Intelligent Anon. (via dolphinsintanks)
Here is to you, bondedwiththesea, and to your “Intelligent Anon”
Yes, we can find a death rate for wild orcas and for captive orcas. It is a matter of statistics, simple mathematics, and a methodology to correctly analyze the data…Not so difficult, really.
- Of the 226 orcas who have been in captivity since the 1960’s, 186 of them are now DEAD. That’s 83%. 1
Keep in mind that 30 of those deaths were a result of miscarriages and stillbirths.
- In the same time frame, there have been 157 orcas in the Southern Resident pods and 79 are now DEAD. That’s 50% 2
Keep in mind that 34+ of those deaths were a direct result of capture and captivity.
- According to NMFS, and the Marine Mammal Inventory of the US, the mortality rate for captive cetaceans is more than two and a half times higher than that of their wild counterparts.
Conclusion from the numbers… The Southern Residents - the most endangered population of wild orcas have a 30% LOWER death rate than captive orcas (you know the ones who are pampered in their swimming pools, living in the lap of luxury.) “…the most studied orca population has a death rate worse than the captive death rate.” This claim is clearly not based upon the scientific evidence.
- Life expectancy is a matter of analyzing probability. One does not need to follow any population from birth to death to arrive at a life expectancy for the organisms. The mathematics that are involved in this probability (whether regarding humans or otherwise) are highly respected by the scientific community and are not up for debate. Of course since captive orcas have protection from the dark and scary ocean, we should expect them to live longer - especially as husbandry procedures improve. However, the life expectancy of captive orcas has only barely matched the mean expectancy of wild orcas. (Small and DeMaster op. cit.) The majority of captive orcas now dead, were under the age of 20. Whereas wild orcas can expect to live at least 46 years (for females) and 35 years (for males) with a max life expectancy of 60 - 80 years or more. In the past 15 years those lifespans have not changed for wild-caught or captive born animals…in spite of this argument that an improvement in technology and husbandry would increase the lifespan of captive orcas.
I hope I have broken the issue down well enough for you and other pro-caps to understand. If you think that captive orcas are living longer, and dying less often — you haven’t looked into what science has to say (which is that a swimming pool is a less than sub-par “habitat” for these creatures.)
No one is going to acknowledge this, because as long as it can’t be debunked with proper facts and statistics, people are just going to ignore it. And as well as that, people will continue to use the same arguments over and over again, despite them already being proven false.