why do orcas have collapsed dorsal fins

We know many orcas held in captivity have dorsal fins that look like they've flopped over. But this condition is not unique to captive whales. Although less common, it can happen in the wild as well. How many wild whales have collapsed dorsal fins? Dr. Astrid van Ginneken, a volunteer investigator for the
since 1987, estimates in that less than 1 percent of wild orcas have collapsed dorsal fins. If the condition does exist in the wild, then captivity cannot be the sole cause. The cause must be some condition of captivity that could also be present in the wild. What causes a collapsed dorsal fin? An orca's dorsal fin collapses when the collagen in the fin starts to break down, explains. But what causes the breakdown of the collagen? One popular theory is that warm temperatures make the collagen lose its rigidity. Orcas in captivity breach the surface much more often than their wild counterparts. When they breach, their fins are exposed to the warm air. Over time, this exposure to warmer temperatures may cause the dorsal fin to flop.

Another theory is that captive orcas tend to have collapsed fins because they do not have enough room to swim at their maximum speeds. In the wild, orcas can reach a maximum speed of 34 miles per hour. At that speed, the resistance of the water could help keep the fin strong, encouraging it to stay upright. It is possible that when orcas get older and weaker, and can no longer swim at those top speeds, their fins become weaker and collapse. Are collapsed fins permanent? There was one group of orcas whose dorsal fins collapsed after spending a month in captivity but went back to normal after the whales were released back into the wild again. So clearly, it is possible for the collagen to build back up. But most captive orcas never make it back into the wild. They get stuck with their collapsed fins, for life. 1. Premature Deaths Orcas in the wild have an average life expectancy of 30 to 50 yearstheir estimated maximum lifespan is 60 to 70 years for males and 80 to over 100 for females.

The average age of death for orcas who have died at SeaWorld is 13 years old. 2. Lean, Mean Killing Machinesor Not? In the wild, despite centuries of sharing the ocean, there has been only a single reliable report of an orca harming a human being. Because of the stress involved in being deprived of everything that is natural and important to orcas in captivity, orcas have attacked and killed three humans just since 1991 and many others have been injured. 3. Collapsed Dorsal Fins All captive adult male orcas have collapsed dorsal fins, likely because they have no space in which to swim freely and are fed an unnatural diet of thawed dead fish. SeaWorld claims that this condition is commonhowever, in the wild, it rarely ever happens and is a sign of an injured or unhealthy orca. 4. Tanks SeaWorld confines orcas, who could swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild, to tanks that, to them, are the size of a bathtub.

They would need to swimP 1,208 laps P(around the perimeter of the tank)P or 3,105 lengths P(back and forth at the longest part of the tank) in the park s largest tank to equal what they d swim in the wild. 5. Fights Orcas who are not compatible are forced to live in tight quarters together. The resulting anxiety and tension cause fights between orcas. In the wild, orcas have strong social bonds that may last for life, their social rules prohibit serious violence against each other, and when fights do occur, they can find space to flee. In captivity, there s nowhere for them to go, which leads to injuries and death. Nakai was injured on a sharp metal edge in his tank while reportedly fleeing from an aggressive altercation with two other orcas. 6. Diet of Pig and Cow Bones In captivity, orcas are unable to hunt and obtain water from their prey, so SeaWorld gives them, a substance that is not natural for them, in an attempt to keep them hydrated.

Tilikum, who weighs 12,000 lbs. , alone consumes 83 pounds of gelatin every day. 7. Breaking Their Teeth to Get Out Orcas in captivity gnaw at iron bars and concrete from stress, anxiety, and boredom, sometimes breaking their teeth and resulting in painful dental drilling without anesthesia. 8. Family Matters Orcas are highly social animals who live in stable social groups ranging from two to 15 individuals. In some populations, children stay with their mothers for life. In captivity, orcas are forced to live with orcas from other family units who speak a completely different language than they do and are constantly moved between facilities for breeding and to perform. Orcas suffer mentally and physically just to line SeaWorld s pockets. You can helpPthem! The momentum is on our side with the release of P and our recent lawsuit against SeaWorld. Join the fight to help orcas, and tellPall your friends never to go to SeaWorld.

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