Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.

Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Should Killer Whales be Banned from Marine Parks?

There is a bill before the California legislature to ban the use of killer whales at SeaWorld in San Diego. The bill would also ban the breeding of killer whales, also known as Orcas.If the ban becomes law,it will be the first of its kind in the United States. Many school children in the state have been involved in the efforts, helping to collect 1.2 million signatures in support of the bill, called AB2140, the Orca Welfare and Safety Act.

The killer whales are a very popular attraction at SeaWorld but many feel these very large mammals should not be kept in captivity.Others feel that important research is learned by studying and breeding the whales.At the current time, SeaWorld Park in San Diego has Orcas, six born at the park and four which were caught in the ocean.The California legislature this week decided to put on hold the decision to vote on the bill saying it needed more time to study the bill. Currently there are about 14 countries that have such bans on captive mammals such as Orcas, dolphins and other wild animals. These countries include Switzerland, Croatia and Chile. The country of Greece not only bans dolphins but all animals from entertainment activities including circuses. 

Fun Facts about Orcas:
Largest  of the dolphin family.
Can weigh 7-10 tons  and be 26 ft. long.(largest was about 30 ft.)
Travel in pods (large groups)led by the female.
Scare their prey by slapping the water with their fluke.
Extremely intelligent
Like the bat, the orca uses echolocation to help it search for food.
Ocras has the second largest brain of all marine mammals(only the sperm whale's brain is larger)
Photograph from nmfs.noaa.

Extension Activities:
•What do you think?
•If killer whales are banned, should elephants, tigers and other wild animals be banned from circuses?
•Write a short paragraph stating your opinion on this news story. Give 2 reasons to support your position.
• Draw/color a picture of an orca. Write a paragraph telling about a day in your life at a marine park.

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