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Department of Revealing Moments: False Killer Whale Jumps Out Of Tank

July 14, 2010

This YouTube video has been getting a lot of views, because it does what all good video does: it makes you sit up, take notice, and think.

We can’t know what that false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) is thinking, but it’s definitely not: “I like it in here, I think I’ll stay.”

During my reporting for The Killer In The Pool I heard stories of killer whales that had jumped out of the pool, particularly a SeaWorld orca called Kotar, who was moved from Orlando to San Antonio after he bit the penis of another male (what would Freud say?). Kotar eventually died after a pool gate he was playing with closed on him and crushed his head.

Does anyone know the facts about Kotar, or of other videos or stories about dolphins and killer whales jumping out of their pools?

The video story of the incident above continues (interesting to note the reaction of the other animals). You can bet the audience left that park wondering about many things.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeff permalink
    July 14, 2010 7:48 pm

    Tim, great find. That animal is a “false killer whale”, or Pseudorca crassidens. The “okie” is every bit as intelligent, expressive, and unique as it’s bigger cousin. If the orca is a Corvette, the pseudorca is a Suzuki SV650. They are torpedo-shaped and at the top of their food chain. They prefer warmer seas, and are members of Delphinidae. They are annually hunted by Japanese fisherman. Yes, I heard that Kotar did the same thing (while alive) at Sea World of Texas. I believe it occurred twice. The Shamu Stadium in San Antonio was apparently flooded to recover the animal. If that statement doesn’t translate into, “Let me outta here”, I’m not sure what does.

  2. July 17, 2010 12:26 pm

    I am going to do some digging into the situation but making the statement about how the animal wanted out is pretty irresponsible in my opinion Tim, you’ve done some great journalistic coverage previously and so I am surprised.

    So, what do you think about strandings?

    Animals do it on purpose–so using the same reasoning do they want out into a situation that will ultimately result in their death?

    Take note that the perimeter barrier is way too low.

    The first movement made me wonder if the animal was after the trainer–I’ve seen animals launch and lunge out of the water in pursuit but no telling why the animal jumped out.

    Aquarium fish do it in aquariums all the time but I’ll let you know what I find out.

  3. Jeff permalink
    July 17, 2010 4:58 pm

    In addition to disease, one known cause of strandings is the Navy’s use of loud sonar pings. Presuming the okie above was in good health, and without damage to it’s echolocating organs or brain, there is only one obvious way to describe the event (as Tim did). The animal elected to exit it’s pool. I didn’t realize there was a standard perimeter height, and that one looks quite typical.

    “The Navy’s most widely used sonar systems operate in the mid-frequency range. Evidence of the danger caused by these systems surfaced dramatically in 2000, when whales of four different species stranded themselves on beaches in the Bahamas. Although the Navy initially denied responsibility, the government’s investigation established that mid-frequency sonar caused the strandings.”

  4. Amanda permalink
    July 20, 2010 12:26 pm

    Watching those videos, I can’t get over how “calm” the staff seems to be, in reaction to this. It’s almost as if it’s routine. I understand that things will get done a lot quicker and more carefully when the situation is reacted to in such a calm manner, but wow, I am still surprised.

    I am even more surprised that the audience wasn’t ushered out as soon as it happened. If this happened in any one of the SeaWorld parks, the public would be out of there so fast…

    Thanks for posting those videos. Seeing actual footage of something like this is pretty unbelievable. I’d be interested in any Kotar finds you come across.

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