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Finding Dory

When Dory met Tilly.

When Dory met Tilly.

Posted 15 August 2013   by Amy         Permalink | 8 Comments

Tags: whales, orcas, SeaWorld, entertainment, Blackfish, Finding Dory, circuses

Last week I went to see the movie Blackfish. It’s a documentary about Tilikum, a whale who has been living in captivity in ‘amusement’ parks since he was 2 years old. If you missed it, here’s the trailer:

Needless to say, I cried and cried and wailed and snorted and hollered “Free Tilly” at the screen.

Orca whales are highly social animals, who swim many many kilometres per day. Yet, poor Tilikum is still living in a tiny tank in SeaWorld, Orlando. And he’s kept in isolation most of the time :(

Thankfully, I am not the only one who has been moved by this incredible documentary and there is hope for whales (and other captive animals) yet!

When the Pixar team saw Blackfish, they realised that captivity is not such a happy ending for animals. They sat down with Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite and made some drastic edits to the script of Finding Dory (the sequel to Finding Nemo, due to be released in 2015). Although little is known of the story line as yet, Pixar has said that while characters do travel to a marine park, they will have the option to go back to the ocean if they choose.

freewilly.jpg

It’s not quite that simple in real life unfortunately BUT it is possible. Remember Free Willy? Willy was played by Keiko, and the movie had such an impact on the public that campaigning led to Keiko being moved to a sea-pen in Iceland waters where he eventually migrated to Norway. Although he was still cared for by professionals, he lived out the remainder of his life with a great deal of freedom.

Animal welfare groups in the U.S. are campaigning to get Tilikum released to a sea-pen and rehabilitated, just like Keiko. (You can add your name to the petition here).

But the best way that you can make a difference is by simply never visiting a marine park that makes animals perform. Just like rodeos and circuses that have animals, using animals for entertainment is unnecessary, and rarely provides animals with an environment that allows them to express their natural behaviours.

Despite the tears, it makes me so happy to see movies like Blackfish being made, exposing the significant problems with keeping wild animals in captivity. Have you seen any good animal documentaries lately? I’d love to hear about them.

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