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Two separate videos taken at SeaWorld Orlando, show thirteen-year-old Trua and his uncle, eight-year-old Makaio fighting during One Ocean.
For the past seven months, SeaWorld Orlando’s whales have been separated into same-sex groups, completely void of any direct contact with each other. The males have been separated from the ruling matriarch and Makaio’s mother, Katina, since around September 2018. Without a dominant female to keep them in line, the two will likely continue to act out. Aside from separating them into same-sex groups, Shamu Stadium, a seven pool complex, is now split between two orca pods and four pilot whales. Not only is this a social and emotional issue for the orcas, but it’s an issue regarding the already limited space they have.
The splitting of tight-knit family groups and social bonds combined with the already limited space and stressful environment has clearly caused some amount of tension between the whales. While aggression amongst wild cetaceans is natural, it is typically more severe and and prevalent in captivity due to the unnatural and stressful living conditions captive cetaceans are subjected to. Wild cetaceans can flee from aggressive pod mates, whereas captive cetaceans are completely stripped of that luxury and are forced to put up with hyper-aggressive outbursts.
Video: @mollykleonard & FreckledTilikum on twitter