Pilot Whale Gets Orthopedic Brace at SeaWorld

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.

Related Care2 Coverage

24th Orca Dies at SeaWorld

Death of SeaWorld Trainer Prompts Congressional Hearing

Revenge At SeaWorld: Orca Attack Shouldn’t Come As Any Surprise




Photo by SeaDave


Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Dianne D.
Dianne D6 years ago

I am not a fan of using animals for exhibits or entertainment but SeaWorld does have a good rehabilitation program for marine life. They rescue and return to the oceans, hundreds if not thousands of sea life including seals. I hope these whales will have a good life but not used for entertainment.

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado6 years ago

Long life!

Nancy Black
Nancy Black6 years ago

It is good that sometimes our society's "progress" can be helpful for wildlife. Too often our attempts do more harm than good.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago


Cathy Noftz
Cathy Noftz6 years ago

~A sad and uplifting story all in one~It's truly a loss that the whales cannot be returned to the wild~Hopefully, they'll be able to live out the rest of their lives comfortally!~

Stewart L.
Stewart L6 years ago

The hapless artificial imitation of whaleskin (even impregnated with oil to deaden sonar profile of metal)) unfortunately allows for little discrimination in the targeting profile This sonar weapon is automatically deployed by computer control firing of the sonar weapon at all incoming objects in a defensive posture is disturbing. Pilot whales and dolphins match the profile of a stealth- rubber coated - coated electric torpedo in size and speed!.
The NRDC initiated lawsuits in 2004 which resulted in a limiting of mid and lo range sonar frequencies to max level of 148 decibels to address standings and fleeing from sonar . The USN has actively defended against such restrictions as needless and interfering in its training of sailors on its ‘training’ exercises in detecting and finding enemy warships (subs)
I will be making a petition to enact software to help the coputer to stop killing cetaceans. The USN can detect and identify all ships: by hearing their propeller configuration over 3000 kilometers away- from NY harbor to London! Across the entire Atlantic as was bragged and revealed in PBS documentary of the’ Biggest’(‘Nuclear Submarine’ episode aired in summer of this year). The whistles and noises of cetaceans are also discernable at long ranges also! Even as to be able to identify species and even individual animals the passive sonar is indeed that ‘good’

Tiffany L.
Tiffany L6 years ago


Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago


Stewart L.
Stewart L6 years ago

No sign of nitrogen narcosis (rupturing of tissue due to rapid expansion of nitrogen gas in bloodstream) from too rapid rising to the surface. Such gas caused ruptures revealed in microscopic examination of the June 18 whale is remarkable as none were found! This has been offered as response to Cetaceans fleeing normal sonar (mid range location sonar and lo range ('Lorad', communication sonar) has been attributed to standing behavior caused by brain damage because of the ‘bends’ (nitrogen narcosis)
The complete lack of infestations of nasal worms also eliminated the other accepted theory of standing behavior. (infestations can extend into cranial cavity)
The June 18 pilot whale was septic and had massive signs of secondary infections caused by pseudomonas and candida infections that’s why it was euthanized no chance of lving. Such secondary infections are not indicated as the causal event for 24 deaths of the 28 pilot whales so stranded on Cudjoe Key (nearby waters to NAS on Boca Chica Key Florida. The isle of Key West has traditionally been a Naval base for many years till closure. Sub-tender ships based there till nuke boats came along- they need no tending…
The advent of stealthy coating torpedoes and subs to lessen sonar profile with rubberized developed originally by Soviets long ago in Cold War era has consequences. The hapless artificial imitation of whaleskin (even impregnated with oil to deaden sonar profile of metal)) unfortunately allow