SeaWorld: Trainers and Orcas Bond

Daylen Foster & Bianca Villa


In the documentary "Black Fish" Gabriela Cowperthwaite is successful in demonstrating that even though the trainers and animals were put in a bad predicament, the trainers still had relationships with the orcas. They showed this by interviews with the trainers, footage of the whales in the wildlife/capacity with footage of the trainers training with the whales, and their opinions on SeaWorld.

Defining the purpose

Blackfish is a documentary about the recent death of Dawn Brancheau, one of SeaWorld's most experienced and loved trainers. They speak upon the situation and how this wasn't the first death with the orcas. Even through the excruciating pain the trainers endured with the losses of their fellow trainers, their love for the orcas is still evident. They can't control how SeaWorld keeps the orcas captive and their actions are unpredictable. Throughout the documentary, the filmmaker emphasizes the awe in the trainers with their jobs and their interactions with the orcas. We can see that not only are the orcas being treated badly through SeaWorld but so are the trainers. SeaWorld purposely keeps the incidents a secret or sugar coat it so the trainers aren't scared away.

Stock Footage

Trainers interacting with the orcas: The image below shows that in the beginning of the documentary it showed the relationships between orcas and trainers and how they care for the animals.

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Showing different news cast lying about the story: People lie about anything they are told even though they know its a lie. The fact that the news cast lied about the incident encouraged the trainers that it wasn't serious.
Orcas getting captured in the wild: The poor animals didn't ask to be captured and little did they know what they were getting into but with the help of the trainers, they were able to interact and get along with them just fine. But of course they are from the wild, they are unpredictable.

Trainer Interviews

Trainers asked why they do their jobs: In the image below it shows a former trainer being interviewed on why she chose doing what she does. Not only is she passionate about training the orcas but so is every other trainer. They all knew what they wanted to do as a child and grew up to work with orcas and build bonds with them.
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Trainers found out about what really happened to the other incidents: SeaWorld lied to their own trainers about other accidents at other locations just so the trainers weren't thrown off. When they heard that the trainers got killed it obviously took a toll on them but their love for the orcas was still there because their just animals.
Before SeaWorld: Trainers were asked what made them chose the jobs and at some point they all went to SeaWorld as a child and fell in love with the animals from then and pursued to be a trainer with orcas. They honestly have unbreakable bonds because they interact with them on a daily basis and it's more than just a show.


Trainers input on what happened to Dawn: In the image below shows one of the trainers emotions to what happened to Dawn and he's clearly upset at it. Dawn was one of the best and it proves that anything could happen, doesn't matter who you are. Even through all of this each and every trainer continues to care for the orcas, why? Because it's not easy giving up on animals when all their lives they know to depend on them.
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Perspectives on Tilikum: Everyone knew that Tilikum has hurt more than one person and some think that it will continue to happen and some thought that it was just single incidents and accidents happen. After all orcas are just animals and can't help but act out sometimes and the trainers understand that and are willing to have their lives on the line for these animals.
Captivity on orcas: Each former trainer and current trainers think that the way the orcas are held overnight is doing more harm than good. They are kept in metal boxes half of their lives and that eventually takes a toll on them emotionally and mentally. The trainers are very much aware that their captivity should be changed but SeaWorld doesn't care and the trainers just want the best for these animals.


This film was very efficient on capturing the audiences attention. Like they say, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. In SeaWorld that is exactly what happened. I feel extremely bad for what is happening and glad that they just decided that there won't be anymore orcas in SeaWorld. But this is only the beginning, there are zoo's and aquarium's that hold animals captive and stole them from their wildlife. Their all in it for the money and don't think about the poor animals. I can't say that I wont go to the zoo, but I will most definitely think about what the animals go through and how they shouldn't be held against their will. After watching this film. society as a whole should be more aware and wake up to reality that if we were held captive like these animals, we would go insane. So why should we do it to them? They need to be out in the wild so they could actually enjoy their lives like we do.