Frequently Ask Questions

What is Captivity?

The state of being imprisoned, confined and/or enslaved.

What is a Sea Pen?

A netted off area of the ocean which allows for the ocean currents to go through and provide a natural living environment for marine mammals that are being rehabilitated and/ or providing a temporary alternative to captivity.

What is Marineland?

A themed amusement and animal park located in Niagara Falls Ontario. It is currently home to the solo killer whale (orca) Kiska. The park has been surrounded by controversy due to the firing and suing of the “Whistle Blowers”.

What are Whistle Blowers?

The Marineland Whistleblowers refers to the 15 ex-employees of the park who were sued by the owner of Marineland, John Holer for speaking out against the park’s treatment of its mammals. Marine Mammals: Marine mammals are divided into four groups: Cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), sirenians (manatees, Dugongs), Pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, walruses) and fissipeds (polar bears and two species of otter). They all rely on the ocean for existence, some more than others.

What are Southern Resident Orcas?

The southern resident killer whales are comprised of three pods – J-pod, K-pod and L-pod .Each pod has a unique dialect; however, there are some characteristics of the dialect that are shared between all of them. The pods can be found in the waters of the Salish Sea which includes the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Strait of Georgia, and Puget Sound, and all their connecting channels and adjoining waters. They are also seen in the San Juan Islands in Washington State and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia.

What are Transient Orcas?

The transient orcas eat mostly other marine mammals and travel in smaller tightly knit family pods. They are found to have more triangular shaped dorsal fins. Their territory is largely found to be along the west cosal regions spanning between California, USA to Northern Canada.

What are Offshore Orcas?

As their name suggests these whales are largely found far offshore and predominantly feed on schools of fish, though some suggest otherwise. Their family pods are large numbering anywhere between 20-100. These orcas have been found to have a different genetic make up that other Orcas.

What are Dialects?

Similar to human speech, Orcas communicate in different ways to one another. Each sub-species have a different ‘tone’ and outlaying orcas from different groups may find a communication barrier. In captivity, Orca housing is not based on pod structure nor are dialect considered in captive homing, therefore often times you will find killer whales from different pods or sub species put together in tanks at marine parks. This can lead to communication barriers that breed frustrations and results in attacks and tormenting.

What are rakes?

“Raking” is when one animal rubs their teeth in an aggressive manner across another’s body. This is an act of hostility, can lead to serious damage on an animal’s skin and usually causes bleeding.

Why do people say Orcas are intelligent?

Orcas are observed to be in tightly knit family pods. Their ability to communicate through a series of clicks and whistles leads scientists to believe they have an extensive ability for linguistics. Often, animals that exhibit “bored behavior” do so out of an inability to keep stimulated. “Bored Behavior” can sometimes be violent, irritating, or just plain annoying. Orcas do this because they are incredibly intelligent and their trained behaviors become “boring” and repetitive. They are seen to be emotionally intuitive as testified by many killer whale trainers. Orcas are known to engage in ‘teaching behaviors’ where older pod members with show younger members how to hunt and kill prey. All these factors and many more lead scientists, trainers and observers to state that Orcas are highly intelligent.

What is a pulpectomy?

The act of drilling out the tooth’s pulp to prevent infection. Usually done after tooth decay. It requires daily flushing to ensure cleanliness.

Why do Orca’s have teeth damage in tanks?

This is because orcas often rub and gnash their teeth against metal bars that are used to separate one tank from another. They do this out of boredom, aggression to another whale or frustration.