

            Since Science proves evolution is real and has the evidence and data to back it up, I’d say your logic is flawed. In fact, a scientist has followed very closely a type of bird over a period of about 7 years, and has seen evolution take place within that species in that short time. As soon as I can remember who he was and what bird I will come back and post it here.

          • Chris Fields

            Except that you’re incorrect… Changes observed within a species is the supposed evidence for evolution… Example… Some of my offspring may be taller or shorter, bigger, smaller down through the generations and that’s observable… But they will always be human… You see tall parents giving birth to short kids… You see y’all kids coming from long lines of short people…. It’s like Darwin’s finch… Their breaks get longer in certain period and then they get sorry again….. This is adaptation and not evolution. No changes from one species to another have been observed and in fact the observed evidence strongly supports that it does not occur… I’ve went rounds with other biologists with degrees numerous times

          • Chris Fields

            Lol… You’re referring to the so called Darwin’s finch… Yes their beaks get longer… They also get shorter… This isn’t evidence of evolution, it’s evidence against evolution… None of the changes observed are permanent which would be required for evolution… This is evidence of how a species survives in its environment and this ability is necessary for a species to survive at all in a changing environment…. Look at the insects taped in amber for hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of years….. They’re the same insects alive today… Simply looking at them and you know what they are… They look exactly the same in many cases and with only small changes in other cases but still obviously the same insect

      • Roger Fedoraer

        jesus is a bigger lie

        • Chris Fields

          Ironic, since you’re a figment of his imagination

        • Bob Shuttleworth

          No, there is enough anecdotal information to allow that a Man named “Jesus” lived at the appropriate time a was a teacher of a new form of religion. Some called him a prophet, some the “Son Of God”. Whether you choose to believe in his divinity is up to you. But the odds are that Jesus, a man, did exist.

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  • Kat hollywood

    why can’t people just leave them alone? people are selfish, unintelligent, us less morons. The ones that hold orcas captive. You can’t be mote dumb than that. How can these trainers be proud? and the people that go to the shows shame on you too. if they respected or as, they would leave them alone. but we have idiots that mean nothing to me since the beginning of man. man is a useless, selfish breed. what goes around comes around.

  • Kat hollywood

    oh, also, same thing Jesus said, man’s opinions mean nothing to him. I agree!

  • Katherine Franke

    An interesting read. Thank you! While I would like to believe that there is some kind of unspoken natural friendship between us and orcas, I figure it probably has more to do with their selective tastes. Also, I think someone mentioned this below, but I believe it is possible that sometimes orcas are just as curious about us as we are about them. We are foreign creatures to them. Who knows? Maybe they’re trying to study us XD I’m sure there ARE some undocumented cases of orcas going after humans at sea, but clearly such encounters are so rare that they happen every…what, thousand years or so? That was totally a B.S. number, but at any rate, I have always found it fascinating that one of the world’s most badass aquatic predators seems to have no desire to kill humans. I would love to learn more about this, if I can.

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  • Guuueeeesssst :D

    27 So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

    28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

    Genesis 27 & 28
    Killer whales don’t eat us because God didn’t create them to ^u^

    • Ataxic

      Then why do some animals have no problem attacking us?

    • piememe

      @guest.. yeah explain that smart guy.. crocodiles and big cats like to attack humans.. but we usually find them and kill them because after they kill a human they get a taste for them

  • http://controversialmarketing.blogspot.com/ Sam Freedom

    Ok, I’m gonna do you all a favor and give you some really good reasoning here….
    Everything the Orca eats, it has, at one point or another, seen it in all its stages from infancy to adult. It never sees human babies, humans giving birth, humans acting like prey trying to “get away fast”.
    So, the human doesn’t display any of the behavior or life/social activity of an ocean dwelling creature, therefore, we are more a source of fascination and curiousity.

    • piememe

      that isn’t true.. haven’t killer whales saved humans from sharks? also dolphins to

      • corners

        Learn2Read Piememe

      • Bob Shuttleworth

        Dolphins have – Don’t remember any real cases of Orcas doing this. However = Most sharks are known to avoid waters where Orcas, or Dolphins are present.

  • http://controversialmarketing.blogspot.com/ Sam Freedom

    plus, they have followed humans (and legend has it teamed up with them) to hunt whales so they know humans aren’t prey but predators.

    • John Buck

      Very intelligent point sir. Quite important, in the animal world the difference between predator and prey is important. So is size.

  • Steve

    Sharks dont want to eat us either, but are not as smart as the orca and will take testing bites which kill some. There are not many animals which hunt humans. Mostly cats, and everyone knows they are assholes.

    • corners

      Cats and pissed off animals. Id toss in injured and starving bears hunt humans, sometimes wolves.

      • Mikki Maner

        It doesn’t take starvation and injury to provoke a bear attack. Sometimes it will just click in their minds that we are prey, and then we’re fucked. Just ask that one guy who tried to make the documentary about bears. He spent a lot of time being up close and personal with a particular family of bears. He practically lived with them. Everything was all hunky-dory, and then one early morning – bam – bear food.

        • corners

          hey , i get it. Generally animals leave you alone if you leave them a lone. Bears are just moody creatures, like humans. Except they can cut/chew you up pretty good fi they are having a mood swing.

        • Rene

          If you’re referring to Grizzly Man (Timothy Treadwell, Grizzly Man is the name of the documentary, made by Werner Herzog), he did get eaten by a hungry old bear. After they killed the bear it was found he was in bad shape physically and had missing and rotten teeth, which would have caused him to starve. Ironically, he even pointed out the bear and his age/physical condition in an earlier video, and mentioned that it is these bears that pose the greatest threats to humans.

          I think you’re definitely right about the fact that for bears, sometimes it just ‘clicks’ and they see us as prey (it’s very rare and when this happens it appears it’s mostly young male black bears), but if the example is Grizzly Man it doesn’t fit!

          • Mikki Maner

            My example was a guy who was eaten to death by a bear though…

          • Rene

            I know, but that isn’t the point. People were arguing that bears don’t ‘just’ eat people, and you and I agree that this is not universally true. Your example, however, fits their theory very well because the bear in question was old and malnourished, so he didn’t ‘just’ decide the guy was food, he was essentially starving and out of options. I thought you might want to know that, especially since there are good examples of healthy young black bears ‘just’ deciding people are food, and probably of other bears as well. It’s rare, but it does happen.

          • Mikki Maner

            Yea. Then you get crazies from California who hand feed wild bears to the pints where they are no longer just curious about humans but will straight up approach them (for snacks), but when the wrong bear approaches the wrong human one of them is bound to get hurt.

          • Mermaid Warrior

            Another thing: sometimes animals kill for reasons other than food. Just because an animal attacks a human without eating, doesn’t mean the animal attack for no reason. Some animals are territorial. Sometimes an animal will interpret a human action as threatening.

            Orcas don’t eat people. None of the people who got killed by captive orcas were eaten. It’s not a food thing.

    • nat365

      The only two animals that *actively* hunt humans on a regular basis (i.e. – man eating individuals are not ‘outliers’ known for the behaviour, as in big cats) are Polar Bears and crocodiles (specifically the Nile Crocodile and the Saltwater Crocodile).
      All three will hunt any human being in their territory, the same as they would any other ‘prey’ animal.
      There are some who would also put the Oceanic Whitetip shark in that category, since, being ‘desert sharks’ which swim the barren waters of the open ocean and eat anything they come across, they’ll take out human beings from plane crashes and shipwrecks without hesitation (some shark experts believe they are responsible for more deaths than any other shark, including Great Whites – but because they occur in the open ocean they simply aren’t often recorded).

      In all other cases, man-eating behaviour can be put down to one or more of several causes: accidents, fear-based attacks, desperation (i.e. if the animal is ill or starving), an acquired habit (an animal that frequently comes across dead bodies, for example [as in the Ganges] may start to eat live ones), acclimatisation (humans moving into the animal’s territory, or feeding that animal until it loses its fear of humanity), or a single individual that hunts humans because it is elderly, injured, or otherwise incapable of catching other prey (very large crocodiles are the ones that tend to be man-eaters on a more regular basis because their size slows them down too much to catch more agile prey).

      It’s fascinating, really, how we should be on the menu for so many more animals than we actually are. Most would rather avoid us altogether, if given the option to do so.

  • Shirodx

    We all know that they are intelligent and can form bonds with humans.
    I’d go as far to say that not only do they find us strange, (Besides, who would want to eat something that your not familiar with,) they actually recognize that humans are on a level of intelligence comparable, (Some would say more;) to their own.
    Think about it, if you suddenly from time to time came across strange beings that you don’t eat, doing strange things, using strange things to do strange things, would your first instinct be to eat that strange being.
    We all know that they have enough intelligence to overcome their instincts. They just don’t view us as a food source.

    • corners

      i agree. They probably wonder why we dont flee when near them. (its because we didnt know they were there)

    • Bob Shuttleworth

      Also keep in mind that the “humans” are feeding and caring for them. Most animals understand that type of kindness, which is why wolves are now dogs.

  • JohnC

    This is nonsense. Carnivorous wild animals will kill and eat people whenever they can. Humans are not exempt from the food chain. The only reason that many large predators do not eat people is because they prefer other food. Just like we could eat horses but prefer cattle (unless you are Italian, and making salami). Orcas may be intelligent, but intelligence does not mean that they choose not to eat another intelligent species.

    • Brian Doherty

      Whats ridiculous is that you must have not read the article or failed to comprehend the parts in it that give examples of Orcas having the opportunity to kill and eat a humans and NOT doing so. You said “Carnivorous wild animals will kill and eat people whenever they can” which is clearly not the case with Orcas. This also contradicts the rest of your post where you say they choose not to eat humans. So which is it?

      • JohnC

        It is nice to see those without logical arguments resorting to arguments ad hominem.
        There is no contradiction at all in my post.
        I did read the original article, though it appears that you did not read my post properly. I wrote that “carnivorous wild animals will kill and eat people whenever they can”. I did not write “orcas will kill and eat people when they can”.
        In future, before responding to another persons post, particular with a rude and abusive response, please read the original post properly.

        • Brian Doherty

          In the future look up the definition of carnivore before you use it. A killer whale IS a carnivore. Also, learn what an Ad Hominem attack is before you try to use it (incorrectly in this case) when you try to deflect from the inconsistencies in your original post. Finally, if calling you out or asking questions about something you posted is considered rude, maybe you should get rid of the internet so as not to be easily offended lol

          • Graphology

            LMFAOOOOOO Hold on, let me call the fire department, @JohnC here is being grilled too hard out here.

        • James Cooze

          No contradiction? So rather than contradict yourself, you were just blathering irrelevancies? The article clearly states how “picky” the Orca palate is as a reason for why they do not hunt us… Where is the nonsense?

    • SteveInCalif

      Nobody knows what intelligence is, heck we don’t even know what intelligence is for humans (IQ tests are a best guess). Whales and dolphins: best scientists can do is measure brain size-to-body ratio and assume (and a couple other hypothesis). Because we don’t know, I’m keeping culture and intelligence on the table. It’s possible that long ago, humans and Orca had a symbiotic or other mutual-benefit relationship (just as dolphins actively help fisherman fish), thus Orca choose not to eat people (is that instinct, intelligence or….we don’t know). Or, Orca may not prefer to eat people because it might take too much energy to capture (we are kinda boney with little meat – is that intelligence or preference and which is a subset of which). I don’t want a semantics argument, so get off your high-horse and open your mind to other alternative – rarely is there is a black and white or logical explanation (that we’re aware of) regarding social, community, intelligence, preferences, behavior + a million other words. There are thousands of inter-specis symbiotic relationships. an example includes fish not eating cleaner fish (the cleaner fish go inside the the mouths of fish) – that example eliminates your “only” argument. Further, what is a wild animal? The word “wild” is created by people to help themselves make sense of the world. If we were to use the wild argument, how do we explain human cannibals? I don’t consider those people wild or not-domesticated.

    • Mike Farrell

      Well, they choose not to eat animals like seagulls and otters because they have little fat. Humans just aren’t on their list of typical food options, like grasshoppers aren’t typically on ours. If orcas can tell if a female human is pregnant from many meters/yards away, they can easily distinguish us from sea lions.

    • Mermaid Warrior

      1. None of the orcas that killed their trainers ate them. It’s not about food.
      2. When it comes to food, orcas are “cultural”. Some populations eat only fish, even when sea lions are available. Some only eat mammals, even when fish are available. Captive orcas are only fed dead fish. They wouldn’t see humans as food.

      • Bob Shuttleworth

        Thank you

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  • June Killington


    We’re speaking up for the captive performing dolphins at Sea World Gold Coast Australia with the help of international and local celebrities but we also need your help, and voice.

    Jane Goodall says “SeaWorld Needs To Be Immediately Shut Down”

    Martina Navratilova, Anthony La Paglia, Simon Cowell, Shailene Woodley, Pamela Anderson, Olivia Newton John, Ricky Gervais, Bryan Adams, Matt Damon, Matthew Modine, Kelly Slater, Willy Nelson, Cher,Rachel Hunter, Tommy Lee, Jennifer Aniston, Maggie Q, Paul Rudd, Woody Harrelson, Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, David Crosby, Courtney Cox, Dave Navarro, Wynonna Judd, Mariska Hargitay, James Gandolfini, John Leguizamo, Russell Simmons, Olivia Wilde, Scout LaRue Willis, Russell Brand, Joan Jett, Howard Stern, Aaron Paul (from ‘Breaking Bad’), Kathy Najimy, Niki Taylor, Hayden Panettiere, Mayim Bialik, Meg Matthews, Chet Faker, Wil Anderson, Todd McKenny, Christine Anu, Steve Kilbey, Marcia Hines, Sia, Tyson Beckford, Sinnitta, Ewan McGregor, Steve-O, Conan O’Brien, Elvira, Josh Groban, Jason Biggs, Motley Crue, Arianna Grande, Krysten Ritter, Chloe Lattanzi, Sharni Vinson, Samantha Fox, Alexandra Paul, Gina Liano, Jonathan Coleman, Alyce Platt, The Veronicas, Tracey Spicer, Adam Zwar, Lincoln Lewis, Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon), Anthony Ackroyd, Livinia Nixon, Former Miss Universe Australia Laura Dundovic, Havana Brown, Cheyenne Tozzi, Caitlin Stasey, Silvana Philippoussis, Ella Hooper, Bianca Dye, Annalise Braakensiek all say:


    “The whole world is up in arms about Sea World and other aquaprisons. It’s time that Australians opened their eyes and became educated to the cruelty of trapping and keeping captive dolphins”. June Bird Killington – Founder of SEAWORLD SHUT DOWN on Facebook.

    ‘SEAWORLD SHUT DOWN on Facebook. The First & Only Campaign Against Sea World in Australia’ .

    Trevor Long, Marine Science Director at Sea World Gold Coast says: “Dolphins aren’t some amazing creature, in the wild they just rape and rape and rape”. (Quoted from Gold Coast Bulletin interview January 2015).

    Please help us to speak up for the captive performing dolphins at Sea World on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

    We love them rescuing cetaceans but we loathe them keeping dolphins as captives in their aquaprison.

    The dolphins need to be rehabilitated and freed or taken to a safe sanctuary/bay/cove paid for by Sea World to live out their lives without human interference.

    India, Croatia, Hungary New York, South Carolina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Nicaragua, Slovenia, Switzerland, Brazil, Luxembourg, Norway and the U.K have already banned cetaceans in captivity and so far there are over 16,000 signatures on the petition and a Facebook page with over 7,500 followers. Also on Twitter @seaworldisevil – over 5,500 Followers

    The dolphins are caught from the ocean and brought to tanks/lagoons and are also bred in captivity where they are forced to perform for paying customers and given dead fish but only if they do tricks. All to make money for greedy Sea World business people.

    “Sea World Gold Coast Australia – Keeping dolphins as prisoners since the 70s”


    • Bob Shuttleworth

      Read about the fate of Keiko (“Free Willie”). After $20 million and two years in retraining to live back in the wild – not a happy story. Keiko, upon release headed not for a pod of Orcas, but back to a populated sea port and interacted with the residents there. When animal rights groups forced people to stop (Remember – Keiko sought out human companionship) Keiko died within a few months. An autopsy said pneumonia (Which would have been seen and cured at Sea World) Many also believe loneliness, abandonment, and heartbreak were also contributing factors.

      • Mermaid Warrior

        Keiko may not have returned to living as a normal, wild orca, but he was better off than he would’ve been if he stayed in captivity.

        • Bob Shuttleworth

          KEIKO DIED much sooner than he would have in captivity, Don’t you get it? Cousteau was part of the team that attempted to retrain Keiko and was part of the release, and because of that tragic lesson does NOT agree that we should release these creatures. HE is a noted expert in this field. How was Keiko better off? Separated from the trainers he knew. Sent to a Fjord, fenced off, to relearn to catch fish and other food for himself, Isolated for almost three years, then released hundreds of miles from any place he was familiar with, he avoided Orca pods and sought out human companionship. When he was denied even that, he died. HOW IS THAT BETTER?

          • Mermaid Warrior

            But he was always around people. He always had the option to go back to his trainers. He left on his own, and returned to people on his own. He did interact with wild orcas sometimes, even if he didn’t go off to live with them. (and they were orcas of his own population, he could communicate with them) He was almost 30 when he died, close to the average lifespan of a wild male orca. Did you see what kind of conditions he lived in earlier? He had a tiny tank and no other orcas, and he was in very poor health. He would’ve died within a few years, maybe sooner, if no one fought for his release.

            Cousteau says captive orcas can’t all be released, but I don’t think he’d agree that Keiko was better off in a tank. In Iceland and Norway, Keiko had much more space, he could swim all he wanted and explore the ocean. He was able to hunt. And he could go to humans whenever he wanted, he wasn’t left alone. Trainers interacted with him, they wanted to start preparing him for wild release. Keiko had the freedom to come and go as he pleased. Even though he didn’t choose to truly live as a wild orca, he had a choice.

          • Bob Shuttleworth

            Although Keiko passed near several pods, one alleged to be the pod he’d been taken from many years before, he never really interacted with them, never joined their groups. It is unknown whether this was because of Keiko or the two or three pods he passed on his 900 mile journey. We really have no knowledge of if he was able to communicate with any of those pods or not. Most of Keiko tracking was through a radio transmitter not by sight – they didn’t want to stay too close because Keiko kept approaching the boat when they did.
            No Cousteau did not think Keiko was better off in a tank/exhibit, that’s why he was part of the release project. Since then he has changed his opinion. He states that the orcas should not be released, but be kept from reproducing, and out of “Shows” and maintained as comfortably as possible for the rest of their natural lives.
            The logic in that? After a three year, $20 million program, using every know resource to retrain and release a captured Orca back into the wild, that Orca chose human companionship over his own kind, and died within 15 months of release, far sooner than was thought, either in the wild or in captivity. If Keiko didn’t survive well or long, how much chance would the captive bred orcas have?

          • Mermaid Warrior

            I will grant that Keiko, along with most orcas currently in captivity, wasn’t the best candidate for release. But I still think he was better off in Iceland and Norway. It’s not like he would’ve lived much longer if he stayed in captivity. (and he died of a disease common in both wild and captive orca) In the end, he was older than most captive orcas live. The release wasn’t a success, but he got to have the best of both worlds: the human companionship he craved, and the freedom of the ocean. It would be nice if some captive orcas could be retired to an enclosure like the one he had in Iceland.

            I do agree with Coustaeu that most current captive orcas aren’t good candidates for release. All of the ones that were born in captivity are out of the question. All of the ones with health problems like broken teeth are also out. Going off that, researchers would also have to locate the families of the whales. Really, outside of the recently captured Russian orcas, I doubt that any current captive orcas should be released. (I probably should’ve clarified that I don’t think all the orcas should be released, I’m not an idiot) Keiko might’ve had a good shot if his family was located. All things considered, I think he did as best as we could’ve expected, and he did better than a lot of people thought he would. He was able to survive on his own, (evidenced by his two month journey) it’s just that the desire for human companionship was his weakness. (not too surprising, considering that he had lived without other orcas for like, 15 years)

          • Bob Shuttleworth

            OK, so I guess we’ll agree to disagree on whether release was good or bad for Keiko. Yes Releasing most Orcas today is not in their best interest. My hope is that those in captivity can be used, not in shows (Although viewing a breaching Orca is an impressive sight) but rather to impress the general public on the magnificence of these creatures and create sympathy that will help protect their kind in the wild.

          • Mermaid Warrior

            I would be less inclined to bitch about orca captivity if it was done in a more educational manner.

          • Bob Shuttleworth

            I think if more people felt that way instead of blindly believing the propaganda of “Blackfish,” that we really could do better for the creatures in Sea World’s care.

          • Mermaid Warrior

            Eh, the movement’s been around a lot longer than Blackfish.

          • Bob Shuttleworth

            True. And I respect those who believe that they are attempting to help animals whether Aquatic or land based. I was referring to the more recent lot of activists who have wholly based their opinions on “Blackfish” without doing any further research in to the accuracy of “Blackfish” which is, to be polite, less than completely truthful in their accusations.

  • teresa bonelli

    Es mas que claro si a uno lo meten en una pileta a bailar y girar de por vida es seguro que enloquecera ,y matara si puede aunque este dopado para que esto no ocurra,pasara indefectiblemente en algun momento,justamente por este motivo drogan a los cetaceos esclavos,es infame .

  • Bob Shuttleworth

    Part of the reason may also be that people don’t often interact with orcas in the wild. Their size alone would cause some trepidation in this area. “Orcas don’t attack people” is a broad statement. And while known cases may indeed be few or nonexistent, that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t or haven’t..

    Now of course this is going to get the “Blackfish” crowd saying that Captive Orcas DO attack people and cause them to postulate that this is because they are in captivity. There have been exactly three human deaths by captive orcas. The first Killer whale in captivity was in 196, 54 years ago. Thats a pretty good safety record. None of the deaths were considered to be from “Attacks”, but whether the Orcas attacked or not, is a VERY open question, and most experts think not. In the most recent case, the Orca pulled the trainer underwater by her ponytail. Most true experts believe that the Orca mistook it for a piece of training equipment. At the nearby San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park a few years back, an Elephant trainer unwittingly got between two of her charges . The two closed on each other and crushed the trainer between them. The elephants probably didn’t even realize that she was there. By the same token, the orca’s at Sea World didn’t know they were harming the trainer(s).There are far more tragedies at Zoos than at Sea World facilities in that same period.

    Anytime a Human works with large Animals, there is the chance for injury or death, and the trainers are well aware of this fact. But through that interaction we, as humans, learn much and can use that knowledge to help to protect these amazing creatures in the wild. Some see any animals in “cages” as mistreatment. But first of all, most such facilities, including Sea World and the San Diego Zoo are creating habitats that are far more natural for their residents, and we can view these animals in a situation more closely approximating their natural habitat.

    Without facilities such as Sea World and Zoos, millions of people would be denied the opportunity to view these creatures, live, allowing them to sympathize and become concerned about their dwindling numbers in the wild. In many cases such facilities have brought species back from the brink of extinction, The California Condor, and the Arabian Ibex are two prime examples. At Sea World, dozens of sea creatures, found beached and in distressed, like seals with injuries from plastic nets or other man-made items that they’ve become ensnared in, are taken in , cared for, and released back into the wild each year.That alone is worth Sea World’s, and other animal facilitie’s, existence.

    • tejof

      There has actually been 4 deaths. 3 by Tilly and 1 by Keto at Loro Parque.

      • Sam Duncombe

        Really? The ponytail? Because orca are so unaware of themselves, their surroundings and people that they have interacted with for YEARS?? You really think the elephants didn’t know someone was in between them? Wow!

        • Bob Shuttleworth

          Sorry, But I was working at a non-animal exhibit near where the elephant incident occurred. Elephants cannot see well behind themselves. The trainer inadvertently got between them , which was and is against policy, near their rears. . No, the elephants really had no idea that she was there, and were definately NOT deliberately attacking her., and NO they were not part of any “Show” The Zoo had stopped Elephant shows years before. So cut the BS. The idea that the Sea world trainer lost her arm is “Blackwater” type bulls###t. it never happened. Although Sea World Naysayers want it to be so to push their ill-conceived agenda.

          No, no type of enclosure will ever replace an open “wild” environment. But by creating larger exhibits, getting the animal (in zoos) off of concrete and back on to real grass and dirt, it is better. At San Diego’s Safari park, many non-carnivores share an open exhibit of about 1700 acres. Carnivores have a somewhat smaller exhibit area.
          At Sea World, and particularly with Orcas, it is, definitely a bit more difficult. But in the nearly 30 years that I’ve lived in San Diego, I’ve seen their tank, and yes, I understand that that is what it is as I used to have two 55 gallon tanks in my home, have more than quadrupled in size, and they have begun a new facility that will be at least three times larger still. No it is still not an open ocean, but it is better.
          Open release of Orcas, especially captive bred Orcas would more than likely be a death sentence. The example of Keiko, (a captured orca and star of “Free Willy” fame) is testament to that.
          Sea World Orcas don’t have a language? Sorry but that is false also. The Orcas still living at Sea world that were captured over 35 years ago, have passed their language to their offspring. At Sea World the Captive Bred Orcas remain with their mother for at least two years, or longer, pretty much the same as in the wild. During that time they learn the language of their mother, and of the other captive Orcas, as well as the sign language of the human trainers, and perhaps a bit of the human language, although they are unable to repeat it.

          Is a Zoo or Aquarium the ideal place for large, wild creatures? No, but is a place where people can come close to these magnificent creatures and find sympathy for them. This help us to protect them in the wild.

    • nat365

      Ok, ‘most experts’ (such as orca experts Dr. Naomi Rose and Dr. Ingrid Visser) agree that captive killer whales are absolutely killing their trainers deliberately (when they do so, which is rarely). They are highly intelligent animals, and they know what struggling for breath looks like. Also, video of Dawn seconds before she was pulled in shows that Tilly almost definitely grabbed her *arm*, not her ponytail (which, contrary to Seaworld’s claims, he had had plenty of exposure to anyway – it was not ‘novel’). Also, Tilly scalped Dawn, pulled her arm off and ended up swallowing part of it. He slammed her into the walls and broke her body. I’m sorry if the details upset you, but that is not an animal ‘playing’. He’s intelligent, he knows what will injure and kill.

      Secondly – more natural? There is no concrete tank, however large, that can possibly replicate the ocean. These animals are highly intelligent, and can echolocate from ten miles away. Therefore, to even give an orca the *illusion* of freedom, you would need a circular tank twenty miles in diameter, and that orca would have to float in the middle. This means that, for their entire lives, orcas know they are trapped, and utterly dependent on the people who show up at the edges of their tanks every morning. A tiger aware of its confinement will go insane – imagine what it must be like for a killer whale, which is a far more intelligent and wide-ranging animal.

      ‘Most experts’ agree that *captivity itself* is cruel for orcas, no matter what level of care they receive.

      Also, Seaworld’s orcas are not some sort of ’emergency stock’ that can be reintroduced into the wild if orcas become endangered. Firstly, all the Seaworld orcas are hybrids. Seaworld breeds orca types that, in the wild, have not interbred for a hundred thousand years or more. That means the captive borns are all hybrids, and cannot possibly be released – they belong to no population, and from a conservation standpoint would pollute the different subgroups if they did manage to link up with an existing population and interbreed.

      Beyond that, orcas are far more like us than most people know. As this article explores, they are the only animal outside us with scientifically provable cultures (behaviours they exhibit for no other reason [that we are aware of] than choice). They are taught language, hunting techniques, and in the wild they are not allowed to breed until females are around 14. The youngest ever recorded orca mother in the wild was 11. Orcas have even been observed chasing males away from females deemed too young to breed.

      At Seaworld orcas are denied everything that makes them orcas. They learn no language or culture, and Seaworld starts breeding them as young as 6! they also start sexually experimenting at a similarly immature age – just like if you took two human toddlers and had them raised by aliens in a barren environment, they’d start experimenting with sex at around ten or eleven – when their bodies told them to, without cultural pressure to stop it.

      A Seaworld orca would almost certainly not be able to survive in the wild. Orcas do not run on instinct, they learn how to be orcas, and growing up in a barren, concrete environment, with other animals that, even if they were once wild, were taken from their families in infancy, and belong to different populations that do not speak the same language (look up killer whale dialects if you don’t believe me on that one – each population has its own unique ‘language’, and beyond that even subgroups within populations have ‘accents’ and phrases only they use), they never learn to be orcas – Seaworld’s orcas are basically mentally disabled by the nature of their upbringing, just as feral human children end up being if there is no intervention in the early years. If human beings don’t learn certain things, such as language, before the age of around four, they never fully learn it.

      Also, orcas really, really don’t attack in the wild. They are in every ocean, which means we encounter them at least as often as sharks, even if we don’t know it. There have only ever been three ‘incidents’ with wild orcas. As this article says, they all happened in areas where seals are the orca’s prey, and only one resulted in any sort of injury (a single bite that needed stitches).

      Even bottlenose dolphins have been recorded attacking humans in the wild – but orcas have not. That is not some kind of massive, worldwide coincidence where it’s just that no one has been in the ‘wrong place, wrong time’. For whatever reason, they are choosing not to attack us.

      Finally – no one has the *right* to see any wild animal. Especially if being held captive harms the animal itself (as captivity harms cetaceans). We live in the age of the internet, where amazing nature documentaries are at our fingertips if we want to see creatures out of our reach. Otherwise, there’s nature of all sorts right outside most people’s doors, and a trip to watch whales in the wild is, for many, actually a less expensive option than going to Seaworld.

    • Mermaid Warrior

      SeaWorld is a theme park, not a zoo. Yes, they do rescue work, but that doesn’t excuse questionable practices. I do think that seeing an animal is valuable, but there’s also context. Seeing a tiger jump through hoops in a small cage at a circus is different from seeing a tiger at a zoo in an exhibit designed to resemble a natural environment, surrounded by info on wild tigers and threats to the species. Whales and dolphins at SW are presented as performers, not wild animals. You don’t learn about how they behave in the wild. The exhibits aren’t designed to encourage natural behaviors, they just swim in circles. The whales and dolphins aren’t being bred for conservation purposes. Even if a captive-born orca could be released into the wild (which it can’t) the ones at SW wouldn’t be candidates for such a program.

      • Bob Shuttleworth

        Actually, Sea World is considered a zoological exhibit, pretty much the same as San Diego Zoo. They do also contain theme park-like features, which are separate. from the exhibits,although on the same property.

        • Mermaid Warrior

          Some of the parks have rides that are incorporated with animal exhibits. Roller coasters aren’t theme park-like features, they’re theme park features. I’ve seen zoos that have carousels, but never roller coasters or other large rides. When I say SW is a theme park, I mean it in the sense that entertainment is the #1 priority, not education or conservation. Educational content is minimal at best and they don’t donate all that much to conservation. Even their animal rescue stuff isn’t all that impressive.

          • Bob Shuttleworth

            Does Sea World do Entertainment? YES, But every show is heavily laden with educational information on the creatures involved. If the “entertainment” value takes a person’s mind off of the facts explained in every “show” I’m sorry, but it is there. The Orcas, and Dolphins, and Walrus, and seals do not do “Tricks” the perform natural behavior at the request/direction of the trainers. They receive a piece of food for most of their displays, a positive reward.
            Roller Coasters do not impact the exhibits. Yes Sea World does have roller coasters but they do not run “through” the exhibits. Too many of the Sea creatures would be adversely affected by the noise and vibrations.

            No educational content is not minimal. No more so than at any zoo. The creatures at either are on display so that the average person can experience them “up close and personal” so to speak. No there is not a classroom next to every creature. But near most of the large tanks, showing various types of fish are usually Park employees explaining the creatures and answering questions.

            “Educational content is minimal at best and they don’t donate all that much to conservation. Even their animal rescue stuff isn’t all that impressive.”

            You obviously know nothing about Sea World and it’s rescue program. Recently (this year) there was a mass beaching near San Diego. The “Shows” were cancelled so that the trainers and animal experts could assist in the rescue.
            As stated, Sea World has taken in more than 800 sea creatures this year alone, and they will do their best to rehabilitate them, and then release them back into the wild. They are currently aiding Seals and other creatures effected by the oil spill in Santa Barbara. The fact is that they don’t usually advertise these rescues and releases, but a great deal of the money made from the “Theme Park” goes towards this effort.

            The naysayers and the “Blackfish” type of propaganda against Sea World does not take into consideration what Sea World actually does on a year-round basis, behind the scenes.

          • Mermaid Warrior

            I’ve been to SeaWorld San Antonio and the shows had NO education. After the orca show I ran around looking for signs or panels, anything that had information on orcas, and couldn’t find anything. The waterpark there has a number of animal attractions within rides. One of the other parks has a waterslide that goes through a tank with Commerson’s dolphins.

            SeaWorld advertises their rescues ALL THE TIME. Also, there are much smaller organizations that rescue larger amounts of animals, SW isn’t all that impressive.

            Natural behaviors? Most of the tricks don’t represent natural behaviors. In the wild, orcas don’t wave or spin around or shake their heads to music. Belugas almost never jump in the wild. (I was surprised to learn that, since shows misled me) These shows also send the message that these animals love to interact with people all the time, and this leads to people believing that stupid friendly dolphin stereotype and they go out and bother wild dolphins. They should be presented as wild animals, not friendly pets.

          • Bob Shuttleworth

            It HAS been a while since I’ve been to a Sea World Show. The last time I was there, there was a video on a giant screen that ran behind the “performance” showing Orcas in their natural environment, and the majority of the “tricks” they did were mirrors of what was on the screen. I’d call that education. This was in San Diego, so I cannot comment on San Antonio’s “show.” On a number of the trips I have made to Sea World San Diego I have bee able to view the orcas in their behind-the-scenes areas, and nearly always there was a knowledgeable person their to answer question, this is also educational.

            Orcas do breech in the wild, they do come onto ice flows to capture seals, not unlike what they do, or did, during the Sea World shows. Do they nod, or shake their head in the wild? Having not done an extensive study of this, I cannot say. I have seen videos of them “spitting” out water from their mouths in the wild. Orcas can spin in the water, both vertically and horizontally to capture prey. Are their “show” activities adapted. Yes – they are done on command, and in response to certain hand gestures, whistles, or body movements by the trainers. Many of these “adapted” natural motions, are helpful, backstage, in examining and caring for the Orcas.

            I have never seen a Beluga Whale show where they breached. Again that may be something new. For many years at Sea World, San Diego the belugas were only viewed from a indoor view port. and the surface was not visible to the audience, so breaching was not a part of the show. I have seen photos of wild belugas who were as much as 3/4 out of the water.

            TV shows like “Flipper” is where many people originally got the idea of dolphins liking to interact with people. I agree that the fact that they are “wild” should be more prominantlyThere have been reported cases of dolphins aiding humans in the wild. How true they are is a matter of opinion.

            Sea Wold in San Diego rarely advertises their rescues. More often it is the local media hearing about a distressed animal and reporting on Sea World’s assistance in aiding the creature.

          • Jamie

            You have not seen SeaWorld’s social media if you do not think they advertise their rescues. It has been incessant ever since Blackfish became a problem.

            There is a possible problem with the educators, though. Somewhat recently, I stumbled across a bunch of SeaWorld supporters on Facebook admitting they sometimes get their facts mixed up. Apparently, SeaWorld has educators cover a bunch of different exhibits and instead of keeping them at a reasonable number where it’s easier to remember the information they provide.

          • Bob Shuttleworth

            Yes, I have seen the relatively recent surge in Sea World publicity to try and counteract the half truths and outright lies spewed by “Blackfish”. The vast majority of the animal rescue coverage is from the media and not Sea World itself. Of course Sea World doesn’t try and hide their rescue program either, and have little problem answering question about specific animals and situations like the recent Santa Barbara Oil Spill.
            What is “Sometimes?” I worked at The San Diego Wild Animal Park for a a summer, and occasionally got a few things mixed up. With hundreds of creatures to catalog in one’s brain, an occasional flub is understandable.. Sea World, does in depth auditions for the personnel who speak at various places in the park. Usually they are assigned to specific areas, but now and they help out at other areas. This may be where your friend encountered them.

    • Knudnik

      Those orcas attacked because they were going stir crazy. You can’t take a living being who’s wild habitat can be bigger than Rhode Island, put him in a swimming pool, and not expect said orca to not flip his nut.

      • Bob Shuttleworth

        If that were the case, then all orcas would be attacking every trainer. That just isn’t so. How would a captive bred orca know the difference anyway?
        Yes, the facilities are relatively small – no argument, but “flip his nut?” Considering that we’ve had such displays for 50 years and only 4 such incidents have occurred in that time, that is a better record than we have with other wild animals.

        Don’t buy everything that the Animal rights activists and “Blackfish” are selling. There is a LOT of BS going on there.

        • Knudnik

          I don’t need activists or a movie to tell me that an intelligent animal that size, captive born or wild, is genetically engineered for needing space to breathe. It’s like keeping a big cat or great ape in a cage: you see the pacing, back and forth along with their accepting of food from the hand that feeds them. Not all of them attack, but some do, and some of the attacks range from the minor injury to death. You telling me not to fall for propaganda is like the Catholic Church telling me the Presbyterians are a cult, or visa versa, when they plain fact is, they both worship a book.

          • Bob Shuttleworth

            I’ve never said that the tanks that these creatures are kept in is anywhere near ideal. – Never happen. But the propaganda that is being fed to the unsuspecting public is worse, and that’s what I have a problem with.

            “Blackfish” is a propagandized lie, using out of date and false information to make it’s false point. They did it very well, but that doesn’t make it fact.The tale of Keiko, better known as “Willie” from the movies, is testament to that. A $20 million program failed to successfully reintroduce Keiko back into the wild that he’d been taken from. The expert on hand for that experiment was Jean Michelle Cousteau, noted oceanographer and head of the Cousteau institute, who had championed the reintroduction of Orcas back into the wild, now sings a far different tune. Stop captive breeding, Stop “shows,” and keep the current lot of captive orcas comfortable and healthy for the remainder of their natural lives. Allow their presence, while there, to be an inspiration to keep their relatives safe in the wild.

            Orcas are actually NOT on the endangered Species list. There are more than sufficient numbers of them in the ocean to preserve their species for the foreseeable future. Learning about Orcas, close up, with those now in captivity can help to better understand them, and allow the average person to appreciate their magnificence, and through that experience strive to preserve those numbers.

          • Knudnik

            I suggest then, that you direct your replies to people who are using Blackfish as their basis of their arguments. Or, even to the producers of Blackfish, and PETA, themselves. Like I said, I don’t need a movie to tell me that keeping a 30+ foot, 10+ ton animal in a swimming pool, is asking for trouble. It’s like saying I must watch the Weather Channel, after I say that it’s going to rain because I see clouds and hear thunder in the sky.

          • Bob Shuttleworth

            As I stated, I agree that the facilities for orcas, in general, are not ideal. I have been aware of this for many years. However, the odds of a successful release of these creatures is just as unfavorable.

            The lessons learned from Keiko are that even captured Orcas, now in captivity for over 35 years, are unlikely to attach themselves to a wild pod, and that long-term survival is highly questionable at best.The odds for a captive bred Orca are even worse. Keiko had the opportunity to try and merge with several pods after release, but chose to travel 900 miles to a Norwegian fjord and sought out human companionship. That was ultimately denied under the pressure of animal rights groups. Keiko died several months later. The cause? They said “probably Pneumonia,” but loneliness and a possible feeling of abandonment were probable contributing factors as well. How would you feel if you were taken from your home, forced to adopt a new lifestyle, then taken to a unfamiliar place and left to take care of yourself . You see several groups along your journey but none seem interested in helping you. Then you find a community that does like you and you are happy again, then, suddenly, all of those who you thought liked you no longer come to you. You have food and freedom, but little else. Kind of a gloomy existence – isn’t it?

            End the shows, stop the breeding, and allow those in these parks to live out their lives under the care of those who understand them the best. Allow the public to view and learn about them so that they can be protected from predation in the wild. Good, Bad or otherwise these captive Orcas have a better chance of survival where they are. They are not endangered, so the handful that are in captivity would have little effect on existing numbers.

            I think we both care about these creatures. but I think that I am being more practical.

          • Knudnik

            Where did I mention release? I think it would be a waste of time as well. At least with the zoo-borns. But, if these corps are going to keep animals that size, that have more than enough energy to swim and socialize for a lot of miles and hours, then you’re going to have more incidents where trainers are hurt or killed. Even the cuddly house cat gets the Night Crazies. Something, which doesn’t happen in the wild.

          • Bob Shuttleworth

            Are you sure?

      • Bob Shuttleworth

        Don’t know about Washington state’s laws, But in California it is Illegal to approach any wild whale. I would think tyhat’s a good idea anywhere. As friendly as they may seem, their sheer size can be a danger.

        • Knudnik

          It’s the law everywhere: it’s federal law, via the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1973?). Native Americans and permission slips to a few lucky gringos being the exception.

    • ToastyFlake

      Humans interact with Orcas in the wild all the time. Ever see all those kayakers paddling around them in Seattle? Divers frequently swim around orcas and orcas often share waters where people are swimming.

  • Mermaid Warrior

    A lot of people think that these orca attacks are a food/hunting thing. Not the case. First off, the victims were never eaten. Second, when it comes to food, orcas are “cultural”. In the wild, different populations eat different things. The Southern Resident orcas feed almost exclusively on Chinook salmon. They won’t eat sea lions even if they’re available because they don’t recognize sea lions as food. Captive orcas are conditioned to eat dead fish only. Even if you threw a live fish into the tank, they might not try to kill and eat it.

    This explains, at least in part, why wild orcas don’t eat people. (though the Tlnglit story is cool) Humans aren’t a regular part of the orca environment. It’s the same reason sharks don’t eat humans. Most shark attacks are the result of the shark mistaking a human for normal prey, then swimming off after realizing it’s not their normal prey. I would also imagine that orcas, at least some populations, anyway, might recognize humans as a potential danger, so they stay away.

    Though this all doesn’t answer the question as to why captive orcas attack people. Consider, orcas are extremely intelligent and very emotional creatures. They’re complex animals. Captive environments tend to bear little resemblance to any natural orca environment. The space is different, the social structure is different, and there’s not much in the way of enrichment. Like humans, animals also have emotional needs. Any dog owner can tell you that if a dog is never walked, it’s going to cause trouble. Similar case here. Orcas aren’t a very good candidate for captivity, it’s very difficult to meet their needs in a captive environment. Some people say that since captive orcas interact with humans on a regular basis, there’s just more opportunity to attack. But if this kind of behavior was normal, surely we’d have some record of a human being killed by a wild orca. A handful of people are killed by sharks every year, and shoot, there was even someone killed by a wild bottlenose dolphin.

  • Knudnik

    We also have a slim fat/flesh to bone ratio. Whales, fish, sea lion, sting rays,etc. are pretty plump. Munching on a human, I imagine, would be akin to us trying make a meal out of a single quail.

    • Asasa

      Does not answer the question

      • Knudnik

        Yes it does.

        • Marteen Lake

          Nope they have been know to snipe land mammals.

          • Knudnik

            Moose and polar bears have a pretty good meat and fat ratio, respectively. Those are the only land mammals that I’ve heard being prey to the orca. Even then, they were both treading water during the attacks.

      • AtotehZ

        Orcas eat in different ways than, lets say tigers, and other land carnivores. They don’t have paws to control the carcass and eat around the bone. To these animals we can taste pretty darn good because the only eat the meat and in a jungle without technology we’re inferior to them if were alone.

        Back to orcas. Like Knudnik said this is not the case with them. They have to chow down on a lot of sturdy land bones to get at us. If they’re picky about their diet this DOES explain it.

        • Siril

          I dont think so.

          1. Orcas are intelligent, and they hunt in pods. They can easily tear you apart for your delicious liver.

          2. Unarmed divers and swimmers are toooooooo easy to kill (compared to dolphin or seal), that makes the calculation of energy gain / effort ratio ridiculous.

          • Siril

            once one orca realize human (or at least some part of human) is delicious (or at least edible), this knowledge will spread over the ocean. BUT, NO such attempt was recorded.

  • newpapyrus

    Orcas are a super intelligent self-aware species with a complex language.

    Orcas don’t kill humans because they know that humans are an extremely dangerous culture with almost god-like technological power.

    So out of self preservation, Orcas probably teach their offspring to never do harm to humans.


    • Dominic

      That would certainly make sense. I’m not really a fan of keeping any wild animal in captivity, but it should be a CRIME to keep intelligent animals like Orcas in captivity :/

      • Nico


    • Brtutal

      It’s a real stretch to assume Orcas don’t attack humans because they fear retaliation. I think it more likely they recognize humans as not being marine and thus not appropriate for food.

      • Marteen Lake

        actually they have been seen to dry and catch birds and snipe land mammals and eat them.

    • Larry J Parr

      Anthropomorphism is cute with a puppy, but it eventually fails even then. Don’t be that person.

  • N

    There is an “old news” which I am not sure about its reliability. A group of orcas attacked a ship and made it sink(of cause, the orcas got hurt too)and when the life boat came out, they swim around for the whole night and left until the next day, doing nothing to the boat. The website I saw said they probably thought that it’s a hunting ship. If this story is true, it proves that the orcas are understanding what people are doing to them and their children. However only a few websites are talking about this story and it is NOT 100% reliable

  • joh2141

    I have a little better explanation than that; not to say you’re wrong but it is more of a theory what you provided.

    I bet Orca’s actually just think “If we kill humans, they will come after us and hunt us down to the very last one.” I think it’s more of a defense mechanism. Also, because they are very intelligent, they have a very curious nature. So when they run into a human, it will probably feel like (to the orca) we are aliens. There is no doubt Orca’s are friendly in nature though towards humans and our history has been intertwined with positive encounters more than negative ones.

    • BO_stinks

      so you’re thinking that they think we are vastly superior to them, I agree, however I doubt they’re afraid of retribution, they really have no fears.

  • BO_stinks

    we’re not on their menu

  • BO_stinks

    orcas do not seem to mind killing other “super smart” mammals including whales, so intelligence isn’t stopping them


Ethan Morris

Ethan Morris is the Senior Producer at KCTS where he oversees local broadcasts including weekly programs, specials, town halls and investigations. Before coming to KCTS, he was the Senior News Producer at KOMO-TV in Seattle and a special commentator for ABC’s World News Now on Northwest news stories and issues. He has won three Emmy Awards, three regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, and the National Edward R. Murrow for coverage of the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake. In his spare time, Ethan is pursuing a law degree from Seattle University. In his spare, spare time, you’ll likely find him training for his next half-marathon.

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