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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.
  • Juniper says:

    For all those who claim I am wrong. The caretakers at seaworld love these creatures i’ve been backstage and they love them. Perhaps the board of directors of the park just want their $…but those that care for the creatures…they truly love them. They spend hours taking care of them, feeding them, and playing with them. Most of the creatures taken like I said are creatures that COULD NOT be put back in the ocean. Some of you say “put them back in the sea where they belong. What is wrong with you? They would DIE. They don’t know how to live on their own anymore so if you do put them in the sea…you will have dead Orcas. And as for the other dog trainer…every trainer is different in their approach. However it is like the training the orcas because the orcas have Markers they respond to for their training and get rewards just like a dog does through the use of positive reiforcment. Now it could be different if your a trainer that uses choke collars and electric collars and punishment yes it is deffinitly different because training isn’t abuse. You guys cannot say I am wrong unless you have worked or you volunteer at these parks. McDonalds in the park doesn’t count…

  • Nancy says:

    Unfortunately these animals, very likely, would never be able to make it in the wild. Some of them were born in captivity. In any case, I feel sorry for the lives they are forced to live. 🙁

  • Shirin van Lare says:

    No animal should be kept in captivity for human entertainment. For those people who say they are kept safe from being killed; why don’t you lock up your children, they could be run over, killed… Life is for living and no human or animal should live life in captivity.

  • cheryl alley says:

    would u put your child in that situation? you should be ashamed of yourselves for allowing this to happen! Human or animal…either way is wrong!!!

  • Jaimee says:

    This is horrific!!! Something needs to be done.

  • Susie says:

    This goes to the dog trainer. I’ve trained many many years. Training dogs cannot in any way or form could/should be compared to training wild marine mammals. Rescue work is great, rehab them and set them free. No TANK is big enough for marine life, especially Orcas I will NEVER step foot in a marine wildlife show, or a circus, or any other place that exploits animals of any kind.

  • Sarah Dydymski says:

    These animals need to be freed! :(((

  • Firemage says:

    Juniper, do you think SeaWorld takes these creatures in for the benefit of the animals or their wallets? If they had any real interest in the well-being of animals, they wouldn’t keep them in such tiny enclosures and wouldn’t train them to dance to the amusement of slack-jawed gawkers.

  • Grammy Sue says:

    Juniper, your information is incorrect. these mamls are bought from other Marine-mamal Parks.there have been other incidents involving Nakai.

  • Liz says:

    I am disgusted at this and ashamed to be called a civalised human being WHY DO WE DO THIS ??? poor creature what I want to know is why if they are such a caring loving they didnt see this right away and administrate 1st aid to this creature shame shame shame on them

  • Leslie Nichols says:

    Seaworld shame on you.

  • Kim says:

    this is one of the most horrible things I have ever seen, they should know enough about these animals to keep them apart, I’m not an expert but I know that. I hope that they are ashamed of themselves!!!!

  • lisa legatos says:

    1st of all, was the severed section ever retrieved from the pool? (2 try & possibly stitch? somehow? 2nd, Has this ever occured here before?, and 3rd, Where is Sea worlds explanation in this all?

  • Janis Vargas says:

    This is disgusting. Poor animals.

  • Tabitha Micalizzi says:

    That poor boy! It is disgusting how animals are treated, not only at Sea World, but the circus and every other place that keeps them for “entertainment”! I wish someone would put a stop to it once and for all! I will never take my kids to Sea World, especially after seeing this!! I really hope he gets the medical attention he needs!

  • Juniper says:

    Ok calm down everyone. I agree this is horrid and the park needs to house these creatures in seprete areas so this never happens again. But these creatures are usually taken from the sea when they are injured or harmed by hunters. They rehab them and keep them safe and teach them simple tricks much like you would teach a dog. I am a dog trainer with credits for over 5 years. I love all animals, but you can’t blame the park for taking these animals in and “imprisoning them”. That is ridiculous, these creatures are given plenty of food, love, and activities. For you to claim their held against their will is going above and beyond. But I do agree something must be done ASAP about them being together. Their much to large for that. House them in tanks apart from each other but so they can see each other if they want to.

  • Tabitha Micalizzi says:

    That poor boy! It is disgusting how animals are treated, not only at Sea World, but the circus and every other place that keeps them for “entertainment”! I wish someone would put a stop to it once and for all! I will never take my kids to Sea World, especially after seeing this!! I really hope he gets the medical attention he needs!

  • Pheonix Haven says:

    These animals should of never been put in captivity at all for the world to see.They should be in thier own enivoment where they were born.These animals are dieing and no one seems to care.They just want to look at them over and over in tanks or cages.I never been to a zoo of any kind and never will cause it upsets me seeing our wild world of animals trapped and dieing.Humans dont even take care od domestic animals either thrown out like yesturdays trash.This world doesnt care for nothing just greed and wealth.Money just paper and metal that you trade for food and objects.Free tha animal back where they belong and also help the animals in shelters.Find them homes.People make me sick not caring for anything.

  • Roseanne Silva says:

    This has got to be looked into, these kind of injuries must not continue and if they must close them down for the safety and well being of these great mammals then they must.

  • Monika Kielan says:

    This is apalling. No amount of money earned by Sea World can justify this type of blatant regard for animal welfare what is being done to fix this. Shame on you Sea World.

  • Shelly says:

    After much debate, I agreed to go to Seaworld with a friend and her family. While there, we watched the Orga’s and in particular the one that is in this story. I watched as he aimlessly circled the tank he was in and it was upsetting to watch. In some ways I’m glad I went because it reinstated for me why I don’t go to Seaworld and why I have been against it for so long.

  • Joan ilott says:

    Well done PETA. You do such a fantastic job In highlighting and representing unfortunate animals. Thank you for being their voices and being proactive.

  • Martha Yeager-Cronin says:

    I am so heartbroken to see this. If the animals are kept safe and happy I am not against these parks. They are safe from poachers and being killed brutally out in the open sea. However if this negligence and obvious uncaring for the well being of such magnificent creatures is occurring than they should not have the right to have the honor to care for such amazing animals. All decision makers who allowed the whales to be kept together should be fired and punished to the fullest extent of the law and new management and employees brought in who actually do care about the well being and happiness of these creatures. PETA please send updates as you find them on how Nakai is doing. I pray for all the whales and animals for complete healing and better care and treatment.

  • Maria Holmes says:

    I don’t understand…. Don’t these places have vets on standby to assist with injured animals? Are they happy to just parade them to the public for money without a care in the world for the animals’ well being? Obviously yes….

  • Ellie says:

    Sea World gets away with things like this because they can. They’re so big and hide so many deaths. Trainers who worked there wrote a book on the inside of Sea World. People can’t distinguish the differece between orcas. They all look the same to us.

  • Gary garing says:

    This is apalling. No amount of money earned by Sea World can justify this type of blatant regard for animal welfare what is being done to fix this. Shame on you Sea World.

  • Gail Lynch says:

    I haven’t visited Sea World in over 25 years, and now I know why. I canceled Sea World off my bucket list long ago. This needs attention ASP. If not, then Sea World needs to be fined. I wish these beautiful creatures could go back into the sea, but they will not likely be successful living in the wild at this point in their lives. Someone at Sea World needs to give a shit, and do the right thing. Stop capturing animals from the wild for stupid, human entertainment. If only we could spend some time to save such animals in the ocean as well. People need to leave well enough alone, and stop screwing with our environment and the animals that live in it. Plain and simple.

  • GMT says:

    all this crap of zoo and circus and rodeo and corrida should be banned from our and their lives for good. anthropocentrism my ass!

  • valerie sanchez says:

    It’s nasty to see how these poor creatures are captured and treated just to entertain folks. Something needs to be done to prevent this horrible treatment!!!!!

  • Deanna garcia says:

    Can we write a letter to sea world or local Animsl rights activist there who can contact local authorities? poor baby boy:(

  • Marisol Gore says:

    Stop this cruelty, you bastards!!

  • Lia Arias says:

    We all living things have the right to repect and freedom, dont be heartless!!!

  • Johanne Fréchette says:

    L’abus et la maltraitance de l’homme faits aux animaux sont inacceptables et devraient être condamnés. Je n’ai aucune tolérance aux mauvais traitements administrés aux animaux.

  • Rita Shaffer says:

    Can this possibly be true? How can a well-known place like Sea World get away with this type of treatment of these beautiful mammals? Notwithstanding the fact that these mammals shouldn’t even be enclosed and trapped in such a way!

  • Mhairi says:

    I still want to know if he could get stem cell therapy.. like this article reads

  • Rubi90 says:

    i would like to do the same with you.

  • Mark Modisette says:

    Say no to SeaWorld – if people stop going they won’t have parks like this.

  • Pamela says:

    If a private citizen let their domestic pet run about with such a horrific injury they would be charged with animal cruelty.

  • Aria says:

    This is awful. And this comes so closely after the Marineland, Niagara Falls reports of insufficient care. Something needs to change here. And fast. These beautiful animals should not have to suffer.

  • Elayne says:

    BAN SEAWORLD!!! STOP THIS TORTURE of all the ANIMALS in Captivity!!!

  • British Pixie says:

    Then people wonder why Peta, other organizations and animal lovers make such a fuss over how our co-inhabitants on this Planet are treated. THAT is an unbelievably gruesome wound and must be extremely painful for that beautiful orca. And all this just so inhumane bastards who own zoos and aquariums can make a few pounds at the misery and suffering of animals kept as slaves against their will. The REAL ANIMALS are Human Beings.

  • virginia says:

    No more suffering animals.

  • asha says:

    Come on sea world…ReAlly????disgusting!!!you are no better than any other animal abusers!!!I think charges should be brought against your company!!!

  • Raynor Allen says:

    Stop this!

  • theresa brown says:

    I think something should be done they should not be allowed to keep them they should be free

  • Serina Abercrombie says:

    this is so sad!!! leave these Orcas and other animal in zoos and marine parks in the wild!! the people running Sea World and places like it don’t truly care about these animals just how well the turn a profit! if you want to see marine animals go to a marine sanctuary where these animals are being helped not kept captive for entertainment and harmed!!!

  • Lori says:

    After seeing these photos, I will not go or support sea world in anyway! Stop this abuse!!!!

  • ken says:

    Its the disgusting money hungry corporations that own these water parks! stop them! go after them!

  • Melissa says:

    Why in the world do people support and visit these places.. they should be outlawed. Just let nature do it’s job, keep animals where they belong. we wouldn’t want ppl coming and taking our children, family, or even ourself and forcing them to live in prisons. so why do we keep doing this to animals. And Zoos are the worst lets not even get started on them….

  • Kati7979 says:

    Why these horrors happen? Stop animal torturing!