In 2006, Seaworld sent 4 year old Ikaika away from his mother and his place of birth at Orlando, to sexually service Marineland Canada’s orca Kiska, on breeding loan.(Keep in mind that killer whales’ age progression closely mirrors that of humans. Our species reach sexual maturity around the same age, and we have similar life expectancies. A 4 year old whale is comparable to a 4 year old human.)
This summer, Ikaika was in the midst of a custody battle between Marineland Canada, and Seaworld. The battle ended this fall when it was confirmed that Ikaika would be sent back to Seaworld, this time to Seaworld San Diego. It has been proposed that Ike was sought after by Seaworld due to Sumar’s death. The park would need another male sperm donor to replace Sumar. In mid November, Ike was transferred. Since that time I have
stumbled across many captivity supporters excited about his return to Seaworld, and praising his getting along with the other whales. Unfortunately, there is evidence that suggests Ike is not getting along with the other whales, and is actually doing very poorly. Several photos have been taken in the 38 days since Ike’s relocation. Most of them clearly show rake marks. It is normal for orcas to establish order, but these photos have been surfacing consistently and it appears as though the bullying hasn’t let up since his transfer which leads me to believe that he could be in danger. Ikaika was taken at a very young age from his mother, placed in a tank and expected to mate as soon as he became sexually mature (at about 14 years of age) with Kiska, a female whale 23 years older than him.
Ike is now 9 years old and hasn’t seen his mother for 5 years. Instead, he was taken again by Seaworld from the cool climate of Canada, to the warm climate of San Diego where he was put into a pool with strangers. This picture came up around the same time as the one posted above giving a better view of Ike’s rakes, where as this picture appeared on the 12/21/11 Shamu Cam showing even worse injuries to his eye patches.