In 1961

In 1961, in the North Eastern Pacific, the first orca capture occurred. A wild capture crew wrangled the seventeen-foot orca to a tank at the Marineland aquarium in Los Angeles. The aquarium coordinators named her Wanda and expected a spike in popularity to see the first orca in captivity. Due to her stress and anxiety of the capture and placement into a small, housing tank, she repeatedly crashed into the walls and died the following day. Since then, there have been several incidents on record where killer whales have killed themselves or other orcas, attacked or killed their trainer, or have killed. Some suggest that these tragedies reflect the stresses that these creatures experience as a result of entertainment-based captivity.
Currently, the laws that restrict the type of housing tank for orca whales in captivity are very lenient and not up to the standards that should be held while housing a wild animal.
Although, the Marine Mammal Proctetion Act enforces that aquarium coordinators must get a permit to take a marine mammal from the wild, such as an orca. However, permits are easily attained; for scientific research, public enteirtainment, or to recover an injured animal. The United States has not issued one of these permits since 1989; but other nations perform hunts regulary to make money from the captured orcas on display.
Although no laws exist to prohibit the display of orcas, there are laws that require supervision of facilities that house them. The expected standards are difficult to enforce due to the very few number of inspectors to inspect all of the nationwide facilities.
The central laws that regulate the marine mammal facilities are the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The Animal Welfare Act specifies certain qualities that the association must obey to hold an orca whale in captivity. It also sets the standard expected when training, feeding, transporting, or housing marine mammals.


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