You might have heard the scuttlebutt over the recent report released by Cal-OSHA. Quotes hit the news since the California Industrial Relations Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Division completed an investigation into the November 2006 Sea World killer whale incident involving Kasaka and trainer Kenneth Peters and said that swimming with captive orcas “is inherently dangerous and if someone hasn’t been killed already it is only a matter of time before it does happen.”
Many years later, emergency protocols to handle such incidents remain poor in many establishments. Just how to you handle a out-of-control orca? It is a tough challenge to address in an aquatic environment with the size, agility, and strength of an orca…I asked did the trainer have an air tank on–and wouldn’t you know that is one of the recommendations Cal/OSHA made.
Mike Scarpuzzi (VP of zoological operations at Sea World) is quoted as saying they are the professionals. Since when does that exempt you from danger?
When I was offered a job to train orcas at Sea World, I had to think long and hard about it–and declined. Sea World coins terms and procedures regularly–and they keep changing over time. In the Frontline produced, “Whale of a Business” you can read some of the terms and about some of the killer whale incidents.
Working with predators is dangerous…don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Do stuffed orcas and choreographed water work with these majestic animals make the public believe otherwise?
Maybe the spin mitigates the reality so much that everyone will believe it…incidents making the news seem to be up and you can read more of my comments at arkanimals.com