Why Are Killer Whalesв Dorsal Fins Floppy In Captivity? 18 July 2017, 14:58
Killer Whale. This caller wanted to know why killer whales dorsal fins are floppy in captivity and rigid in the wild. David called in to tell us why. Question Why do the dorsal fins of killer whales in captivity flop down, but in the wild, they donвt? Alison, West Norwood Answer Name: David, High Wycombe Qualification: Watched Netflix Documentary вBlackfishв that described the biology behind it. Answer: The reason the dorsal fins of killer whales are floppy in captivity is because theyвre depressed and anxious.
Humans stoop and sag when they arenвt happy, and stand upright when they are, so it applies to animals too. If you look at the above picture you ll see a majestic Orca jumping out of the water in the wild. The wild where he is free to swim for miles a day, interact with other whales, hunt on his own, and enjoy life. His dorsal fin (the fin on his back) is standing up straight.
You may wonder why that matters. Take a look at the picture below. Whale, whale, whale what do we have here? (Sorry- I couldn t resist). Anyway, on a serious note, this is a photograph of an Orca and a trainer at a SeaWorld Park. His dorsal fin is completely lopsided, falling, drooping, collapsed. There are many reasons for this and they are all a cause of being held in captivity. Less than 1% of OrcasPin the wild have collapsed dorsal fins. P Every single male Orca held in captivity has a collapsed dorsal fin.
Some female whales do as well. The number one cause of a collapsed dorsal fin is depression. Other reasons for a collapsed dorsal fin are illness and injury, dehydration, the fact that whales in captivity spend most of their time at the surface of the water as opposed to underneath it- gravity, and feeding behavior. All of those things are a result of being held in captivity. Whales in the wild swim in deep, vast oceans, with the water current and pressure on either side there to keep it straight and tight.
Unlike in captivity, they must float around at the top of the surface eventually causing the fin to droop. In the wild, Orcas get their hydration through their fresh prey. The fish they are given have been processed, lacking hydration, causing the fin to fall. Dorsal fins are simply one of many clear examples that prove that being kept in captivity for entertainment and money purposes is detrimental to these animals. Check out next week for more.