These are photos of Nakai’s wound.
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.
Okay, here’s what I have been told about Nakai’s injury at SeaWorld California.
First: it is a serious injury, with a dinner plate-sized chunk of his lower mandible sheared off, exposing underlying tissues, and bone. The most serious concern, I think, is the possibility of a bad, possibly even…
Today, 42 years ago Lolita arrived at the Miami Seaquarium and was put into the world’s smallest orca tank — where she languishes to this day, swimming in endless circles in her tiny outdated concrete pool.
Today her presumed Mother, “Ocean Sun,” and family pod are swimming free in the Salish Sea off the coast of Seattle, Washington. Please keep her in your mind and don’t give up on her retirement, as well as the retirement of other captive animals suffering for the entertainment industry.
And don’t forget to sign the petition: Name the next Washington State Ferry “Tokitae” here:
…the dolphin’s digestive tract contained fishing hooks, squid beaks (not usual prey for dolphins in the area) and ulcers, suggesting that humans may have contributed to his demise.
During 100 hours of observations over several months in 2011, researchers with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program observed Beggar interacting with humans 3,600 times. People tried 169 times to feed Beggar an impressive range of 520 foods, including beer and hot dogs. On 121 occasions, boaters tried to pet the dolphin. Nine times, they were bitten for their efforts.
Last night Dr. Naomi Rose shocked with these words, “I know for a fact, parks are looking at Alaska to catch killer whales”. For everyone interested, some basic information on the Alaskan orca communities.
In Alaska there live both resident and transient orcas. Offshores are encountered only rarely. The Alaska residents occur from southeastern Alaska to the Aleutian Islands and the Bering sea. In Southeast Alaska there are around 117 killer whales, in Prince William Sound an estimate of 500 and in Western Alaska another 500 (2004).
Shocking is the potential biological removal (PBR) level for Alaska residents: Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), a total of 11 orcas could be taken from these populations without harming them.
Is it possible to have just one? We invite your comments!
…that the MBA doesn’t keep cetaceans in captivity!
CONSERVATION (not info-tainment for profit) done right:
Counting California’s iconic sea otters
For the past 30 years, a team of scientists, volunteers and pilots has gathered to conduct an annual survey to answer one critical question: How many sea otters are there in California?
The census, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, is an opportunity to assess the progress of efforts to recover a population that was hunted to near extinction by fur traders.
Although hunting was banned more than a century ago and sea otters are today a protected species, the population continues to grow at a sluggish rate.
Federal listing in 1977 as a threatened species prompted the annual sea otter census along its entire range in California. Pups and adults are counted by teams on land, and a companion aerial survey helps calibrate the count (and potentially spot animals offshore, beyond sight of land-based census-takers).
A slow road back
Over the years, the population has advanced and declined. But one fact is clear: The southern sea otter population is not growing at a healthy rate. On average, 10% of the population is found dead each year. Annual mortalities include a growing number of sick, injured and stranded pups that are brought to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for care.
The 2012 census shows a slight increase in sea otters above 2010 count. (Poor weather conditions prevented a 2011 survey.) But the population is smaller than it was in 2007, when it reached the highest level recorded since the census began in 1982. Overall numbers remain well below the figure that would move sea otters off the endangered species list.
Scientists are concerned that mortalities include large numbers of breeding-age females, and the high rate of infectious disease across the population. Decades of intensive study show that the causes are complex. The solutions remain elusive.
So what’s a sea otter lover to do?
Actions that matter
In addition to supporting more research, and funding to pay for that research, sea otters need political assistance. The science indicates that there are problems with the health of our coastal waters, where these top predators live. Because sea otters eat many of the seafood items we enjoy, solving the threats they face can benefit our own health.
California taxpayers can support more research through a voluntary income tax check-off that’s already raised significant and much-needed funds. At the Monterey Bay Aquarium we’re playing our part, too. Through our rescue and rehabilitation work, we’re identifying the challenges sea otters face in the wild — through analysis of their diet, their vulnerability to boat strikes and their interaction with fisheries. Our exhibit sea otters serve as surrogates to raise stranded pups for return to the wild. We compare survival rates for surrogate-reared pups with wild-raised pups, and the health of otter populations in relatively pristine waters with those near populated coastal regions.
In Sacramento and Washington D.C., our policy team advocates for legislation to protect sea otter habitat, to allow otters to return to their original range — including waters off southern California — and to ensure there’s funding for research needed to recover the population.
We can do this vital work because of the support of our members, donors and visitors. Thank you for supporting sea otter health, the health of our coastal ecosystems and a future with healthy oceans.
(All photos ©Jim Capwell)
I have been disheartened to read some of the comments made by pro caps since Shouka’s arrival at SeaWorld San Diego from Six Flags.
Some pro caps have been vitriolic in their attitudes towards anti caps. With hate and bile spewed towards us all day for being “hypocrites”, for seemingly being…
That place is the definition of shithole. Kohana wasn’t even four years old before they seperated her from Tiki, Skyla was taken at just two years old AND she’s related to Tekoa and Keto, Tekoa’s always trying to get with Kohana, Keto was transferred away from Lina in Orlando to SD at three and a…
Am too close to Kohana & the situation at “Horror” Parque to comment rationally, so will let cog-nito do it for me…what she said…
Young Women in Science
On a foggy morning in Moss Landing, California, an energetic group of middle school girls don wetsuits and life vests. They’re not just preparing for an epic kayak adventure through Elkhorn Slough. They’re learning how they can help save the world’s oceans.
The girls are a part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Young Women in Science program. In this special Otter Camp, young women, mostly from Salinas and Watsonville, are introduced to the ocean and marine life through activities in and around Monterey Bay. The camp is presented in English and Spanish.
It’s part of a long-term effort by the Aquarium to help young women see themselves as having a future in the sciences and in math, at an age when many girls get the message that there’s no place for them in those worlds. In addition to adventures and outings on the bay, participants also meet women working in the sciences – role models for the many possibilities that await.
Here are a couple of photos of the girls enjoying various adventures during Young Women in Science this summer.