Next Article in Journal
A Good Death? Report of the Second Newcastle Meeting on Laboratory Animal Euthanasia
Previous Article in Journal
Dingoes at the Doorstep: Home Range Sizes and Activity Patterns of Dingoes and Other Wild Dogs around Urban Areas of North-Eastern Australia
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessOpinion
Animals 2016, 6(8), 49; doi:10.3390/ani6080049

Orca Behavior and Subsequent Aggression Associated with Oceanarium Confinement

1
Retired, Space Dynamics Laboratory, Utah State University Research Foundation, Logan, UT 84341, USA
2
Palomar College, 1140 West Mission Road, San Marcos, CA 92069, USA
3
Centre for Animal Welfare, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester SO22 4NR, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Clive J. C. Phillips
Received: 5 April 2016 / Revised: 31 July 2016 / Accepted: 11 August 2016 / Published: 18 August 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [713 KB, uploaded 23 August 2016]   |  

Abstract

Based on neuroanatomical indices such as brain size and encephalization quotient, orcas are among the most intelligent animals on Earth. They display a range of complex behaviors indicative of social intelligence, but these are difficult to study in the open ocean where protective laws may apply, or in captivity, where access is constrained for commercial and safety reasons. From 1979 to 1980, however, we were able to interact with juvenile orcas in an unstructured way at San Diego’s SeaWorld facility. We observed in the animals what appeared to be pranks, tests of trust, limited use of tactical deception, emotional self-control, and empathetic behaviors. Our observations were consistent with those of a former Seaworld trainer, and provide important insights into orca cognition, communication, and social intelligence. However, after being trained as performers within Seaworld’s commercial entertainment program, a number of orcas began to exhibit aggressive behaviors. The orcas who previously established apparent friendships with humans were most affected, although significant aggression also occurred in some of their descendants, and among the orcas they lived with. Such oceanaria confinement and commercial use can no longer be considered ethically defensible, given the current understanding of orcas’ advanced cognitive, social, and communicative capacities, and of their behavioral needs. View Full-Text
Keywords: orca; Orcinus orca; cognition; Theory of Mind (ToM); emotion; aggression; animal ethics orca; Orcinus orca; cognition; Theory of Mind (ToM); emotion; aggression; animal ethics
Figures

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Anderson, R.; Waayers, R.; Knight, A. Orca Behavior and Subsequent Aggression Associated with Oceanarium Confinement. Animals 2016, 6, 49.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Animals EISSN 2076-2615 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top