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February 26th, 2010
03:19 PM ET

Marvel at wild animals - from a distance

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/02/25/florida.seaworld.death/story.dawn.brancheau.cnn.jpg caption="Animal trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed Wednesday at SeaWorld Orlando." width=300 height=169]

Chris Palmer
Special to CNN

I've spent more than 25 years making wildlife films, many of them about powerful and dangerous predators such as killer whales. It is easy to see that in their own environments, little prevents such creatures from yielding to their natural impulses, as they should.

Wednesday's tragic accident at SeaWorld Orlando shows that we need to reconsider keeping wild animals in captivity for our entertainment and take a hard look at our own understanding of the natural world.

The stakes have been raised for those who argue that the pros of performing animals in captivity (protection and conservation of wild animals, public education) outweigh the cons (forcing animals into confinement, risking critical or fatal human injuries).

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