Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity [David Story time just got better with Prime Book Box, a subscription that delivers. Start by marking “Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity” as Want to Read: From the New York Times bestselling author of Evidence of Harm and Animal Factory—a groundbreaking scientific thriller that exposes the dark side of SeaWorld, America’s. Death at Seaworld by David Kirby, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.
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“David Kirby, whose recent book 'Death at SeaWorld' traces the history of killer whales in captivity, found that Tilikum was captured off Iceland. Death at SeaWorld centers on the battle with the multimillion-dollar marine park industry over the controversial —San Francisco Book Review – FIVE STARS. Death at SeaWorld. If David Kirby's new book is any indication, the tide may finally be turning against orca captivity. In Death at SeaWorld.
They did sediment analyses, took weather readings, and compiled other scientific measurements with an impressive arsenal of equipment.
All the while, just offshore, Pacific sea otters played and foraged in the kelp, carefree as monkeys. Naomi loved every minute of it. But Naomi wasn't like the other, wilder LA kids. They liked to procure illicit bottles of Boone's Farm white zinfandel and get rather buzzed and giggly while writing their field reports.
Not so Miss Rose. When offered some wine from one of the boys, she politely declined. The boy thought that was pretty cool. At sixteen, Naomi asked if she could go away to study at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School—mostly because she wanted to stay in one place for the rest of high school. That the boarding school was near Aspen, John Denver's home, was an added benefit. Naomi was so square that she still liked the singer and admired his environmental work.
She didn't think she'd run into the star, and she never did. But the secret hope remained. School was easy for Naomi and she excelled in all her classes, earning straight A's without much effort. She loved science most, especially animal behavior and ecology.
Mostly Naomi just liked knowing things. She possessed an extraordinary memory to store them in: a brimming internal database of assorted factoids, both weighty and trivial, that she could retrieve at will with unnerving alacrity.
In selecting a college, Naomi made a counterintuitive choice, given her desire to study marine creatures. She planned to attend school away from the coast and wanted to get a good, solid biology degree before she specialized, she explained to her friends. She selected Mount Holyoke, the Massachusetts liberal arts college for women, and fled her warring California household.
During spring break of her first year, she traveled to the outer elbow of Cape Cod to Woods Hole, the largest nonprofit oceanographic institution in the world and a mecca for aspiring marine biologists. She wanted to check the upcoming cruise schedule for student opportunities on research ships.
Naomi contacted the scientists about coming along. There are always tasks for a college student to do.
The team members hadn't expected her to show. Naomi ended up spending more time with the burly merchant marines than the scientists because she stayed on board for the whole three months, while the research team turned over at the end of each one-month leg.
The ship was to study the physical oceanography water temperature, salinity, etc. Naomi was assigned menial tasks—pulling filters out of the seawater, keeping track of depth recordings, washing flasks. It was hard to say that she "liked" the cruise, though she would never forget the experience: A young female college student at sea with a crew of beer-swilling merchant marines, many of whom had signed up to escape their questionable pasts.
It was rumored that one guy did time for second-degree murder. Naomi did not yet drink, but she learned to tolerate people who do, watching her shipmates get blisteringly drunk and then pass out. From them, she learned how to swear, quite literally like a sailor. It didn't take long for her to win their respect. Impressed by her endurance for the hardships of being at sea, the crew rewarded Naomi with ever more comfortable quarters—from the bilge, to the second deck, and finally the top deck.
Naomi also found herself in her first serious romantic relationship on the trip, with the ship's medic, who lived near Mount Holyoke. She stayed with him for almost two years. The wayfarer returned to school even more hooked on the ocean and its inhabitants.
The first semester of her junior year, Naomi journeyed to Hawaii to attend the University of Hawaii—Manoa the school where Barack Obama's parents met in , near downtown Honolulu. She spent the waning days of the summer with her mother's family before renting a modest apartment with another student from Mount Holyoke and starting classes full-time at the university.
The lab housed two captive bottlenose dolphins, and its scientists were studying the animals' language acquisition abilities through hand and audio signals. When Naomi learned that the pair of female dolphins—Phoenix and Akeakemai, or Ake pronounced ah-KAY for short—knew some five hundred signals based on American Sign Language, she immediately signed up to work at Kewalo.
Naomi would ride a moped, on loan from her aunt, down to the lab about twice a week after school. Student volunteers were not given a lot of responsibility—or initially much access to the dolphins. It was grunt work mostly: pushing paper, mopping decks, and, most arduous of all, cleaning out the dolphin tank.
The water level would be lowered to just a few feet, leaving Phoenix and Ake to skim around in the shallows at the bottom while students scrubbed algae from the sides of the concrete tank. Not until the last few weeks of her semester was Naomi allowed to interact with the dolphins. She began by giving fish to Ake and also started learning some of the hand signals the researchers used to study the animal's aptitude for language acquisition.
She also worked with Phoenix, who was learning computer-generated sounds instead of hand signals. Each time Phoenix performed as requested by the tones, Naomi would offer her fish or praise.
After weeks of work, the scum-scrubbing volunteers were finally rewarded with time in the water with the dolphins. Naomi was excited, but she only tried it once. On the appointed day, she showed up clad in a two-piece bathing suit with a diving mask in her hand.
She slipped into the warm Oahu seawater that filled the tank. Naomi felt slightly uneasy, but figured the dolphins would be kind to the hand that had fed them. She figured wrong. Naomi got in the water and started swimming around the pool's perimeter. The dolphins were alongside her. The students were told not to stop or look at the animals or to appear in any way nervous.
Naomi didn't even make it around one full circuit.
She swam a few feet, but must have seemed timid. The dolphins turned on her. Smash, bang, boom. One of the pound animals butted Naomi hard across the chest with her snout. The other slapped Naomi in the face with her fluke, sending Naomi's mask flying. Naomi was dazed.
Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity
She lost her bearings, blinded and unable to catch her breath. She felt helpless, but she had no chance to panic, though her ribs felt as if they had been crushed as the air was expelled from her lungs. Research staff rushed to her side and dragged her from the water. The dolphins turned and swam away, slinking around at the other end of the pool. The bridge of Naomi's nose throbbed and her ribs were seriously bruised.
Naomi looked across at the rogue dolphins. They seemed sheepish, as though they had no idea she would react so poorly to their roughhousing. But she couldn't be angry with them. When Naomi got back to Mount Holyoke, she went to see her mentor, Dr. Susan Smith, an animal behavior professor who had been a big influence on Naomi as a biology student.
Susan had taught her how to observe animals in the wild and how to take accurate field notes. Naomi was eager to fill the professor in on her trip to Hawaii, and especially her work at Kewalo Basin with the dolphin language acquisition study. Their understanding of syntax alone is so remarkable. I just loved working with these animals!
What about research to try to decipher their language, as opposed to teaching them an artificial one that we created? It was an unusual feeling to have someone she admired be so unimpressed by what she was describing.
She pondered her mentor's question. Naomi realized that, even though she had spent time with captive cetaceans, it had never occurred to her that they might have languages of their own, that their thoughts might work very differently from ours.
Where Dawn is concerned, she is not often mentioned in the book. There is one chapter that focuses mostly on her, but other than that she is mentioned only occasionally.
Death at Seaworld : Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity
If anything, this book does more for her memory than Sea World has by claiming that there are risks to keeping these killer whales captive and that changes need to be made, while Sea World blames Dawn for what happened. That being said… I have always been a lover of animals and although I have loved the experience of seeing animals up close in zoos and places like SeaWorld, I have always questioned the ethics of it.
Also, I am a history major in college.
People studying history generally love research, verifiable evidence, and sources. While reading the book I was constantly looking up videos, articles, and interviews mentioned in the book to get an even bigger view of the picture David Kirby was presenting.
Death at Sea World is a well written narrative of not only the unfortunate incident of February 24, , but of the history of orca research and orcas in captivity as well as the reactions to the events of that day on both sides of the debate. After reading this book, I am compelled to become an advocate not only against zoos and animal theme parks, but also an advocate of getting people to read this book.
It has also appalled me at how far companies will go to make money, and how far legislation will go to ensure the cash flow keeps coming.It's interesting to compare what Kirby describes and where his descriptions don't follow what is shown in the "Blackfish" documentary.
Sea World was desperate to get breeding underway so they took him on even though they knew he was dangerous to humans. By the book's conclusion, the author's revelations, make it virtually unconscionable for any person with a smattering of compassion for these majestic creatures, to ever visit a marine mammal entertainment facility again.
It is quite clear that Sea World intends to carry on it's show while pushing for expansion into China. The description of what happens when a baby orca is captured was horrifying.