In honour of World Orca Day (which fell on the 14th of July), I thought I’d recommend a couple of my favourite books and films related to these beautiful creatures. I’m not going to lie – orcas are my favourite sea animals, so I have very strong feelings about keeping them in captivity, and I urge you to learn as much as you can about this issue. One day – in my lifetime – I would like to see them released.
The first (and most obvious) choice is, of course, Blackfish.
This documentary is the first thing I ever watched that made me really question the way humans treat animals – and it set me firmly on the path to becoming a vegan (a journey I plan to write more about soon). It’s brilliantly made and hugely moving, and everyone should watch it. This is honestly one of the best documentaries I have ever seen.
Once you’re done watching that, I guarantee you’ll want to know more.
That’s why you should read Beneath The Surface by former SeaWorld Trainer John Hargrove. I have not yet finished it, but I’m in love with it so far. The second I unpack it (we recently moved home and I can’t for the life of me remember what box it’s in), I plan to devour it in a single sitting.
Recently, I discovered this New York Times piece on what happened to Keiko – the whale who starred in Free Willy – and it has made me even more determined to empty the tanks (after the right rehabilitation, of course). A life in captivity is not right for these beautiful, intelligent animals.
Here are a couple of facts about orcas that you may not know:
– They are actually big, black and white dolphins!
– They have very strong emotional ties to their families, and live in matriarchal societies (meaning that the ladies are in charge)
– Different pods around the world exhibit different vocalisations – meaning that orcas from different areas speak different languages!
And just one last thing, to end on a slightly lighter note… I created an Orca Mermaid version of myself in honour of World Orca Day! (You should try it out – tweet me @clarekauter with your own mer-person self portrait!)