Whales in Captivity
Whales in Captivity
There are whales that live a very long and happy life while in captivity. Many of them are environments that
allow researchers to learn more about them. They are able to better observe their behaviors with this type of
environment. Others are in captivity to help them to hopefully increase their numbers. Since some have been hunted
almost to the brink of extinction, this can be a very time consuming process.
Many of us are familiar with whales in captivity as locations such as Sea World. These are very popular types of
tourist attractions. They allow children and adults to see these amazing creatures. It allows them to open up their
minds to what needs to be done in order to protect them. Not everyone approves of this though. They don’t believe
it is right to keep these whales in captivity for such purposes.
Most researchers have decided with the technology we have, they need to observe these whales in their natural
environment. It is believed that even with good conditions, these changes things dramatically for the mammals. They
won’t exhibit some of the same behaviors that they would in the wild. One of the biggest variables that can’t be
duplicated in captivity is migration.
It is believed these whales keep that internal need to follow that process. This is another reason why it may be
difficult for them to breed in captivity. Another is the fact that they are forced to live in groups. They don’t
get to create their own small pods and larger clans as they do by choice in the wild.
Sometimes whales have been injured though and they can’t survive on their own. By taking them into captivity for
a limited amount of time they may be able to be returned successfully. Others will surely die if they are returned
though so permanent care must be arranged for them. Babies are sometimes abandoned by their mother’s but it is very
rare. Others are left alone due to the death of their mother. If they aren’t placed into captivity then they will
die if the remain in their natural environment.
Every effort is made to keep them in an environment that would be similar to what they naturally have. This is
due to some of them expressing unhappiness in captivity. This can result in the whales not eating and in them not
mating. Even with assistance mating for some of the species of whales is too slow to help with their dropping
numbers. Other studies show that captivity it risky for whales due to the chances of them dying from exposure to
bacteria. In fact, the life span may be shortened by many decades when a whale isn’t free.
It is extremely expensive to place a whale into captivity. The burden of that is hard to swallow sometimes. Many
of these organizations offer observations of the whales and even tricks being performed. They charge fees to get in
to see such attractions in order to cover the cost of carrying for these creatures. In many instances the cost of
feeding them alone can be thousands of dollars per day. Other programs rely upon grants and private donations to be
able to cover those expenses.
You will find that huge amounts of money are often spent though on efforts to keep whales out of captivity. The
debate continues about what is right to do for them. Do we focus our energy on keeping them in their own
environment be safe from illegal whaling? Or do we try to protect those that have low numbers in captivity? Sadly,
money is being wasted as the movements go back and forth based on what your own personal beliefs happen to be on