Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Don't Tug On Superman's Cape

At SeaWorld in Orlando, an orca, aka Killer Whale, killed its trainer in front of an audience who paid to watch the show.

"Distraught audience members were hustled out of the stadium immediately, and the park was closed."

I bet. Little Mary and Johnny, come to see the cute big black and white critter will probably have a few nightmares to tell their shrinks about down the road.

Wait until those videos make their way back home: Yeah, we went to Disney World, saw Mickey and Donald; and to Epcot, and then we went to SeaWorld.

Check this out -- hit the lights there, wouldja, Martha ...

I believe we have had the discussion about people who taunt tigers, step into the lion's cage, or stand in a tub of salt water and stick their fingers into the 220-socket, and even though I shouldn't have to, I'm adding this one to that collection.

Which part of "killer whale" is unclear?

I'm sorry about the trainer, it's a tragedy, but there are a couple of factors that put this one into the are-you-out-of-your-mind? category. Tilikum, that's his name, the orca -- was already connected to two deaths. One was a guy who hopped the fence and into the tank, and probably died of hypothermia, but who had a few marks on him from his swimming pal; the other was in Victoria, B.C., where Tilikum used to live, when a trainer fell into the water with him and couple of his buddy orcas.

Now this woman in Florida was not in the water swimming with him, because of this guy's rep; however, she was close enough so he managed to hop far enough out of the tank to grab her and haul her under. Whether she drowned or he chomped her hard enough while shaking her to do her in isn't known yet.

Local police are calling it "an industrial accident."

Is it just me, or isn't the term "Killer Whale" a big enough red flag? Especially one who already done in a couple of folks? This isn't somebody's pet lap kitty, you are talking about an animal that will attack and eat a Great White Shark, and who can chomp you in half with one bite.

And who already got away with it a couple times. What, they are gonna cut his herring ration?

You want to get into the cage with the hand-reared White Tiger? Go right ahead. Live in a tent pitched in the feeding ground with the brown bears in Alaska? Be my guest. Swim with Shamu? Fine. If they eat you, it is your own damn fault. You should have known better.

ADDENDUM: And it is businss as usual down at SeaWorld, which owns twenty-five of the forty-odd orcas in captivity. Tilikum, all six tons of him, and his kin are big business. Worth millions, since you can't capture them in U.S. waters.

Want to bet the crowds will be standing in line to buy tickets to the killer whale shows down in Orlando?

Which one was it kilt the lady, Momma? That one? Think it'll get anybody today?

I don't know, son, we can only hope.

I don't blame the whale at all. He was just doing what his nature led him to do. And if they throw him a trainer now and then, the circus crowds -- using that word in the Roman sense -- will just keep on coming.


Anonymous said...

I’d have to agree.

My heart goes out to the family of the deceased.

That being said…

I’m afraid of Killer Whales. Not only are they big and strong, they are intelligent and very active. They are known as ‘Apex Killers’ because they have no known natural predators.

Put one in an enclosed space, muck about with it; even after it kills a human and you are just asking for trouble. If this whale were a dog that had tasted human blood, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The dog would be dead.

I checked: There Are No Known Attacks on Humans by Killer Whales in the Wild.

Dan Gambiera said...

Take a closer look at one sentence in the article:

It marked the third time the animal had been involved in a human death.

Third time? Shouldn't that have been, y'know, some kind of warning sign that there might be a problem?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right, Steve. I even felt sorry for "Sigmund and Leroy" [as Penn Jillette used to call them], and for Herzog's GRIZZLY MAN. No sane person wants to see such a thing happen. But whenever we dare nature not to flinch as we stick a hot poker in its face, we're tempting disaster.

Jonty said...

"You know they call them killer whales
But you seem surprised
When it pinned you down to the bottom of the tank
Where you can't turn around
It took half your leg and both your lungs
And I craved I ate hearts of
sharks, I know you know it

I'm a man man man man, man man man eater
But still you're surprised prised
prised when I eat ya"

-Neko Case, "People Got a Lot of Nerve"

Ed said...

So the Killer whale has a rep and they don't go in the water with it but stay around the edges within range of it - an animal that in the wild has been known to wound it's food to play with it and teach younger ones. Teasing comes to mind, especially when the animal is confined to a small area and that animal in particular has issues. Doesn't seem like good mix. Oh and add in a bunch of loud - fans - ouch!

Justthisguy said...

"wound its food..." etc. Don't people have any familiarity with the behavior of their domestic kitties? My kitty, before he retired, used to interrogate suspects all the time before executing them. It was done with love, he was purring all the time.

Ever scratch yer kitty on the tummy and have him get all clawful and toothy at you? That's an automatic threat response.

I mind some doodah who rubbed a "tame" cougar on the tummy and was surprised at being horribly revoltingly mauled. Some people just don't understand other critters.