Orcas Acting Out in Captivity

Tayler Davis and Alyssa Stukel


In the documentary Blackfish, Gabriela Cowperthwaite was successful in illustrating that animals (whales) act out when being kept captive by involving interviews with SeaWorld former trainers, stock footage to compare the whales in the wild and in captivity, and reenactments that show the lies SeaWorld told.

Interviews with the Trainers

Whales have been caught before: The image below shows an interview with Howard Garrett, an orca researcher. In this interview Howard explains the capturing of the Orcas. He says how they used speed boats and planes. They would use their bombs to herd the whales together. He then states how the orcas have been caught before and that they knew what was going on, so the adult whales without babies went East and the adults with babies went North to try to get away from them. This shows how smart the whales were and how they didn't want to be captured.

Stock Footage

Video from Sea World: The trainers try to get the whale to clam down and relax but they have a lot of trouble doing it and it takes several of Sea Worlds trainers to do it. This shows how the whales acted out in captivity even for no reason
Wild Life Footage: This clip in the documentary shows the peaceful side of the orcas especially with background music they chose to use while filming them. This demonstrates that in the wild the whales don't mind us. They will leave us alone as long as we leave them alone which is why they don't act up in the wild
Stock Footage from a Video Taken At Sea World: A whale jumps out of the water onto the platform that the trainer was standing on and tries to grab him, and the trainer tries to play it off by laughing as if it was a joke. This shows how the whales do act out in captivity because in the wild a whale would have never done that.


Reenactment of Court: The head trainer of Sea World claimed that they had no idea that Tlikum was capable of killing someone, and that he had shown no signs before that would make it seem like he would. Also when asked if she knew that he was capable of killing she deflected it onto rape. Saying that all men are capable of rape.

Reenactment of Baby Whales and The Adult Whales: Mom whales and baby whales always stay together in the wild. When Sea World had its first baby whale it became disruptive to some of the shows so they decided to sell the baby. Taking the baby away from its mother really upset her and she was screaming about it using long range vocals to communicate with the baby whale because that was her baby that they were taking away. If the whales would have been in the wild the baby would have never gotten taken away from her. She wouldn't have been acting out and screaming if they weren't at Sea World because the baby would have never gotten taken away.

Reenactment of Court: In this reenactment SeaWorld dodged and ignored the fact that Loro Parque was affiliated with SeaWorld at all. This was clearly a lie because the whales at Loro Parque was trained from SeaWorld and were from SeaWorld.