Orcas: Forced into Captivity

By: Demetrius Snapp


In the film Blackfish, Gabriella Couperthwaite uses the film techniques: Pathos, and Stock/Historical footage of old commercials and videos of SeaWorld to successfully argue that Orcas are gentle and loving creatures but being put in captivity by the SeaWorld owners made them aggressive and angry.

Defining the Purpose

In the beginning of Blackfish, it shows Stock Footage of men from SeaWorld capturing Orcas out of the wild. They took the Orcas to SeaWorld where they will be trained to perform in shows and be put in captivity. Killer Whales became frustrated and started killing trainers and the main orca that does the murdering is a killer whale named Tilikum. In the documentary, experts say that Orcas have better emotional bonds with each other then any other mammal even humans, and they are truly gentle creatures. At the end of the documentary it showed the orcas let off into the wild and one of the experts say that they was very happy in the wild instead of in captivity.

Stock/Historical Footage

The image below shows a trainer getting attacked by a Killer Whale. In the incident the trainer was playing with the orca under no supervision which is against the rules at SeaWorld. While she was playing with it, out of nowhere the Killer Whale grabbed her foot and dragged her into the pool. The trainer got away luckily but in other attacks between Killer Whales and trainers, most of them died.

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Killed By A Frustrated Killer Whale

In another attack from a Killer Whale, A female trainer was killed by Tilikum. She was training him in front of a group of visitors and told him to do a lap around the pool. She blew a whistle which tells the Orca good job and come get some food but Tilikum didn't hear the whistle. When he cam back around he didn't see no food so he grew frustrated because he thought he did bad. When the trainer went in the water for bonding time, Tilikum dragged her underwater and killed her. SeaWorld owners blamed the death on her because she a ponytail.

The SeaWorld Commercial

In the documentary, they showed stock footage of a 1990 SeaWorld commercial of a mother orca giving birth. In the commercial, you can tell that the owners are trying to make it seem like the orcas are happy living in the park b showing the mother swimming around in the water with her baby. Right after the stock footage, the SeaWorld owners gave the baby to another park and the mother was crying for a very long time.


The image below shows a group of Killer Whales together in the pool. In the documentary, they did a study on an Orcas brain and found out that Killer Whales are very emotional and grows bonds with each other more than any other mammal even humans. This proves that being in captivity is affecting them a lot. They need to support each other in order to get the little happiness they can.

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SeaWorld Owners Are Bad People

In the documentary, the experts the filmmaker's interviewed was trying to persuade us that the people that own SeaWorld is the bad guys. SeaWorld owners have lied multiple times in court about Tilikum being a killer or not. When Tilikum killed that one female trainer, The SeaWorld owners placed the blame on the trainer saying she should of never had a ponytail in while she was in the pool. The owners are responsible for all the deaths and incidents that happened at the park and is the cause of all the Orcas pain.

Sympathy For Tilikum

In the documentary, they persuade me that I should feel bad for Tilikum. I should feel bad for Tilikum because he spent most of his life basically in captivity very lonely. He kills because he is aggravated and frustrated for being locked into a pool for most of his life. I do feel bad for Tilikum because he basically is in jail and I wouldn't want to be in the position that he is in.


This documentary was very moving, and disturbing. I felt sorry for the Orcas because they was took from their family and their homes and put in captivity, and I feel bad for the trainers that lost their lives to the frustrated and aggravated Orcas. I was enraged at the SeaWorld owners because they mistreated the Orcas by taking them out the wild and putting them in captivity, and for mistreating the trainers by putting them in dangerous predicaments and lying in court twice. After this documentary, I wouldn't support no amusement park that does this to animals and their own employees