I’m no fan of SeaWorld and such places. I remember going to a similar park, Marine World in northern California, as a child and feeling a sense of unease to see dolphins jumping through hoops and killer whales turning, as it were, tricks. My husband shares my dislike of seeing animals performing at the circus or otherwise and, while our son Charlie has always been fond of water and has at times enjoyed visiting aquariums, we’ve never been inclined to bring him to the likes of SeaWorld.
It was heartening to learn about SeaWorld assisting a once-stranded pilot whale with a specially designed orthopedic brace, the first of its kind. The whale is one of two who had been transported to SeaWorld Orlando’s Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility after they were among nearly two dozen other whales who beached themselves in the Florida Keys this past May. Two of the whales were able to return to sea. Only five of the remaining whales survived; those five were brought to the Marine Mammal Conservancy in Key Largo where, sadly, three more died. The two who are still alive are a younger female, “Fredi,” and an older female, “300″; both have been brought to SeaWorld Orlando’s Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility.
It was “300″ who somehow developed severe scoliosis during her treatment following the rescue. Vets are not sure why she developed curvature of the spine, but have custom-made an adjustable brace for her. “300″ also receives physical therapy three times a day, to strengthen not only her spine, but her tail. However, she may still need surgery following her treatment.
Due to their age and needs, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) experts have said that both whales cannot be released into the sea.
Here’s wishing “300″ a full and fast recovery — and here’s also wishing that the two whales can live out their lives swimming peaceably, without being recruited into the ranks of the performing marine mammals at SeaWorld.
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Photo by SeaDave