What is it about whales and dolphins? I’m sixty-one and as an aging boomer was brought up like most other aging boomers, to believe cetaceans (whales, dolphins etc.) were happy campers in tanks/pools.
“Can’t you see them smiling, Rick?” Why would a ten year old question the sage advice of ones parents? If I’d known then what I know now, I’d be questioning quite a bit more. But c’est la vie.
Fortunately my parent’s distancing and eventual abandonment of me, eventually led me to the love of domestic animals and later wildlife and nature and now all of the above. Meeting my wife Lee reinforced that love of nature and wildlife and we explore everything together. One couldn’t ask for more. I thank God daily.
I’ve thought about them and created cartoons about them long before they re-evolved into the news. Seaworld’s “pride and joy” Tilikum, a bull orca, is dying. He was their prize catch back in the early 80s. He’s weighed 12.5 thousand pounds. More than half the orcas now at Florida’s Seaworld share his genes. Imagine how much money that saved them in pursuing more. They became a “puppy farm” so to speak, being every bit as much in the orca breeding business as in cruel entertainment.
And though my beloved wife Lee and I live on the ledge of a National Park/Forest, it is very easy to forget when one lives inland, in the mountains as we do, that Orcas and dolphins are every bit as wild as the creatures we have grown to love in our forest.
Cetaceans must live in the wild. In their case it is the ocean. That is for numerous reasons. A few but surely not even close to all are their need to swim for miles (sometimes 30-50 per day). Another is that they communicate via very high pitch shrill sounds. When communicating in a tank/pool, that sound echoes off the concrete walls, driving each of them insane. So when they kill or injure a trainer, it is not because they are vicious animals, it is because they are tortured and in terrible pain. The type attacks do not occur in the wild. In fact, quite the opposite.
Though I’ve done my share of reading, given my Autism, I don’t always retain it. However, my patient beloved wife Lee, has a way of explaining it to where it is not slanted, but simply independently researched (and double independently researched facts).
That is one reason I have taken it on as a personal cause. Without going into detail, I experienced narcissistic torture as a child well into adulthood. Without the help of 29 years of therapy and my wonderful wife Lee, I am not sure I could have gotten past “those dark ages”.
I hereby offer a percentage of all my orca gifts in my RickLondonGifts.com/LTCartoons.com line to benefit cetacean captivity. And I won’t stop in my lifetime until/unless Orca/Dolphin captivity prisons such as Seaworld et al close their doors.
Rick London is a writer, musician, designer and cartoonist, environmentalist and animal activist. He is best known for launching Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts from a metal shed in rural Ms in 1997. He is married to Lee Hiller-London (Lee Hiller) who is a nature photographer and designer and owner of the popular nature/wildlife blog Hike Our Planet. To see Rick’s orca gifts whose sales benefit orca causes visit his Orca Store.