Thursday, February 25, 2010
Whale: 3, Humans: 1,000s
My sister called me from Vancouver today and we landed up talking about the "serial killer whale" , Tilly, who as of yesterday has killed three people. My sister and I grew up off Vancouver Island where it was common for us to see whales beside us in the wild when we were out fishing or on the ferries or kayaking. Whale sightings are as familiar to me as seeing the rabbits and raccoons in downtown Chicago. I even went to many of the whale displays in aquariums growing up. So...as soon as my sister brought up the recent captive killer whale killing I said "whale 3". (her husband in the background was quite flabbergasted by my flippant taking the whales side). Sorry.
The last time I went to a "whale show" was in the late 90's at the aquarium shown in the video above. I went with my friend Suz who grew up in Montreal and had never seen a whale. We got our tickets for the last show of the day and as we sat in the audience the whale refused to play fetch or work the pool, instead yelling for fish at one of the feeding gates. I thought they should just let the whale eat. The whale asking for food was pretty cool in and of itself. What a voice! As a matter of fact, the trainers announced that they let the whale decide if they want to play for the audience or not. Usually a whale will perform a couple of shows but by the end of the day they want to pack it in. Gee, it sounded very similar to how most of us feel after a hard day at work. When you pay the massive entry fee for the Vancouver Aquarium, the ticket seller makes sure a visitor knows there is no promise of a whale performance. They actually stopped calling it performance a long time ago. So we watched the whale ask for food for about 20 minutes and then left. As we were leaving outside the aquarium there was a family of five talking to the aqaurium manager asking for their money back. The manager was trying to explain that they don't believe in forcing the whales to perform or work...they set up games and sometimes the whales play and sometimes they don't. The family wanted their money back. The manager said it was not returnable and they make sure visitors don't expect a show. The family continued to complain. The manager said, we can't force the whales to perform, they are animals. The family said "but we're animals too!".
Suz and I laughed about that all day. "But we're animals too!"...like that should give them the right to get their money back? Actually, we've laughed about it all the time for the last ten years. The Vancouver Aquarium no longer has killer whales in capitivity and is just housing the Beluga whales they've had and phased out performances.
Poor Tilly the killer whale. I don't blame him for taking a bite out of our asses. Whale:3.