Skip to content
All news
  • All news
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Corporates
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent bycatch
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Science
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
  • Stranding

Captive Orca Nakai Dies at SeaWorld San Diego

credit: SeaWorld San Diego An orca has died while in captivity at SeaWorld San Diego....
A fluke of a North Atlantic right whale lifts out of the water

Federal Proposal Aims to Protect Endangered Right Whales From Ship Strikes

For Immediate Release, July 29, 2022 WASHINGTON- The National Marine Fisheries Service proposed a rule...
Common bottlenose dolphin

100 bottlenose dolphins hunted in Faroe Islands

This morning, (July 29th), 100 bottlenose dolphins were killed in Skálafjörður on the Faroe Islands. The...
North Atlantic right whale. Photo by Regina Asmutis-Sylvia

Update on Snow Cone – Critically Endangered Right Whale Who Gave Birth Despite Chronic Entanglement

July 2022 - Fisheries and Oceans Canada has reported that Snow Cone was spotted on...

Mosquito Threat To Orcas In Captivity Revealed

WDCS, along with former SeaWorld orca trainers, John Jett and Jeff Ventre, has revealed newly-discovered evidence documenting the death of two orcas at SeaWorld facilities by mosquito-transmitted viral diseases, including the West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis viruses, at the 4th Florida Marine Mammal Health Conference held in the US from April 24-27th.

WDCS hopes that the poster presentation will focus attention on the unspoken and unseen risks to orcas in captivity due to the unnatural amount of time that they spend at the surface of the water in the shallow pools that they are forced to live in.

“We continue to be astonished at the serious information that is being discovered about the condition of orcas in captivity, and that hasn’t yet been shared with the public,” said Courtney Vail, campaigns manager for WDCS. “I think it is safe to say that no one would have thought of the risks that mosquitoes might pose to orcas in captivity, but considering the amount of time they unnaturally spend at the surface in shallow pools at these facilities, it is yet another deadly and unfortunate consequence of the inadequate conditions inherent to captivity.”

WDCS and others reported on these newly-discovered studies documenting the cause of death of both 25-year old orca Kanduke, who died in 1990 at SeaWorld Orlando due to St. Louis encephalitis virus, and Taku, a 14-year-old male orca held at SeaWorld San Antonio, who died after being fatally infected with the West Nile Virus in 2007.  Both viruses are transmitted via mosquito bite from an infected mosquito that carries the avian-borne virus.

“Logging (floating at the surface) was commonly witnessed while I was at SeaWorld, especially at night, which provided a static landing platform for mosquitoes,” said Dr. John Jett.  “Free ranging orcas, conversely, are on the move and not exposed to mosquitoes. They don’t remain still long enough and mosquitoes are weak fliers, limited to coastal areas. This information is an important introduction to a topic sure to raise eyebrows.”
 
As the compelling evidence regarding the devastating realities behind orcas in captivity continues to mount, WDCS encourages the public to make the right choice by not attending a marine park or aquarium that keeps whales and dolphins in captivity. WDCS is committed to exposing the reality of captivity and seeks an end to the confinement of whales and dolphins at marine parks around the world.

You can read the Jett and Ventre paper here

More on orcas in captivity.