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.





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15 comments:

tweetey30 said...

That is sad when you think of it.. I love watching shows like that but still its hard to know they can get mean and attack.. Sure they have the trainer there but what happens if they want to hurt the trainer..

Candy Minx said...

Hee hee...see I don't see the whale as "getting mean". I see the whale getting whale.

Chris Rock has a routine about the tiger attacking it's trainers Sigfried/Roy....actually I'm going to add the Chris Rock routine on to this post...

Beej said...

a whale getting whale, yup, thats how I look at it, too.

My daughter and I both just finished watching thew second video. Shannon actually jumped up on the bed when the whale first breached. hahaha!

Candy Minx said...

Oh yeah, Beej, that video of the Humpback whales under the boat....sheesh. I like how the guys are asking "um, should we go?" And I'm kinda like, those whales are three times the size of their little motorboat...what if they felt like jostling...bump...oops...

You know a similar thing happens in the city too. I see a bunch of cop cars up a street and some people walk towards them. I always go the exact opposite way. Who gets shot, the innocent bystander. A couple years ago in Torotno on the east end the cops had surrounded a whole block and a particular house...like a swat team...and thi s woman comes up the street with her two yr. old. I was actually hiding in between houses. I had to go blocks out of my way. I hauled the woman down a side street. She was totally going to walk by the swat team.

Beej said...

once I was driving my daughter home from school and we stopped at a red light. I glanced to my right where there was a bank and the entire place was surrounded by police, each down on one knee, their guns aimed at the bank itself. Yup there wasa robbery going on. We were first in line at the light and I wanted so badly to just go thru that light and get outta there, but traffic was too heavy.
The guy who kept saying lets go..i was with him! Man, it terrified me just to watch it!

Underground Baker said...

That last grey whale clip was cracking me up! Those whales were totally messing with those guys.

I also love the killer whale clip with the kayakers. There is nothing so amazing as to be on the water with whales swimming close by. Completely intimidating and magical.

Ahhh.

Come on over for banana bread if you like...not that you will make it, but there are pictures!

Four Dinners said...

It is not Tilly's fault!!!!

Whales..Killer or otherwise...do not set out to kill peeps.

Sharks...given the opportunity perhaps do. Depends on the shark.

It's called 'nature' and if we fuck with nature much more it'll be more than sharks and Killer Whales snapping at our tails.

And quite right too!

Go Mother Nature!!!

Four Dinners said...

Actually...as an aside...I once swam with a couple of Dolphins off the Cornish coast in England.

I was 15.

Several other kids of my age got a bit silly.

One Dolphin literally threw one kid out of the sea onto the beach with its nose.

The 'Lifeguards' blew whistles and everyone panicked.

I just floated around and even got to hold a fin as one Dolphin swam like a 'bat out of hell' towards the shore. I let go and virtually surfed in off it's wake...

My school teacher was really angry I had ignored the Lifeguard but I knew?...sensed? The Dolphins wouldn't hurt me cause I wouldn't hurt them.

Only a couple of stupid kids got what they deserved.

We respect nature - which isn't in some weird 'sea world' place - or we suffer the consequences.

I'm sure the 'trainer loved her whales but she'd ost sight of the fact that 'we' don't own them or even the planet.

We just think we do.

Gardenia said...

The cry of a whale makes me want to cry, I hope someday to hear it on the water - not in an aquarium. I grew up with an idiot who thought he could tame creatures that belonged in the wild. There is always the wild factor - man can not conquer.

Candy Minx said...

Beej, what a scary story I'd probably be like, get down get down!

Underground Baker...oh that clip was crazy. Weren't they lucky to have that experience. I had some dreams exactly like that video last night. The whale coming up right by the boat was nuts. I'd love to know what the whales were thinking...I love how curious they were about the boat and men.

Four Dinners, what a swim you must have had! Love the dolphin story. Yep, you know maybe it's a case of natural selection hu? Darwin awards and all that for the captive whale.

Gardenia, I have had wild animals rescued or living with me...when we were growing up we had all kinds of animals...but we never thought we coud tame them. We'd find a torpid hummingbird, or baby squirrel lost etc. Wounded wing on bird and try to help recuperate them. We did a lot of research about making animal food etc. Nope...we can not change animals. How about our pet cats? If they were the same size as their cousins...they'd likely accidently kill us, no?

* (asterisk) said...

I laughed at the dumb family in your story. What jerks. Most normal people should be able to understand and respect that the animals can't be forced to perform. You want that shit, go to some crappy circus.

Sometimes forgetting that animals are not all our pets can be fatal: it was seen here, of course, and also with Steve Irwin.

Killer whales look awesome. I'm glad that one has my back :) Or that my back has one...

furiousBall said...

i never want to see any person or animal harmed in any way shape or fashion. but if you take a wild animal and remove them from an environment as big as... oh, i don't know... the FREAKIN' OCEAN! and put them in a relatively tiny confines, force them to do tricks.... i actually think humans in the same situation would get violent more quickly than some of these animals.

why the outcry against bullfighting, but not against putting whales and large marine animals into captivity? it's not that far of a stretch

Suzanne said...

I remember that whale "show" very well. I remember loads of people complaining and thinking how cool it was that the whale was just allowed to be a whale.

I don't like senseless death, but I'm afraid I'm one who never feels sorry for the lion tamer who gets bit, or the idiots who went into the gorilla pens and got mauled, etc... I feel a bit like we walk around haughty and arrogant just as Orwell described the pigs in Animal Farm.

I do love seeing whales though. Prefer to see them in their natural environment. They are breathtaking.

Underground Baker said...

Let us not forget grizzly man becoming one with the bears he loved.

Eash.

Candy Minx said...

Asterisk, glad you saw this post...was thinking of you and your tat. I knew you loved Orcas.

Suz, thanks for posting here. I'm so glad you remember this family too...I still laugh like crazy over that day.

Underground Baker...yeah Grizzly man...I should have mentioned him here...with Siegfried and Roy, huh?