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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.
  • lisa says:

    Really not surpised this has happened you dont need to be a genius to work out that something like this would happen sooner or later or one of them to be killed by another. America is one the richest biggest Countries in the world yet this is allowed to continue, quite unbelievable animals dont really have a chance in your Country god help them.

  • Herbert says:

    Seaworld: A world of criminals! Let the Orcas go, but first cure that ugly wound on that poor Orca. Seaworld= Hell for those beauties

  • Giggleclaire says:

    This makes me want to cry. Does no one remember “Free Willy”? I had to go to SeaWorld last summer because I went to a camp and we were required to go, I was trying to tell everyone the abuse that goes on behind the giant stages, but words are as convincing as pictures. As a native of the North Western United States I have always dreamed of seeing an Orca in the wild and they should NOT be kept in tiny wading pools where injuries like this can occur from fighting. Please stop SeaWorld, you make me sad.

  • Caroline Westbrook-Jones says:

    It is absolutely shocking and unforgivable these people are cruel, evil and barbarric they should be forcefully closed down, I would never ever go to sea World and support these greedy unscrupulous money grabbing vermin!

  • Pilar Mayor says:

    It is of an extreme cruelty to keep orcas in captivity just for the fun of human beings, it is a big shame, just wish to see these parks closing once and for all

  • Kathy Keen says:

    It is time to set these grand mammals free. I would rather see them die in their natural habitat with thier pods, than see them injured and die due to our selfish desire to see them at SeaWorld. thank you…

  • dasia cooper says:

    Hey this is just so miserable to just watch this happening to mother nature because not only PETA should try stopping this horrible abuse but we should BS trying too. why don’t somebody just call up the Whitehouse and ask what the president think about this and btw I bet Obama will win A.D. he should b stop this stupid crazy.people

  • mary says:

    we want all animals to be free… anycretures dont like to live in captivity!!! and any one hasn’t permission to choos for live of other creatures! they must be free, let them to go home.

  • dasia cooper says:

    Hey this is just so miserable to just watch this happening to mo

  • Against All Animal Abuse says:

    Incredible!! Disgusting!! How can people be so cruel. It is suppossed that these parks have veterninaries at their facilities and what are they doing about this?? These people run to the doctor and cry if they have just a simple cold, but they let an animal suffer with this wound in a tank full of salty water. These parks should be closed, “vet” personnel put into jail and owners imprisoned and fined. Let’s see if they know how to make a living without using animals for their own benefit.

  • fabiola Lores Zaleta says:


  • karenjean tranter says:

    this is absolutely discusting animal cruelty i will never take my children to sea world and will advised everybody that i can not to either these places should be banned and closed down , i am so sick of the countless animal abuse stories we will not accept abuse of our perious animals and sea life ever and will all ways SHOUT AND SPEAK OUT AND FIGHT FOR THE VOICELESS

  • Dianna C says:

    malditos insensibles egolatras posesivos

  • R.M.B. says:

    Please resolve this asap!!



  • RIGHTNJUST says:


  • RIGHTNJUST says:


  • Annette Spear says:

    I will not be returning to SeaWorld and neither will my family and most friends. This is cruelty to these remarkable animals beyond description.

  • shar f says:

    How sad…’s time to let these poor creatures go home.

  • Deborah Plaeger says:

    Orcas should not be in captivity. They should be allowed to venture freely. Accidents can happen with freedom as well, but this is “Mother Nature” not MAN. GIVE THEM THEIR FREEDOM!!!

  • karen king says:

    Extremely sad. why are parents taking their children to see these cruel “shows” STOP GOING Stop making money for Seaworld to continue and educate your children that all animals belong in their own habitat.

  • ai says:

    humanz are all living things!!…because we can?!

  • Rocco Sirico says:

    Shame on Sea World for hurting Orcas or any marine animals. I never visit the place

  • Suzannw Hanna says:

    It sickens me what human beings do for profit. No regard for precious life!

  • PAUL SAV says:

    This is absolutely disgusting, but i must admit that i am not surprised by this, these sealife centres have always put money before the animals welfare. People who want yo visit these places to hand over their hard earned cash, should think very carefully, JUST LOOK at the size of the wound, there are no skin grafts, plaster casts or stitches that will sort this out, can you imagine if one of the orca trainers were to have that much flesh or bone bitten off them? IF ANYONE is unsure about how inteligent, violent,cunning and deadly these creatures are, they should watch the film footage of these orcas in the wild, swimming around a small block of sea ice, creating a small tidal wave to dis-lodge a small seal which has taken refuge from the marauding killers and ANYONE who thinks orcas are happy swimming around a confined pool, doing tricks for tit-bits of food is deluded

  • John says:

    Let these orcas be free Maybe you’d like to live in a bathtub all your life!!! I will and anyone I know will never go to sea world or any, of these cruel inhumane places!!John

  • marit says:

    This has to stop!!all the animals should be taken away at once.

  • Maria says:

    Sensible peoples boycott all sea worlds.

  • Gilmar Miotto says:


  • Debbie says:

    This has to stop.

  • Laura Floccari says:

    this is insane!!! is nobody going to do nothing or what!!!! cure that poor orca !!!! and let her free!!! how can we do things like that we are completely inhuman!!!

  • Shirley Preston-Gouveia says:

    Seriously!!! The human race does not need to see these gorgeous creatures in captivity – they should be seen in the wild, we have no right to capture these or any creatures for the entertainment of the human race!!!

  • RUTH SMITH says:

    When are people ever going to learn.It is pure ignorance! All animals need to live in their own habitat. Captive humans made to perform and cruelly treated would not be allowed,if the people who exploit animals had the same treatment done to them perhaps it would make them understand that this is unacceptable.Animals have feelings too you know!

  • Nicholas says:

    Stop the expoitation of whales breed them, then free the or let them stay free.

  • Simon says:

    What can I say…??? SAD SAD SAD!!!

  • Lievix says:

    Why keep animals in tanks? There are so many lovely documentaries about them living in their own habitat! 100 years ago, people went to a zoo to see animals they couldn’t see in real life. Now there’s no excuse anymore. A 3 year old knows what a monkey/elephant/giraffe looks like. With the future of 3D technology, he/she can see a tiger jumping at her! So why keep these animals caged! Sad story is that – if we’d all decide to let them roam free in their homelands – they’d die… Not knowing how to search for food! But we can at least stop the import of wild animals! We have to start somewhere…

  • Gloria says:

    Stop the insanity !!! When are we going to quit caging and beating and training poor wild animals,etc. They ask for nothing, yet we keep hurting them…leave them alone to live in peace!

  • Victoria says:

    Is there an action for this or the possibility of having a billboard advertising this terror for Orcas? They should be ashamed of the image they project as animal abusers

  • Darin says:

    How sadly that these killer whales or even Orca have been suffered like slave or prisoner! Let them GO FREE!! God made them! Do you have no compassion with these creatures??

  • jeannette marriott says:

    The owners of seaworld dont care about animals…they only care how much money they can make. There is no difference between them and circuses… they both make thousands out of the suffering the animals go through on a daily basis.These animals deserve to be looked after in a proper way. Better still close all shows like seaworld down and consign these shows to the history books where they belong!!

  • Disgusted says:

    I suggest Blackstone, the owners of Sea World, and anyone attending the shows be given a huge gash across their face and then be forced to lay all day in salt water. That must feel horrible. Poor abused animals. Man is the worst species ever created.

  • Wendy Hervey says:

    This is the saddest picture of the most beautiful mammal in the ocean…except he is not in the Ocean is he??? Why do you think their dorsal fins flop over in captivity? They are not happy. period. Look how many people have been killed. Would you like to be a wild creature and then captured and confined and then made to perform? For people’s amusement? Sea World never needed to have been allowed to open in the first place! Close it down and reintroduce the Orca’s back into the wild where they belong. They live in Pods, are social and mate for life. Guess what else? If you are ignorant enough to kill their mates and are at sea, they will hunt you down and kill you. Proven fact here. Sea world, you disgust me for all that you do to harm the animals, mammals etc. How badly does this poor Orca hurt daily? You can’t tell huh? Because you feel just fine. He will be very lucky if he lives at all. Ever looked into (really looked) into an Orcas eyes? They look into your soul. Yes another proven fact and yes I’ve done it as well. It was truly amazing. Stop abusing these great creatures. God will punish you for what you’ve done. Bet on it.

  • cecilia grignaffini says:

    this is a cruelty!

  • cecilia grignaffini says:


  • BB Hoyt says:

    Sea World has a “horrible” record for the misuse and mis-handling of Orcas. They should be CLOSED DOWN! The company that runs/owners Sea World is just into it for the money and does not care about these Orcas. This injured Orca may not survive this terrible injury. NO ONE should go to Sea World.

  • Kimberly says:

    To SeaWorldSupporter: Do you have a clue about Orca’s. LISTEN UP AND LEARN. Their sonar is bounced off the POOL WALLS. You should read up on how they live in the wild versus captivity. There are so many points stupid ignorant people like yourself have no clue. Here are some facts that your small brain cannot handle: Here is just ONE STORY YOU DON’T THINK TO RESEARCH :They are captured and then flown thousands of miles to Russia, Canada, Iceland. Keiko (1977 – December 12, 2003) was an orca who starred in the first of three Free Willy movies. Keiko died on December 12, 2003 after beaching himself during the night, pneumonia was later determined as the probable cause of death. Keiko was captured near Iceland in 1979 and sold to the Icelandic aquarium in Hafnarfjörður. Three years later, he was sold to Marineland Canada, where he first started performing for the public and developed skin lesions indicative of poor health On September 9, 1998, Keiko was flown to Klettsvik Bay in Vestmannaeyjar in Iceland, and gradually reintroduced to the wild, returning to the open sea in July 2002. Keiko died on December 13, 2003, at the age of 27 years. Look on any page to see how these Orca’s handle being captured and then you come back to this page with your KNOWLEDGE of how they react to being captured to perform for you. I WONDER WHY 3 PEOPLE HAVE DIED. Could it possibly mean their happy? REad and then write your dribble

  • Elizabeth Palumbo says:

    I can’t for the life of me understand the cruelty in man’s behavior towards another species. Absolutely breaks my heart beyond belief to see this beautiful mammal confined to such a depressing life. He should live the life God intended him to live. Man in his greed will one day catch up to him. Especially for all the suffering he has put onto another living species. We are shameful to turn our backs like it doesn’t matter. PETA help to heal these whales and set them free, PLEASE!!!!!!

  • Kimberly says:

    This is so wrong. These mammals that are injured and still perform states alot about Sea World. MONEY MONEY MONEY at the expense. The directors and owners know the worth of these magnificent creatures. They can be caught, even know a huge percentage of them die in capture. They are taken from the pods which consist of generations of Orca’s. Along with the Taiji Dolphin Base, these animals are just MONEY MAKERS. These horrible people don’t know what horror these animals go thru if they are lucky to survive at all. Just avoid all animal parks, circuses, and any animal shows. These Orca’s are fed frozen fish, confined to a small pool where their sonar is bounced off walls and comes back to hurt their ears. Shut down SEA WORLD. After people understand the stress they endure I’m sure would WISE up and stop going. If enough protests happen we can work to close them down for good. ALL HAIL ANIMALS AND MAMMALS ALIKE.

  • Joan Marks says:

    This situation needs to be corrected and clear overseeing of these Orcas so as to maintain their safety and health. If closing Sea World is necessary, I say do it. These mammals need not to be subjected to such conditions – they are wild animals and need their space.

  • Theresa Szpila says:

    I never thought it was a good idea to keep orcas and belugas in captivity. It just seemed all wrong to me. Now that I know so much more about these majestic, intelligent and highly social animals, I find their plight in captivity absolutely heartbreaking. The levels of stress these animals are forced to endure would not be inflicted upon prisoners of war. So why does SeaWorld think it okay to torture orcas? Truly, greed knows no bounds. SeaWorld will not stop breeding and “showing” orcas until their customer base refuses to spend their money to attend them. There is no “education” for the public in watching these magnificent whild animals perform circus tricks. There is nothing in it for the animals and only cheap thrills for the audiences. Orcas and belugas deserve better. Much better. My sympathies are with Nakai and all the other orcas (and trainers) who have suffered and died at SeaWorld and other seaquaria over the past 50 or so years.