Posted: Nov 29, 2013 2:48 am
by Rachel Bronwyn
This was Keiko's seapen in Iceland:


Which was eventually dismantled and he was given access to the whole bay:


He never resumed living life as a wild orca and may have lived longer were he kept under human care in that setting. I think his life was inarguably better in that setting than Tilikum's is now.

The problem is orca are extremely social. Tilikum doesn't have great rapport with any of the other orca he interacts with and hasn't since Taima died but at least he has same species companionship sometimes. Other times you just see him gnawing on the gates (hence his atrocious teeth) that keep him separated from others. He might never interact with orca again if he were relocated to a sea pen for care.

It's not as though any of the other orca in captivity wouldn't be better off in larger, more natural environments though. While their releasability isn't good their lives can be improved immensely without leaving human care. They don't need to be separated for that. We just have to do better for them.