Amusing Monday: Is it funny when an orca crushes a kayaker?

You may have seen this video before. Circulating on the Internet for at least four years, this clip has generated a lot of excitement. Several people have sent it to me by e-mail, and YouTube keeps getting mileage from it. The video shows a killer whale breaching and coming down on top of a nearby kayaker. But things are not always as they seem.

It turns out that the video is the Korean version of a commercial for Poweraid, an energy drink made by Coca Cola, according to Snopes.com, which is a good place to check out Internet rumors and falsehoods.

I have yet to see the English version of this commercial. But the footage of the killer whale breaching without any kayaks around can be seen in the trailer for the movie “Lolita: Slave to Entertainment.”

So it appears that this video has a Northwest connection. As many of you know, Lolita, captured in Puget Sound in 1970, is the last orca from this area to remain alive in an aquarium, and she can be seen doing tricks in Miami.

Meanwhile, opponents of captive orcas continue their effort to return Lolita to Puget Sound, a subject that has been debated in Water Ways over the past year.

Orca Network provides a lot of background information on its Lolita Web page. The organization also holds fundraisers to help in the effort to return Lolita to her native waters.

Since Lolita was captured as a calf, the whale in this video cannot be her. Can anyone can identify the orca that so gracefully crushes a kayaker? Also, if anyone has information about the footage in “Lolita: Slave to Entertainment,” I’d like to hear more.

14 thoughts on “Amusing Monday: Is it funny when an orca crushes a kayaker?

  1. “Meanwhile, opponents of captive orcas continue their effort to return Lolita to Puget Sound, a subject that has been debated in Water Ways over the past year.

    Orca Network provides a lot of background information on its Lolita Web page. The organization also holds fundraisers to help in the effort to return Lolita to her native waters. ”

    Isn’t that something? I had hoped the ‘Orca Network’ had wisely decided Lolita was better off where she was…but no, they want to kill her here, in these cold and toxic waters.
    They don’t know what happened to the whales who recently disappeared… but want Lolita here no matter what happens to her.

    Amazing that they are still collecting money to “help in the effort to return Lolita to her native waters”… where she will surely die an agonizing and lonely death.

    The ‘Orca Network’ should rename themselves The Orca Death Squad Network.
    In my opinion… Sharon O’Hara

  2. The assumptions stated by Sharon O’Hara are put rather bluntly, but it’s understandable that people would wonder how a long-term captive orca could survive in its native habitat. I’ll put the reasons we think Lolita should be retired in her home waters in a list.
    · Our plan is to offer Lolita a bay pen in a cove on the west side of San Juan Island. After she reacclimates and gains her strength and stamina she would be accompanied on boat-follow exercises. Her food and compantionship station would be available to her at all times. If she chose to depart from human company and rejoin her pod it would be her call.
    · After over two decades of captivity, Keiko gained strength and vitality immediately after his return to his native Icelandic waters. He did not, however, ever find his real family, so he remained solo, an unnatural and unhealthy state for an orca, and died that way. Lolita’s family, including her possible mother L25, come by her retirement cove almost daily for most of every year. Again, it would be her choice to rejoin her family or return to the bay pen.
    · For an orca, and for many other odontocetes, family ties are more important than life itself. Witness the repeated mass strandings of pilot whales in Tasmania recently, where 150 died at once, a week after 53 died nearby. They weren’t sick, but when one of them stranded the rest simply would not leave and save themselves. They prefer to be together even if they all die together.
    Yes, there is a risk that if Lolita returns home, and if she eventually chooses to rejoin her family, she may suffer the fate that other members of her family have endured: hunger to the point of starvation. Orcas routinely share their food with family members, which is why two reproductive females died this years, while most of the very old and very young survived. The point is to give Lolita the option to return to her family.

  3. Thank you for your response.
    A veterinarian, probably tired of listening to a dog owner apologize that she hadn’t shown a remarkable dog he had treated and admired.
    The veterinarian wondered what was wrong with letting the dog ‘be’ rather than worry about what the dog should ‘do’.

    “For an orca, and for many other odontocetes, family ties are more important than life itself.”

    But Lolita has survived the loss of her Orca family for 38 years. Lolita has established a ‘new’ family… else, by your own words, she could not have survived.
    Please do not jolt her away from the family she has adopted, a human family, as she was ripped from the companionship of her Orca family.
    What you strive to do to her is no different than the cruel original capture all these years ago.
    Lolita is healthy and must be happy…or, as you say, she would die. As all the other captive whales did die.

    “Miami Seaquarium says that endangered status is the best reason for Lolita to stay in her present home.

    “It would be irresponsible for us to treat her life as an experiment and jeopardize her health and safety,” said Carolina Perrina, public-relations coordinator for the Seaquarium, “especially given the fact that scientists have added the members of the resident community of orcas, who reside in the waters of Puget Sound, on the endangered-species list due to a distressed ecosystem.”
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004127844_lolitarop16m.html

    Let her be. Please.
    Sharon O’Hara

  4. I appreciate your response, yet I have a sense we’ll be going around in circles and the real beneficiaries of this dialog will not include either of us.
    Hopefully the staff at the Seaquarium treats Lolita as family, but in any case they are only with her a few hours a day and they tend to come and go. You underestimate her to say she has imprinted on her human caretakers and doesn’t know the differenc. Southern resident orcas remain in vocal, visual or tactile contact every minute of every day for life. To this day Lolita calls out in her family’s unique calls, used only by the L25 subpod of L pod. That’s a clear sign that a vivid picture of her family members remains in her thoughts and memories. Therein lies her true family, and, I think, the secret of her survival. It’s a cruel catch-22 that in your opinion she must die before you’ll believe she could be unhappy. 150 orcas have died in captivity over the past 40 years, all in their youth or long before normal lifespan (http://www.orcahome.de/orcadead.htm), so obviously the human family in captivity is not the same.
    I’ve seen the statements by the Seaquarium, but of course there is a conflict of interest in the fact that Lolita generates revenue that pays their salary, and the owners of the Seaquarium tell the spokespeople what to say. Granted the orcas’ habitat is stressed and their selected diet, chinook salmon, are seriously depleted. That means we need to devote our efforts to restoring salmon habitat and conserving salmon runs. And that is why our proposal includes providing Lolita with the same fish she has become accustomed to for as long as she wants it.

  5. If your focus is saving the Orcas and our waterways… we agree.
    ” You underestimate her to say she has imprinted on her human caretakers and doesn’t know the differenc. ”

    I have never indicated that Lolita wouldn’t know the difference between her current human family and her Orca family.
    I state that she must be happy and bonded where she is else she would have died… and according to you, whales die if they lose their family.
    Lolita has been there 38 years. For whatever reason she has bonded and appears well and happy.

    That Lolita calls out means nothing for sure and she might well be calling out from habit to communicate with her human family.
    Unless you are inside her brain, you can’t possibly know that she has ‘a vivid picture of her family members.” as she calls out.

    You claim that Orcas die without their family. Lolita did not die. She has been alive for 38 years. According to your own ‘professional’ whale expertise, she should have died when taken away.

    I’ll ask again.
    Why, when Lolita has demonstrated her bond where she is – to live 38 years against your own belief that Orcas die without their whale family…. why commit the vile rape against her again…this time ripping her from her human ‘family.’?

    Yes, there is revenue there, thanks to Lolita. Is that a problem for you?
    How much revenue do you imagine the whale watching tour owners make in Puget Sound? The whales are exploited here where they should be safe and undisturbed by the motors of the whale tour boats.
    Why aren’t you bothered by the tour boats and the revenue the owners make off the whales?
    Why aren’t you concerned how Lolita would do trying to live in these toxic waters?

    People who love creatures, other humans, anything other than themselves… love them enough to let them go if need be.

    She is alive where she is and has been for 38 years.
    If you care about her welfare, you will let her be.

    In my opinion…Sharon O’Hara

  6. Sharon,

    What I care about is NOT having the southern residents go extinct.
    One profound reason to return Lolita to her natal pod is that she could play an important role as a member of her social group — as a post-reproductive female, or even as a mother.

    Her breaching to impress Florida tourists is doing nothing significant to prevent the extinction of her population. Why would you want to keep her there? Do you have financial ties to the Miami Seaquarium?

    You seem to be concerned about returning her to “cold and toxic waters” or separating her from her trainer “family.” Give me a break! She’s a southern resident killer whale with a body perfectly adapted to cold water. She hasn’t eaten a toxic blackmouth Chinook in 38 years. And her trainers come and go. Are you aware that her mother may still be alive among the L25 subpod?!

    Scott Veirs

  7. Your “Do you have financial ties to the Miami Seaquarium?” is an amazing question.
    No, no financial ties, nor interest, other than Lolita.

    Your question though, raises another possibility.
    Do YOU have financial ties to one or more of the Puget Sound whale watching boat tour owners? Or related to one of them?

    Scott…for someone previously touting that Orcus will die without their ‘family… Lolita is alive after 38 years. Doesn’t the possibility exist for you that she has bonded to humans?

    Give YOU a break?!
    How about giving LOLITA a break!

    It isn’t about you, nor me. It is about a whale who has managed to stay alive for 38 YEARS WHERE SHE IS!

    You want her here for scientific reasons…NOTHING to do with HER benefit!

    So far, every whale ‘rescued’ has DIED when returned home!

    “On December 13th, 2003 Keiko died of pneumonia in the coastal waters of Norway. He was burried in a private funeral on December 14th, 2003 on the banks of the Norwegian fjord where he had spent the last five years. Although this is a sad end to the story of Keiko, his handlers are quick to point out that at least Keiko had five years of freedom before he died.”
    http://www.kidzworld.com/article/2479-freeing-captive-whales-is-it-the-right-thing

    No whales should be captured now or ever again!

    That said, Keiko may have had five years of ‘freedom’ but what was his quality of life turned back into ‘freedom’? His world was upside down again and he couldn’t adjust. It appears his five years of ‘freedom’ may well have been five years of abject misery.

    You say you will hand feed Lolita but she has lived 38 years in a tank of warm water and daily human contact…how would she adjust back into our frigid and toxic waterways?

    IF her mother is still alive, would her mother accept her after a 38 year absence?
    You have no way of knowing.. and Lolita would still be performing here…only for you and scientists …IF she should survive the transfer.
    Sharon O’Hara

  8. Rather than try to remake points already made I’ll just point out one small factual error. The tank water at the Seaquarium is chilled to 52-55 degrees, only a few degrees above Puget Sound temps, so Sharon O’Hara has convinced me she is not directly employed or connected to the Seaquarium.
    But please…calling the revolving door of poorly paid trainers “Lolita’s family” is purely the stuff of PR propaganda and shows O’Hara has little or no idea of the strength and quality of the bonds in real orca families. Lolita hasn’t “bonded to humans” any more than prison inmates with strong constitutions and a family life to return to bond to their guards.

  9. Whatever Lolita has bonded to has kept her alive 38 years in the same place!
    According to you, she should have died when she was taken from the pod.
    Which whale tour boat business provides revenue for you?

    You, Orca Network…have no idea what Lolita has bonded to…it is outrageous how you claim to read her mind.
    Sharon O’Hara

  10. This is simple, Sharon. Lolita is an enslaved, sentient being in her current circumstances. It’s time to let her choose her own path.

  11. Sounds cruel to me, Vern.
    Lolita was ripped from her pod at a young age.
    Instead of dying she has lived a life for 38 years…a life not of her choosing, nor ours… but a life nonetheless…she survived in that new life.
    If you uproot her again after 38 years…your group is no better than the group that took her away and probably worse. You know better.
    Sharon O’Hara

  12. OrcaNet are not “My” group. I’m puzzled why you think life in an aquarium for a highly intelligent, top ocean predator is somehow a benefit to Lolita.

    Sharon, the worst case is that she is cared for, for the rest of her life, in habitat that she is adapted to, by people whose ONLY interest is her welfare. It is more likely than not that she will rejoin her family and perhaps bear young.

    Ironically, what little science the seaquarium folks have done has shown that she and her kind are more than just animals. It is the height of cruelty to imprison her for the amusement of people.

  13. For starters, Vern…Lolita should NEVER have been taken from these waters and placed in an aquarium. NEVER.
    The other whales taken died within a short time of capture. Not Lolita.

    Therefore, IF it is true that Orcas bond forever with their pod, never leave their mother and would die away from them, what happened to Lolita that has kept her alive 38 years after she was taken in 1970?

    My guess is that her youth when captured and the fact she wasn’t moved from one location to another but lived with the same aquarium allowed her to bond to the place and/or people working with her.
    Seems a reasonable guess to me, IF it is true that the Orca whale bond with the pod and die without them.

    Another guess based on the information given on Orcas… she is alive because she is happy and bonded.

    Now, you not only want to take her from a place she has been 38 years on a schedule and routine, you want to bring her into our toxic and poisoned waterways.

    For science, I can understand wanting her here to study her reactions, all adding to the skimpy information about Orcas.

    Can a Orca whale be unhappy, feel solitary, yet remain alive and cooperative with her human handlers?

    I don’t go places to see the big cats, gorillas, elephants, bears…our wildlife in cages and pacing back and forth if the crate is big enough. These are sickening sights.

    I don’t volunteer at the pet shelter. Seeing the penned dogs, I want to take them home knowing their fate through no ‘fault’ of their own and would bring them home under other circumstances.

    That said, it appears Lolita is well and happy where she is and has been for 38 years.

    Uprooting her now seems counter productive to her happiness….if that is the goal.
    Sharon O’Hara

  14. P.S.
    The fact is Lolita is charming children and people who have never and would never have occasion to see a killer whale in their natural habitat.

    She is the class “Show and Tell” if you will.
    Lolita is a killer whale ambassador, thrilling people, especially children from around the world….enthralling the people swarming to see her perform.

    She is teaching children the value of our sea creatures, up close and personal…few of them would ever see one at sea. She is making children aware…

    Lolita is doing more for orcas where she is than she could possibly do for science bringing her back here to an almost certain miserable death.
    Sharon O’Hara

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