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SeaWorld could be in trouble because of “Granny,” the world’s oldest known living orca. The 103-year-old whale (also known as J2) was recently spotted off Canada’s western coast with her pod -- her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But while the Granny sighting is thrilling for us, it’s problematic for SeaWorld.
* At least 144 orcas have been taken into captivity from the wild since 1961 (including Pascuala and Morgan).
* 125 of these (or 87%) orcas are now dead.
* In the wild, male orcas live to an average of 30 years (maximum 50-60 years) and 46 years for females (maximum 80-90 years).
* Of the 33 orcas that have been born in captivity and have since died (excluding stillbirths), they survived an average of 4.5 years.
* In total, 158 orcas have died in captivity, including 28 miscarried or still-born calves.
* SeaWorld holds 23 orcas in its three parks in the United States and owns (at least) a further four at Loro Parque in Spain (ownership of Adan and Morgan not verified). At least forty-four orcas have died at SeaWorld.
(1) No one knows for sure how long killer whales live.
(2) Long-term studies will ultimately answer this question. By counting growth layers in teeth, scientists find that killer whales in the North Atlantic may live to 35 years. Studies are still refining this method of aging.
(3) For unknown reasons, researchers suspect killer whale calf mortality within the first six months to be "very high." In the Pacific Northwest, for example, 43% of all calves die in the first six months. In other killer whale populations, calf mortality may be as high as 50% during the first year.
(4) The photo-identification of killer whales in the Pacific Northwest began in 1973 and provides one of the longest cetacean field studies ever.
One interesting thing Ken explained was how they arrived at 1911 as the estimated birth year for Granny, something I had always wondered about but a story I had never heard. I guess they had photos of both J1 Ruffles and J2 Granny in 1971 and both were already full grown adults. Since orcas reach full size around the age of 20, they made the estimated birth year for J1 Ruffles as 1951 (1971 - 20 years). Due to the way Granny and Ruffles associated with one another, they suspected that she might be Ruffles' mother. Since Granny was never seen with a new calf since the study began, they assumed she was post-reproductive, and that perhaps Ruffles was her last calf. Females generally stop reproducing around the age of 40, so if she had Ruffles when she was 40, her birth year would be about 1911 (1951 - 40 years).
originally posted by: crazyewok
I went to sea world then went to a rescue center for dolphins in the Caribbean were the Dolphins were allowed in the open sea and basically given the option to stay (apparently most run away when first let out and always come back after a week or two ) and the Caribbean seemed so much more happy and healthy.
Let dolphins (which orcas are part of) choose there own fate, they are smart enough. Set the dolphins exhibits up on the coast with access to open waters. If you treat them well and give them a good life Im sure they will stay.