According to The Dodo, a 103-year-old orca known as “Granny” was recently spotted off the western coast of Canada with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
While it is a rarity for any animal to live this long, Granny’s very existence is proof that SeaWorld’s treatment of killer whales undoubtedly deprives them of the long and healthy lives they could have if they weren’t placed in captivity.
SeaWorld’s killer whales usually die before they reach their 20s due to forced breeding, close confinement and separation from their families. One of Granny’s grandchildren who was captured and held by SeaWorld ended up dying at the age of 4.
Yet, because Granny and her surviving family were under the watch of no one but mother nature, these whales were able to sustain healthy lives and face virtually no risk of premature death.
A lot of Granny’s family will most likely go on to live into their 50s or 60s, which is the average lifespan of a female killer whale.
Granny’s long life can also be attributed to the fact that she had just swam 800-miles, starting from northern California, with her family when she was last seen.
Animal welfare advocates have repeatedly said that long-distance swimming is vital to a killer whale’s psychological stability, but SeaWorld has gone on record saying that orcas do not need to swim hundreds of miles and can survive just fine in cramped tanks.
Another crucial factor in the health of a killer whale is the relationship it has with its family. A mother orca almost never separates herself from her children, but SeaWorld routinely plucks infant orcas from their families.
This separation has been known to cause intense mental and emotional damage, so much that it can prevent the brains of baby and mother orcas from developing correctly.
SeaWorld has denied nearly every argument that their methods of capture and confinement are the reason their whales die so young, but the sight of a family of killer whales living such a healthy life in the wild obviously begs to differ.
Deprivation of familial security and space to swim is clearly the complete opposite of what nature intended, confirming that SeaWorld is not a park but a torturous prison for these beautiful creatures.