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Orcas Live in Oceans

Killer whales, more properly known as orcas, have been kept in captivity since 1961, helpless victims of a blatantly commercial experiment which has seen dozens of wild orcas plucked from their families and forced to live in artificial social groupings which bear scant resemblance to their natural order.
munchkin corporation's toy orca

Munchkin Inc., the award-winning, global baby product company, announced November 9th a kick-start pledge of $1 million to help build a coastal ocean sanctuary in the United States for captive orcas if SeaWorld agrees to free its orca, Tilikum, to be the first occupant. Along with that pledge, Munchkin is launching the “Orcas Live in Oceans” campaign in collaboration with Whale and Dolphin Conservation. The campaign includes multiple levels of commitment by Munchkin as well as opportunities for people world-wide to support the cause.

Steven Dunn, CEO and founder of Munchkin, personally reached out to SeaWorld requesting the release of Tilikum (the Orca made famous in the documentary “Blackfish”) to become the first inhabitant of the ocean sanctuary that would be built with funds kick-started by Munchkin’s $1 million donation.

“Munchkin is proposing an alternative solution for the current marine park model,” said Dunn. “We are pledging $1 million to build an ocean sanctuary in the U.S. if SeaWorld agrees to free Tilikum upon completion.”

In addition, Munchkin is removing its orca from the company’s top-selling Sea Squirt Bath Toy Collection.

“Here at Munchkin, we’re putting our principles before profits to help raise awareness for this cause,” said Dunn. “After 10 years of including a toy orca as part of our top-selling Sea Squirt Bath Toy collection, Munchkin will no longer include an orca in the set because a bathtub just isn’t big enough for an orca.”

Additionally, from November 9th through November 16th, 2015, 100% of all proceeds from sales at www.munchkin.com will be donated to WDC, with Munchkin offering free shipping on all orders for that week.

Call to Action

To kick-start the “Orcas Live in Oceans” campaign, Munchkin has produced a video that is now live at Orcas Live In Oceans. The moving video ignites a call to action to cease the commercialization of these majestic mammals and allow them to live the rest of their lives happily and safely in natural coastal ocean sanctuaries. Munchkin encourages all to help support their efforts by visiting www.munchkin.com/OrcasLiveInOceans for additional information on how to donate to the cause. Concerned supporters can also follow the #OrcasLiveinOceans conversation on Facebook.com/Munchkin, on Twitter @Munchkin_Inc, and on Instagram @munchkininc.

“As a father of two and business owner, I’ve always felt a responsibility to lead by example,” said Dunn. “The entire Munchkin team believes that with success comes an obligation to contribute to a better world for future generations. It is time for us to take action and return these beautiful creatures to their rightful home – the ocean.” 

There are currently (October 2015) a total of 58 orcas held in captivity (24 wild-captured plus 34 captive-born) in at least 14 marine parks in 8 different countries.

At least 151 orcas have been taken into captivity from the wild since 1961 (including Pascuala and Morgan). 

  • 127 of these orcas are now dead.  
  • In the wild, male orcas live to an average of 30 years (maximum 50-60 years) and 46 years for females (maximum 80-90 years).
  • At least 162 orcas have died in captivity, not including 30 miscarried or still-born calves.
  • SeaWorld holds 24 orcas in its three parks in the United States and owns (at least) a further four at Loro Parque in Spain (ownership of Adan and Morgan not verified). At least forty-four orcas have died at SeaWorld.
  • One of the most infamous capture incidents saw over 80 whales from the Southern Resident population of orcas in Washington State rounded-up at Penn Cove in 1970. Seven were taken into captivity while as many as five whales died. Today this population is recognised as endangered. Only one captured whale, Lolita, is still alive, held at Miami Seaquarium.
  • The longest surviving orca in captivity is Corky, captured in 1969 from the Northern Resident population that inhabits the waters around Vancouver Island, Canada. She is held at SeaWorld in San Diego. None of her seven offspring in captivity have survived. Her family (known as the A5 pod) continue to thrive in the wild, including Corky's brother, Fife, who you can adopt to help support our work.
  • At least 14 orcas have been taken from the wild into captivity since 2002, most recently in Russia.

Please help WDC keep orcas safe and free in the wild...

The facts about orcas in captivity in figures

Orcas in captivity infographic

The growing uneasiness with the concept of keeping orcas in captivity has only been increased by the renowned documentary Blackfish, documenting the reality of the captives' existence. Despite the best attempts of the display industry to blow a smokescreen over such negative publicity, the wider world is now increasingly aware that all is not well in fantasy-land. In recent years, first a trickle, then a steady torrent, of incidents have been reported. A growing catalogue of 'accidents', illnesses, failed pregnancies and premature deaths that have helped to show up this industry for the cruel circus that it really is.

Support our work to end captivity. Adopt an orca today.