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Nakai’s Injury: Photographs

September 27, 2012

So here is what Nakai’s injury looks like:

As you can see it is very deep and exposes both underlying tissue and bone.

SeaWorld finally released a statement about the injury:

A killer whale at Sea World was injured while swimming with two other whales during a night performance last week, park officials said Thursday.

The injury to Nakai, an 11-year-old whale, is believed to have occurred when he came into contact with a portion of the pool on Sept. 20, said Sea World spokesman Dave Koontz.

The whale was treated by veterinarians. Park officials did not disclose details of the injury.

“Nakai is currently receiving antibiotics and the veterinarians are pleased with the healing progress of his wound,” Koontz said.

Nakai is “swimming comfortably and interacting with other killer whales” at the park, Koontz said.

It’s hard to look at that wound and be confident that all is as well as Koontz suggests. The big challenge with an injury like this is infection. And Nakai, as Koontz indicates, is being pumped full of antibiotics in the hopes of staving off any bacteria.

Knowing that the chunk of Nakai’s chin that was sheared off was retrieved from the bottom of the pool, I wondered whether there might be some way to try and reattach it, or graft it back on. I was told, by someone who knows, that it is very difficult to sew or staple killer whale parts back on due to the force of water constantly rushing past the skin. Apparently, something like that was tried (and failed) with Splash after he injured his jaw.

Instead, I was told, SeaWorld sometimes uses an interesting and surprising remedy to try and protect open wounds: honey, which is used as a topical wound treatment.

Sounds a little nutty, but give SeaWorld points for creativity. Honey, apparently, is a well-known traditional topical agent:

Honey is an ancient remedy for the treatment of infected wounds, which has recently been ‘rediscovered’ by the medical profession, particularly where conventional modern therapeutic agents are failing. There are now many published reports describing the effectiveness of honey in rapidly clearing infection from wounds, with no adverse effects to slow the healing process; there is also some evidence to suggest that honey may actively promote healing. In laboratory studies, it has been shown to have an antimicrobial action against a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi. However, further research is needed to optimise the effective use of this agent in clinical practice.

I was told that honey is sometimes used on abrasions on Tilikum’s flukes.

So there you have it: antibiotics and honey. Hope that works. Judging from these photos, Nakai is going to need all the help he can get.

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35 Comments leave one →
  1. Tinkabella permalink
    September 27, 2012 9:10 pm

    Sick, sick sick……SeaWorld continues to disgust me. Given the large diameter of the wound I wonder if it will ever heal.

  2. Orcalover permalink
    September 27, 2012 10:16 pm

    I’m really interested in hearing what BS sea world is going to dish out this time to try to butter this up and make it sound better than it really is… This is just so incredibly sickening. On so many levels!

  3. Michelle permalink
    September 28, 2012 3:31 am

    Once again it just shows the joys of captivity…..and if Nakai does not make it?….it will be a case of ‘ …this one is broken, lets get a new one…’
    Another sod of a whale will be taken from the ocean to entertain the crowd. Whoop-dee-doo…

  4. September 28, 2012 3:57 am

    so many types of wrong in this story ugh, humanity!

  5. lizette maas permalink
    September 28, 2012 5:54 am

    this is one more reason why whales and dolphins should not be in captivity….they even cannot take good care of them…this is torture… set him free…

    • October 11, 2012 11:40 am

      He would need massice amounts of rehabilitation if that were to be done. Against that, too?

  6. Mhairi Williams permalink
    September 28, 2012 8:00 am

    I can’t believe it.. this crap has to stop.. I hate you Sea World

  7. Krista permalink
    September 28, 2012 9:48 am

    Antibiotics but no pain killers? That wound must be excruciating.

  8. Kimberly permalink
    September 28, 2012 9:49 am

    Ridiculous!!! I will continue to boycott Sea World and let people know how disgusted I am with them!!!

    • Sherrie permalink
      September 29, 2012 4:45 pm

      My favorite word: BOYCOTT!! I’ve been boycotting SeaWorld and anything and everything with the likes that capture wild animals whether they are of land and sea! Circus’ with their egregious animal abuses, aquariums–because of the captivity factor and SeaWorld is right there in the muck of all of them. I’ll be doing the same–Boycotting and spreading the word of how disgusted I am with them too!

  9. September 28, 2012 10:07 am

    Captivity maimes and kills! Disgusting! I cannot imagine what this being is going through. Say NO to dolphin and whale shows!

  10. Janice permalink
    September 28, 2012 10:55 am

    Thank you Tim for keeping us informed. Again, Sea World sickens me … when will they stop and do what’s right? ONLY when the money stops coming in. Until then, all the Orca’s are sentenced to death-row. As fellow humans, we should be so ashamed.

  11. Jochem permalink
    September 28, 2012 11:52 am

    To be honest, it is well known that a piece of a body is separated the longer it takes before it is put back the smaller the chances of it reattaching again, specially if said piece has been lying in the water, for the water will flush out vital fluids that the animal needs for reattachment.
    And yes, honey IS well known for it’s anti-septic properties, vets use it all the time and even normal doctors use it.
    So far for defending Seaworld.
    Now for giving my opinion on this matter.
    Such a wound from scraping “a portion of the pool”? That means the pool is unfit for keeping wild animals.
    Such a wound from fighting with other orkas? That means that he doesn’t fit in with the rest of the group (flaw 1) and that the pools aren’t prepared for such a problem that one orka should be able to escape in case of a fight (flaw 2) which again means that the pool is unfit for keeping wild animals.
    To summarise: Humans are unfit for keeping wild animals!!!

    • Sherrie permalink
      September 29, 2012 4:36 pm

      Amen Jochem! 100% totally agree! Plus, totally disgusting what happened to this wild marine mammal. Seaworld should ONLY be used as a santuary or refuge for injured animals—(well, I guess they have one now, albeit beget at their own hands) and not used for entertainment and exploitation.

  12. vs03sgd@hotmail.com permalink
    September 28, 2012 12:03 pm

    Let us animal lovers join together and stop this horrible torture against animals all over our world. I feel ashame to be a human beeing..

  13. ria. permalink
    September 28, 2012 4:35 pm

    How many more incidents are going to happen….When will these farce of marine parks say enough is enough. ‘Bangs Head’
    This also makes me think of Morgan who was stolen by seaworld (not unusual) and remains in a tank to do tricks for people and who is often attacked at Loro Parque by other orca.She should not be there!
    Manuka Honey is used alot here in NZ especially on ulcers and other wounds that are resistant to a broad spectrum of anti biotics. Not everybody can use it as it sometimes irritates and burns causing more pain to the patient. How would this little orca voice his discomfort im not sure. There’s also the problem of keeping it in place, Im sure there are waterproof dressing around… just not sure how it would stay dry due to the position of where it is.

    • October 11, 2012 11:43 am

      Ugh, “stolen?” Are you serious? And how do you know that the honey will affect him the same way ift affects us?

  14. Gwen McKenna permalink
    September 28, 2012 5:49 pm

    The pain from this injury must be terrible. $eaWorld is full of bull crap and we all know it. This injury happened when the whale “came into contact” with the pool? What does this mean? Whales don’t just slam into walls for no reason. The $eaWorld spin doctors will be working on their ridiculous excuses for this inexcusable injury.

    • October 11, 2012 11:39 am

      Even orcas can make mistakes. He may have been trying to slide onto the platform on which they do that, and miscalculated. That’s what this looks like to me.

  15. September 28, 2012 11:23 pm

    we need to stop showing up to these kinds of shows, i
    f there wasn’t a demand for this shit it wouldn’t exist

  16. September 29, 2012 7:08 am

    Those Freaking IDIOTS at SEAWORLD-OMG!!!! This is inexcuseable, damn it! BoyCott Seaworld!!!!!!!

  17. Brandon Walker permalink
    September 29, 2012 11:15 am

    Orcas exhibit many behaviors that produce injuiries both in the wild and captivity. I suppose I’m saying that if you look at the deep “Raking” marks on the backs of orcas (from scraping thier teeth on each other) or the bites they give each other during thier entry into sexual maturity….these animals sometimes have serious battle scars. The injury to Nakai is gruesome looking and this is not to defend sea world. Its merely to say that I dont believe that killer whales are going crazy in captivity and running into walls. The animals were likely displaying aggressive behavior towards each other and this injury was a result of that behavior. The contact with the pool is something that would not have happened in the wild.

    • Harry permalink
      September 30, 2012 11:54 pm

      In regards to your comment, yes, orcas in the wild DO rake one another like this, but there’s a big fundamental issue with the wild rakes versus SeaWorld’s.
      In the wild, it’s simply used to show heriarchy and dominance, and the whale being attacked can flee in any direction. Plus if animals don’t like one another, they can stay far away from each other.
      In captivity, these attacks can result from boredom and just plain out hatred of the individual animal. In a tank, the orcas CANNOT flee in any direction, because they just have walls and eventually get cornered. Some of the animals probably don’t even understand the purpose of this and see it as a game or something. The reciever just has to take the punishment over and over…
      Morgan and Tekoa in Loro Parque are fine examples of this behavior.

      Yes, wild animals in the wild rake others, but trying to compare wild rakes versus captive rakes is like comparing apples with oranges. They are two totally different behaviors fueled by different enviroments and upbringings.

  18. marcie permalink
    October 1, 2012 4:49 pm

    What a horrible sight. He has to be in tremendous pain from such a large & open wound. Serious questions remain unanswered:
    * What is the likelihood of healing, given the severity of such an injury?
    * Is he experiencing pain during feeding?
    * How about the daily tooth flushing procedure many SW whales endure 3 to 4 times a day? How is this injury unaffected by the pressure of flushing water into his teeth?
    * Will he be sharing space with females?
    * If so, surely they’re hyper-focused on his new vulnerability. Any semi-aggressive or accidental contact by another whale on, or near the wound would be very painful, no?
    * Could that contact further damage the exposed unprotected bone?

    This is inexcusable and unnecessary. The hypocrisy of Sea World is stunning. On the one hand, their carefully choreographed performances are filled with politically correct narratives; conservation, education and environmental awareness. But as they sing, dance, and speak of their unmatched care for the animals ~ they’re selling tickets to caged animal tricks performed to loud thumping music and screaming people. When will people see this for what it is?

    • October 11, 2012 11:37 am

      I’m not sure if you knew this already, but maybe there’s a reason for why they are not giving him painkillers. And by the way, these animals are desensitized to the music and audience. Would you say the same thing if I told you that they do the same thing with horses? Performing to loud music and screaming people?

  19. Fer permalink
    October 3, 2012 1:17 pm

    STOP CAPTIVITY

  20. October 11, 2012 11:34 am

    OK, I’ve REALLY had it up to my eyeballs with this anti-cap business. There is a bond of TRUST between orca and trainer. And the shows are often quite educational to the public. And no one can force these 6,000 pound animals to do anything: that choice is up to the animal. Have you ever looked at BOTH sides of this issue? Yes, they live longer in the wild. But they are taking steps to change that, thanks to research. Captivity isn’t always a bad thing. And you know what? This article isn’t even about captivity. It’s about NAKAI’S PROGRESS. And don’t bother ranting on me: you cannot change my opinion. You are also entitled to yours. Think about it.

    • lila22 permalink
      October 22, 2012 3:19 pm

      You are incredibly ignorant. Educate yourself a little bit.

    • March 10, 2014 4:03 am

      Wowwww….Sydney, who do you work for?? You sound like a puppet for the guilty. On this topic you’ve managed to keep yourself incredibly ignorant!

      Best of luck figuring things out, and perhaps even becoming a friend to these beautiful animals if not in actions then at least in words.

      i wish this for myself as well and for all of us who are hurt by this and other reports. Things are going to get better no doubt.

Trackbacks

  1. Nakai Photos and Backstory « Tim Zimmermann
  2. Orca at SeaWorld Missing Half His Chin | Earth in Transition
  3. SeaWorld Orca Suffers Gruesome Injury -- But How? | Care2 Causes

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