Proclaim December as "Corky Orca Retirement Month"
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WHEREAS, the first “killer whale” – Orca – was caught in November 1961 by a collecting crew from Marineland of the Pacific in Los Angeles (founded in 1954), where “Wanda” was placed in a tank, the walls of which she repeatedly crashed into, and she died the following day 1; and
WHEREAS, during the 1960s and early 1970s, nearly 70 killer whales were taken from Pacific waters for exhibition and the Southern Resident community of the Northeast Pacific lost 48 of its members to captivity and by 1976, only 80 killer whales were left in the community, which remains endangered; 2 and
WHEREAS, Sea World, founded in San Diego in 1964, was the main player and driver of the world orca trade, exhibiting 36 orcas, nearly a quarter of all those exhibited world-wide; 3 and
WHEREAS, on December 11, 1969, there was a fierce storm north of Vancouver, British Columbia and the “A5” pod of Northern Resident orcas chose to enter Pender Harbour, where word reached a group of local fishermen, who had been looking for another chance ever since the last capture in their area 1968 since marine parks were willing to pay top dollar for a “killer whale”; the fishermen jumped onto their boats, located the orca, and encircled part of the pod with fishing nets, battling all night to keep the nets in place and afloat – at daybreak, half of the pod lay trapped inside the net, with the others still outside staying near their family, and they were surrounded as well; buyers soon arrived and six orca were selected, including a 4-year-old female who would subsequently be named Corky 4; and
WHEREAS, the buyers then organized the young orca's removal, first moving her into shallow water, where divers got into the water and positioned a sling around her body with holes for her pectoral fins; a crane lifted the sling out of the water and hoisted her into a truck modified with the first tank she would experience – removed from the almost weightless experience of the ocean, Corky’s own weight was now crushing down on her in the tiny tank; grease was spread over Corky’s skin to prevent it from drying out and sponges of cool water were squeezed over her to try and keep her body temperature down; the long journey included a ferry, then transfer to a special plane, the flight, transfer to another truck, more roads, and then the final lift into a circular tank at Marineland of the Pacific, near Los Angeles, California 5; and
WHEREAS, during her time at Marineland, Corky became the first orca to become pregnant (unbeknownst to her caregivers) and give birth in captivity; on February 28, 1977, the first calf to be born alive in captivity was born at Marineland to Corky and Orky (another orca captured in British Columbia the year before Corky) – a male who died after eighteen days 6; and
WHEREAS, Corky went on to give birth six more times while at Marineland, with Kiva, the longest surviving calf, living only 47 days; the reasons why Corky's calves did not survive: 1) she was captured too young to have learned how to properly take care of a calf, 2) the small circular shape of Marineland's pools in which Corky had to continually push her calves away from the walls and could not properly present her mammaries to the calves so that they could nurse 7; and
WHEREAS, Corky's time at Marineland ended in January 1987 after the park was sold to SeaWorld (and subsequently closed), when pregnant for the eighth time she was moved with Orky to San Diego and suffered a miscarriage 8; and
WHEREAS, Corky's mate, Orky, bred with the dominant orca at SeaWorld San Diego, Kandu V who birthed Orkid in 1988, the first orca born there, but Orky died just three days later, having lost 4,000 pounds in two months 9; and
WHEREAS, Corky was now without any family in the tank, except for the two calves Orky had fathered with other orca who were Icelandic, not Northern Pacific like her and Orky; Corky became Sea World’s main performer, “Shamu”; and
WHEREAS, in 1989, with Orkid just one year old and just as their show was starting , the SeaWorld San Diego dominant orca Kandu V rushed out from the back pool and charged at Corky, fracturing Kandu's jaw in the process and severing an artery, from which she bled to death with her baby watching; no one had ever seen or heard of an orca attacking another orca before, and in an ironic twist of fate, Corky became Orkid’s surrogate mother 10; and
WHEREAS, Corky is also used as the "Welcome Whale" for new trainers and new orcas and she has also been a surrogate mother to Sumar, Splash, and Keet 11; and
WHEREAS, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. reported revenues of $1.4 Billion in 201312 and the prospectus for its 2013 Initial Public Offering (IPO) credits the San Diego park with generating 20% of corporate revenue 13, or $280 Million in 2013; and
WHEREAS, in March of this year, the City of San Diego proclaimed it to be “SeaWorld San Diego Month”, honoring the 50th Anniversary of SeaWorld's founding in San Diego, and receives about $19 Million each year from SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. in lease and tax payments for its profitable use of Mission Bay-front parkland dedicated by the State of California to the City of San Diego; and
WHEREAS, the National Aquarium has ceased using its captive dolphins for entertainment or breeding and is developing the first “dolphin retirement sanctuary” similar to those existing for most other megafauna species in captivity, and has called upon other captive facility owners to join it in developing retirement sea pen sanctuaries for performing cetaceans (orca are dolphins) 14;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED by the people of San Diego that December 2014 is “Corky Orca Retirement Month” in the City of San Diego, honoring Corky Orca's 45 years of sacrifice and service to the entertainment industry in Southern California and 25 years years of sacrifice and service to SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.'s profits; and calls upon SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. to join the National Aquarium in ending shows and breeding and in developing retirement sea pen sanctuaries for performing cetaceans (whales and dolphins), for rehabilitation and potential reintroduction to the wild.
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