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Update: Orca Badly Hurt in SeaWorld Clash

Written by PETA | October 1, 2012


After visiting SeaWorld and taking photographs of Nakai’s injury (two of which are shown below), Dr. Ingrid N. Visser, founder and principal scientist of the Orca Research Trust, found that there are “puncture marks that match orca teeth spacing,” which “is a clear indication that an altercation between the orcas was involved.” The puncture marks in question can be seen at the bottom right of the wound in the first photo below:

© Ingrid N. Visser, Ph.D.
©Ingrid N. Visser, Ph.D.

©Ingrid N. Visser, Ph.D.

This evidence strongly suggests that Nakai’s wound was indeed caused by a bite resulting from incompatible confinement rather than contacting with the side of the pool, as SeaWorld has alleged.

Originally posted September 28:

Following a serious and gruesome injury to an orca in an avoidable attack, PETA has submitted a complaint asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take disciplinary action against SeaWorld for housing orcas incompatibly in violation of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

As you can see in these disturbing photographs, Nakai, an 11-year-old male orca at SeaWorld in San Diego, sustained a laceration so significant that, as a whistleblower said, “a dinner plate-sized chunk of his lower mandible [has been] sheared off, exposing underlying tissues, and bone.” The flesh cut from him “was big enough and intact enough for SeaWorld to retrieve it from the bottom of the pool.”

According to the whistleblower’s report to journalist Tim Zimmermann, Nakai’s injury was a result of “a major altercation” between Nakai and two other orcas, Keet and Ikaika. The AWA makes it clear that “marine mammals that are not compatible must not be housed in the same enclosure.” Yet SeaWorld parks have a long history of housing incompatible orcas from widely divergent groups together in enclosures—and the result has been stress, agitation, aggressive and bloody raking, serious injury, and death.

What You Can Do

It’s clear that SeaWorld can’t be trusted to make the safety and well-being of marine animals its top priority. Please don’t ever visit SeaWorld (or any other marine-mammal park)—and tell company executives why you won’t support the abuse of Nakai and the other intelligent, complex animals they’ve imprisoned and enslaved.

Commenting is closed.
  • danielle says:

    It is absolutely heartbreaking the things man does to the defenseless animals. I wholeheartedly believe seaworld should be shut down. Besides I would never attend any event that exploits and abuses any animal because to do so is to support this treatment of animals. I need an “anti seaworld” bumper sticker. I already have anti hunting, anti animal research and I’m waiting for my anti circus sticker to come.

  • Sarahghazy says:

    If people want these animals happy release them!!!! They need freedom they dont need to be in jail for the rest of there lives!!!
    Its there fault that poor orca got that bite because they let him in with the other orcas

  • Ti says:

    SeaWorld=Animal Cruelty 🙁

  • Ty says:

    I HATE SeaWorld!!!!

  • Scarlet says:

    What majestic creatures. I have seen the Blackfish documentary and found it very ddisturbing. They are the animals but we are the monsters.

  • leanne says:

    I went to Seaworld in October this year, I only wished I knew the extent of the cruelty before i paid my ticket. While walking around Seaworld I didn’t feel joy, amazement, happy to see these amazing animals. I felt so heartbroken! We went on the arctic simulator ride where when you get off its like your in the animals “own habitat”….anything but!! I stood for a good 10 minutes watching a walrus just repeatedly swimming in circles. I felt so sad, it was obviously stressed, bored,frustrated whatever! either way, it wasn’t happy! moved on to see the dine with shame show and was astonished at how small the tank was that these beautiful orcas are kept in. There was a feeling of sadness around the whole park. What makes things worse, I overheard a Seaworld employee talking about Tilikum saying ” We don’t use that whale anymore, and it was trainer error that lead to the accident!!” How sad hat Seaworld brainwash their employees into believing there doing good for these animals. I wish there was something I can do to stop this cruelty! I WILL NEVER VISIT SEAWORLD AGAIN! but still want to do more. Just feel so affected by how inhumane these animals are treated!


    What is more magical than seeing wild animals in their natural environment? They are not ours to use and abuse and this terrible and so sad to see any animal confined in this way. I will never go to sea world or any such place that uses wild animals for our entertainment. Please also chose vegetarianism as a way forward.

  • Cindy says:

    I will never go to sea world, or zoos or any park that holds these beautiful creatures in captivity and I will let others know about how inhumane this is and I hope and pray this comes to an end real soon. This makes me so sad. All the sea worlds need to be shut down.

  • isbelc says:

    i will never !!!!! never never even the day i have children will ever go to any marine parks and i will try to make people i know not go either !!!!

  • Lara says:

    This is scandalous!!!!! Idiots, can they not be careful at least, these greedy bastards of seaworld keepers who are totally useless.

  • Glen kruger says:

    NO it is seaworlds fault these animals are not made to be in captivity they travel up to 150 km a day they are not meant to be held in an inclosure they become aggressive and irrtated because of their lack of space and not being able to be social like normal wild orcas , 2 former seaworld trainers are also involved in a law suit previuosly against seaworld also stating that it is cruel and unfair to the animals. The orcas where not compatable which was seaworld responsibility to know the putcome is what can be suspected , IT IS CRUEL AND UNFAIR to these beautful creatures to be held like this it is our responsibility to protect our earth and whatever inhabits it !!!!!!

  • Crisna says:

    Que terrible, esto no se debe de permitir

  • Casey says:

    Animals are not for our entertainment. Let these creatures be free. They are wild animals and that is where they belong. People love to watch them but once the animal turns on them and hurts a person, they kill the animal. We cannot domesticate these animals nor should we try. Please stop this abuse..animals go through way too much of it as it is.

  • Daniel Puerto says:

    gracias por organizar esta peticion !!

  • Emanuel says:

    Vergüenza, los inocentes e indefensos pagan por la diversión y el placer de los culpables. La historia de la humanidad. Tenemos que terminar con esta conducta egoísta. GO VEG!

  • Virginia Greenwood-Warner says:

    Stop confining these creatures. Seaworld anyway should be closed down. We have the internet and TV so we no longer need to enslave these magnificent creatures like this. Personally – I HATE Seaworld including owners and all staff who work there!

  • catgirl3899 says:

    I think that what happened to the Orcas is pure evil. I hate it when people think that they own the animals that they house.

  • kurisu7885 says:

    They really need to be much more careful with evaluating possible tank mates. Granted you can’t predict everything, some just won’t get along, but, they do need to be much more careful. Poor orca.

  • madamzenos says:

    Why is there a Sea World in the first place? We shouldn’t keep animals captive for our own entertainment.

  • Lisa Gallazzi says:

    this is yet another good reason for hating sea world and all that the do and promote – they always state that their mammals are in the best conditions possible!! NEWFLASH no they are not – Orca’s in swimming pools – please – dolphins dancing for food or they are starved until they do – NOW this with Nakai – your time is up Sea world people have had enough and after the pic went viral your sales just dropped by 50 percent overnight……. and the rest of us will see to it they drop even more!!!!! very sad excuse for human beings!

  • Ahijado says:

    Yes, this injury is bad, and yes, it definitely hurt the whale. But this isn’t all SeaWorld’s fault. The whales in the tank did the damage, not people. It’s obviously a fight, not anything that deals with hunger, because they found the whole piece at the bottom of the pool. What they try and do with the whales is the same with any experiment. They move the whales around to get some better interaction with each other. When they see violent interaction, they move them away, it’s as easy as that. And yes, we do need the SeaWorlds of the world, just like we need zoos and aquariums. What you might see is captive animals, but what others see is research opportunities and a chance to meet animals that you would never get to see otherwise.

    • Oliver M says:

      It’s not research mate. They pluck them out of the ocean, inbreed them with each other. put them is enclosures that are far too small and make them perform for their food. it’s not an experiment, they’re not doing research :L They are torturing them for amusement and money.

      I agree sometimes, other zoos. (NOT SEAWORLD) will rescuse sick or injured animals and do research but that’s not what seaworld is.

  • Judith Ann Mcdermott says:

    Good blog post, nice efforts. It couldn’t appear to have been penned any better. Reading this article piece of writing reminds me about my old boss! He usually kept babbling about this. I will email this post to him. Pretty confident he will probably have a high-quality read. Appreciate your posting!

  • Abi says:

    This is cruel and made me feel very sorry for the animal, this is something that could AND should have been avoided.

  • Deb Fahey says:

    Seaworlds should not exist. NoOrca’s or any other wild animals should be in captivity. Money hungry people are the animals worst predators. These people should not exist.

  • Stephanie Johnsson says:

    To all the comments that ‘DISMISS’ this cruel treatment of animals you should be ashamed of yourselves. Humans are NOT more important than animals, like a child, animals are helpless, defensless and in need of TLC, what a shame you hard arses out there can’t see the bigger picture, that is mistreatment of animals, that needs to stop. Love and well wishes to PETA and all it’s supporters. Xxxx

  • Ben4816 says:

    While this would be simply a sad story if it occurred in the natural world, the fact that it happened here in captivity is unacceptable negligence. This was preventable. Sea World needs to be fined at the very least.

  • Unknown says:

    I feel really bad for the poor orca. How could watyer world just stand by while he is in so much pain.

  • wodahs20 says:

    Was so much stupid in these comments?!? Yes it happens in the wild, sometimes, but they whales where forced to stay in close proximity. Also @Sorana: Pigs, and cows are evolutionary breed to be eaten, if we didn’t farm them (and that is not to say that raising them should not be done humanly) they would likely be extict

  • Mystery (Joshua Flynn) says:

    I agree with “jimmy” because, we started many things with animals and nature, we’re destroying the Earth with our machines we don’t even need! All we need is food, water, and shelter, what if animals put us in captivity it’s just like prison but, worse, we get taken in while we’re innocent! This is just nature, animals fight just like humans do sometimes.

  • Melissa1125 says:

    These pictures literally make me want to throw up. Thinking about it, the pain that this poor Orca is going through makes me so mad. If that happened to you, how would you feel…I imagine it would be quite painful!!! But these pictures and this article remind me why I would love to see an Orca Whale…IN THE WILD, NOT CAPTIVITY!!!!

  • petaiskindofsilly says:

    that’s intense…except it was orca on orca violence…so why the hell does peta care

  • Estelle Oelofsen says:

    The difference dear Julinski, is, Animals are defenceless creatures. They cannot make a difference in their situations. “Human beings”, on the other hand, are supposed to have “souls” and “developed brains” – although I sometimes wonder when I see how humans treat each other, never mind animals – and were put “in charge” of things. Unfortunately we screwed up miserably. We can choose to change our situations and those of the animals we are “in charge” of. We can still make a difference! Somewhere it is written: “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” And Mahatma Ghandi said: “The moral worthiness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

  • jimmy says:

    @Julinski, ur a goof…Id much rather help animals over humans, who have brought all that is wrong in this world.

  • Kirsten says:

    Really? Really? Let the Orcas go? Do you all know what happened to Kieko, the orca that lived at the Oregon aquarium? They tried to let him go and he died. He starved to death following a fishing boat. Orcas are highly social animals just like horses, lions, wolves and us. They need to be together or else they get stressed. And just like horses, lions, wolves and people; social animals fight. Its normal. I’m sure the dolphin was given the best medical treatment out there. People think orcas and other dolphins are smiling nice creatures. Orcas will rip apart other sea mammals and leave the body to rot. Even ones that they don’t compete with for food. Like baby whales. They’ll hold them under water until they die. Its fun to them. You really think an animal like that isn’t more than willing to bite a chunck out of a tank mate’s face?

  • Julinski says:

    What’s the difference between this happenening in captivity and this happenening in the wild? PETA is a joke, we have millions of problem with HUMAN BEINGS, yet they want I solve problems with animals and attack Pokemon.

  • Sorana Stanciu says:

    I just hope that all the ppl saying here that all animals should be free also included the cows, pigs, sheep, horses, ducks, gooses etc in the same cathegory of animals that should and deserve to be free ! Just sayin’ !