Warning over SeaWorld killer whales as Blackfish trainer says stress of captivity may trigger MORE attacks on humans

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SEAWORLD killer whales are stressed in captivity and could attack more humans, the Blackfish trainer has warned.

The former trainer said the whales were damned to “lives of quiet desperation” that could lead to “violent behaviour and deadly attacks”.

Ex-SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove is leading a campaign to improve the living conditions of orcas in captivity

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Ex-SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove is leading a campaign to improve the living conditions of orcas in captivityCredit: Melissa Hargrove/Peta
Hargrove said whales kept in captivity were stressed and more likely to attack humans

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Hargrove said whales kept in captivity were stressed and more likely to attack humansCredit: Not known, clear with picture desk
Killer Whales perform during the Shamu Show at SeaWorld

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Killer Whales perform during the Shamu Show at SeaWorldCredit: Getty

John Hargrove left SeaWorld 10 years ago when he joined the fight for orcas in captivity to be given better conditions.

Animal right activists have spent years campaigning for the release of marine life from America’s most popular water theme parks.

In 2016, SeaWorld announced it would no longer breed the animals but said it would keep the remaining ones to “provide visitors to our parks with experiences that matter”.

But Hargrove says these beautiful marine creatures were suffering a fate akin to “solitary confinement”.

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Speaking in the documentary, the 49-year-old said: “Physical and psychological damage endured by human prisoners in solitary confinement is well documented.

“Orcas at amusement parks such as SeaWorld suffer the same fate.

“I can tell you from my 14 years of experience that I personally witnessed the orcas – as well as other dolphins and marine animals – suffer the same physical and psychological trauma.

“Imagine spending your entire life trapped in a small enclosure.”

He also claimed that Tilikum, the orca that famously killed his colleague Dawn Brancheau in 2010, “wasn’t the villain”.

He said: “He is not the villain in this story. He’s also not the only orca at SeaWorld to kill a trainer.

“We had countless serious injuries and near fatalities during my career, caused by many different orcas.

“Confinement causes not only chronic health issues but also extreme stress that leads to violent behaviour and deadly attacks.”

According to Hargrove, more than 40 orcas and 400 dolphins and whales have tied at SeaWorld.

He said they would die from pneumonia, infections, traumatic injuries, encephalitis, heart failure, intestinal gangrene and “other ailments caused by extreme confinement”.

He also said the creatures often broke their teeth chewing concrete in their enclosures and slammed their heads against the walls of their water cages.

Now animal rights group PETA is urging holidaymakers to boycott holidays at the famed Florida theme park.

Tripadvisor, Virgin Holidays, and British Airways Holidays already ban these types of promotions.

On its website, SeaWorld says: “Now, SeaWorld invites you to connect in an inspiring new way with the ocean’s most powerful predator.

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“Discover the importance of play for orcas and dive deeper into their masterful hunting techniques. Learn about SeaWorld’s commitment for the killer whales in our care.”

The Sun Online has contacted SeaWorld for comment.

Dawn Brancheau was killed during a show in 2010

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Dawn Brancheau was killed during a show in 2010Credit: Getty
Fredi died at SeaWorld Orlando in Florida - one of many whales to have died from persistent health problems

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Fredi died at SeaWorld Orlando in Florida – one of many whales to have died from persistent health problemsCredit: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment



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