July 25th, 2012
10:30 PM ET

Author: Whale attacked to send message

A 2006 video that was just released shows killer whale Kasatka holding an experienced SeaWorld trainer underwater.

The orca was trying to send the trainer a message about her calf, according to David Kirby, author of "Death at SeaWorld." Her calf was being held in the back pool while Kasatka was performing in the show.

"When Kasatka would hear her calf calling for her from the back pool she would break from control," Kirby explains. "Any intelligent mother wanting to be with her calf and comfort her calf would try to make her distress known to the people she works with."

Anderson asks Kirby why it's okay to take these animals out of the wild and put them in a small pool given their size.

"Kasatka was captured from Iceland when she was quite young," Kirby says. "These animals tend to stay with their families their entire lives. They have very tight bonds with each other and when we separate them... some of them, not all, are going to have moments of aggression."

Cal/OSHA issued a scathing report on the attack and gave several recommendations to prevent it from happening again. They warned SeaWorld that it was only a matter of time before somebody died. Four years later, in 2010, trainer Dawn Brancheau died after an attack.

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Filed under: SeaWorld
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Esmerelda5

    This finding is truely heartbreaking. The ignorance and greed of the "experts" in animal behavior caused this. The mother Orca did what a Mother should to "protect" her calf. I never heard what happened to this animal. Anyone know?

    July 30, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Kristina

      Kasatka is still at the same sea world location. No trainers are allowed to be in the water with her at any time.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  2. Jennifer - Michigan

    Wow... that is very scary video there. The trainer was at the killer whale's mercy. They are amazing creatures. Seems that she was trying to make a point being distressed with her calf calling or crying. Man!

    July 26, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  3. William

    Why did the guy jump into the tank with the whale?

    July 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Addy

      Seaworld is a theme park that features rides, marine animals, and performances; they like to advertize that their primary purpose is to promote oceanic research, conservation of the worlds' oceans, and protection of sea creatures, but their primary goal is, of course, to make money. The reason that guy jumped into the tank was because ..."here's your sign" ..he was PAID to do it. And as long as people continue to pay to see captive whales, dolphins, sealions, and other creatures exploited in this manner, Seaworld will continue to profit.

      July 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm |