The Penn Cove orca captures, which took place in the waters off Whidbey Island in 1970 were a dark chapter in the history of the orcas. The captures involved the live capture of orcas, also known as killer whales, for use in theme parks and aquariums around the world.
The first capture at Penn Cove had taken place in 1965, when a young orca was captured off the coast of California and sold to a theme park in San Diego. The success of this capture sparked a rush to capture more orcas, and soon, a network of capture boats and holding facilities was established to capture and transport orcas.
On August, 8 1970 a group of orcas were spotted in Penn Cove, a calm inlet on the eastern shore of Whidbey Island. The orcas were a pod of southern resident killer whales, a genetically distinct population of orcas that inhabit the waters of the Pacific Northwest. At the time the southern resident population was relatively unknown and there were no laws or regulations governing their capture.
A team of capture boats quickly descended on the pod, using nets and explosives to herd the orcas into a small area of the cove.
The captured orcas were loaded onto trucks and transported to holding facilities in Seattle and Vancouver, where they were trained and prepared for their new lives in captivity at theme parks and aquariums around the world. The captures were met with outrage from local residents and conservationists, who saw the orcas as an iconic symbol of the Pacific Northwest and were appalled by the cruelty of the capture methods.
Orcas captured at Penn Cove on August 8, 1970[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
- Library:OrcaStories from Baby Wild Films Presents The Killer Whale People (video)
- List of living captive orcas
- List of deceased captive orcas
- Lolita Slave to Entertainment - film