Orcapedia presents a sobering look at the current imprisonment of a highly intelligent, socially complex, non-threatening species – orcas – by an industry strictly for profit. Many remember the movement to release Keiko, the orca who appeared in the family drama Free Willy, into the wild. Today, there are dozens of orcas still in captivity.
Readers are introduced to more than 60 orcas by name along with their photos, personal history, and notable incidents that have occurred during their captivity. The text makes it clear that they are imprisoned "inmates" and instills a full understanding of the injustices being perpetrated. Colour images capture the beauty of these mammals. Their size, eating and mating habits, and pod dialects and structures work against them in captivity which is graphically illustrated by five pages of headstones.
While many orcas would not survive if they were suddenly released into the wild, the authors recommend the use of sea pens, which present a viable compromise by allowing the orcas greater freedom, providing them with the opportunity to learn how to catch fish, having trainers on hand to assess their health, and offering visitors a view of whales living in more natural surroundings. Orcapedia mandates change and inspires us to follow through.
Captain Paul Watson is a Canadian/American marine conservation activist, who founded the direct-action group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977. He has been described as the world's most aggressive, determined, active and effective defender of wildlife. Tiffany Humphrey has been working with marine wildlife since 2003. From 2009 until 2013, she worked as Paul's executive assistant at Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.