Documentary Review : Blackfish (2013)

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

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My Rating: 4.5/5

Few of us knew that orcas and dolphins are among sea creatures that blessed with intelligence and aptitude almost like us, human. Orcas, often shown in National Geographic, Discovery Channel, BBC and other channels always displayed their wits either in hunting, mating, communicating or playing. There are many discoveries made by scientists confirming orca is the smart animal. The capture of orcas or known as killer whale begun in the early 1980s. Those who involved in this horrendous activity will gather their ships to trap the killer whale’s mother and her infants in the inescapable perimeter, using the specific equipment made for the activity, they took the infant from its own mother. This infant whale then will be put in the container and shipped off to the marine park.

Among those infants of killer whale that widely captured at that time, one of them is Tilikum or known dearly as Tilly. The initial part of this documentary comprised series of interviews from the person who involved in the orca captivity, the eyewitness at the marine park and the former SeaWorld (the famous marine park at U.S.) trainer. The fisherman that being interviewed expressed their regret for involved in the unspeakable act, on why he should never separate the killer whale’s mother with her infant and by doing so, he knew he’s committing crime against the nature. Then, the eyewitness told their story of seeing orcas in action in the marine park. However, there are more than seeing orcas in action. Some of them confess of witnessing odd behavior displayed by the orcas. They remember how the trainers being pulled by the orcas in the water and some of them even encounter the trainer in action being collided by the whale itself. On the other hands, the former trainers of SeaWorld spoke fondly of Tilikum or Tilly, and explained that they never predicted Tilly would snap one day.

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Dawn Brancheau

They also talked about Dawn Brancheau. Who is Dawn Brancheau? She’s one of the victims that died because of the impulsive act exhibited by Tilly. One of the former trainers at SeaWorld said that she was shocked knowing Dawn is the victim when she first came to know of it. She said Dawn is one of the most careful and alert trainer. She always reminds her colleagues to not forget the rules and remain vigilant all the time. The question is, who should we put the blame on? The killer whale who should not be put in the marine park at all because they belong to the sea or the trainer who failed to see the consequences of working with orcas or the marine park who hide the secret that Tilly already showing the sign of being dangerous to human, especially trainers itself.

The fact that the marine park is proven for not taking a good care of their animals worrying me a lot. I love zoo and Marine Park. Malaysia may not have many of Marine Parks but if I ever had a chance to go, I would go without any hesitation. After I watched this documentary, something bothered me. I don’t know whether I wanted to go there anymore. Knowing that these animals craving for freedom and prefer their natural habitat than being confined, this notion troubled me. As for Tilly, what’s driven him being so mad and spontaneously attacked Dawn? Many trainers fail to understand  that as Dawn and Tilly are so close to each other. The former SeaWorld Trainers who ever worked with Dawn described Tilly and her are like best friend. It was obviously spur of the moment, Tilly just can’t take it anymore and decided to attack Dawn who’s unfortunately at that time is very close to Tilly. The incident ended when Tilly ripped her arm apart and causing some other fatal injuries on Dawn. Dawn died at the scene.

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There are many commentaries made by the scientist who studies orcas and their behavior in this documentary. One of them told that orca has emotional complexity greater than the human. Thus, the feeling of orcas possessed maybe more heightened and intensified. This would tell us why orcas in the captivity may lose it or may act impulsively someday. They are being deprived from freedom, from natural habitat and from their own off springs. They are also sometimes are badly injured by other whales. Killer whales are proved to socialize among each other in the hierarchical order. Thus, when killer whales are being put in the same container without proper observation, some of the whales could died due to the attack. All of this could contribute to the stress and sending those captive orcas into the depression. That is what deduced by the experts in the event of recent attack made by Tilikum.

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Some of the protests been held infront of the SeaWorld.
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True That!!

OSHA, Occupational safety and Health administration sued Sea World and demand a court order to ensure all the trainers who worked with Orcas to remain safely behind the wall that separated them with Orcas. While SeaWorld keep their defenses that Tilly is not dangerous animal, OSHA keep fighting by revealing many hidden facts and cases by SeaWorld. Court made a decision to grant the demand made by OSHA. Since then, SeaWorld has never give up pleading to the court to remove the order. What happened to Tilly? He remains barricaded in the giant aquarium only to be display at the SeaWorld aquarium. The SeaWorld never intended to release Tilly into the open sea because they use Tilly for other profitable activity. They sold Tilly’s sperms to other Marine parks that own female’s Orcas. As this documentary released in the early of 2013, there are various movements and a group of people who did a protests and demonstrations in front of many SeaWorld parks at different states in America demanding them to release Tilikum back to the sea.

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The director of Blackfish (2013) informed that SeaWorld refused to take any part in the documentary. Well, it just proved how they are guilty and responsible in series of incidents occurred upon its trainees.

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Documentary Review : The Cove (2009)

By the Gorgeous Palah Chingu

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My Rating: 5/5

The Cove (2009) is the documentary film about dolphin mass killing and hunting in Taiji, Japan. Almost 23000 dolphins has been killed every year in Taiji. It was pretty disturbing though. When you entered the Taiji City, you can see everything has ‘dolphinized’. That was my term for saying that they are displaying in their tourism aspect how they adored dolphins, they got a lot of dolphins and whales statutes in it, and they had a whale museum, a marine park for dolphins and…. Wait for it, even the shops where they sold dolphin meats. Taiji have been trying to keep the activist out of the city for so long especially at the area near the cove. When any activists appeared with the cameras and any recording equipment in the cove area, their guard is up. The fishermen (more or less, the dolphin killers) called their colleagues to come and basically, ganged up and prevented any recording to go further. If this occurred right in front of you, you damn sure knew that something is not right happened there. It is a cliché but fuck yeah, something fishy occurred. Why did they get so angry when a bunch of people came to that area with cameras?

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Ric O’Barry

Ric o’barry is the former dolphin trainer. He is now has been fully committed being a dolphin advocate and has been tried to shut the multi billion industry that grown on by captivating this animal. Ric said in his interview that he held himself responsible for the development of marine parks that increase in a large number after he took part in the show called ‘flipper’. In the show, Dolphin named flipper is portrayed by 5 wild dolphins (they took turns as flipper in the series) that Ric himself caught and trained by himself. Ric had a wakeup call that what he did was wrong when one of his dolphins, Cathy (if I’m not mistaken that‘s her name) killed itself by closing the blowhole resulted its own suffocation. I don’t know how Ric felt at that time, but judging how close he was with his dolphins, that must felt like losing one of his close friend. Since the incident, he has been detained for so many times due to the unconventional works he did. He illegally released dolphins in the marine parks and even dare to do so at marine national parks. He knew the risk of getting caught by the local authority and willing to do anything so that the dolphin can get back to their natural habitat.

Let’s talk about Japanese people for a moment. I knew they ate whale, dolphin and other cetacean creatures. I also knew that there are other aboriginal people in some countries like native Alaskan community hunting and eating them are part of their culture and tradition. No judgment is made since I eat cow and sheep and they chose to consume whale and dolphin. They all are the same except whale and dolphin live in the sea and well cow and sheep live in a land. Am I being sarcastic enough? Or other crazy people who seem to agree with the above point. For god sakes, they are not the same. Cow, chicken and sheep can be bred, their number can be increase according to the demand and supply of the market and the number of industrial production of meat is huge. Unlike them, Dolphin and whale are caught viciously in the open sea, in the certain period of time, and those fishermen kept coming back for more next year. Since they are mammals, they are not breeding in the large amount. We usually happened to see, one adult female whale mothering one baby whale. The growing number of whale consuming in Japan , Norway, Iceland and others alarmed the world and forcing the International Whale Commission to issue a moratorium or suspension on the commercial whaling activity. Since then, Japan has been given aid to the poor or developing countries to join the International Whaling Commission and vote for them. For more information, you should read more about International Whaling Commission in the internet. I was astounded on how Japan buying votes from those countries and for those votes, they exchanges it with foreign aid to those countries.

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They chased out the activists who tried to swim across the shore in the attempt to save the dolphins from being slaughtered
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They use a very loud sound to scare the dolphins and cause the dolphins to swim right to the shore area.
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Can you see that? how many dolphins they have killed?
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if you watch the documentary, there are some alive but injured dolphins being treated cruelly, the picture above show it all.
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the cove area filled with blood right after the dolphin slaughtering activity ended.

I cried, dude. I really cried my heart out. Dolphin is one of the intelligent sea creatures. They did not deserve to be treated like that. When dolphin made the sound of screeching, squealing and crying in pain, you really don’t want to listen to it. You will fucking know that they are in pain. Dolphin interacts with each other using whistle like sounds. How Japanese fishermen in Taiji did to capture them is by using the loud noise to confuse them and drove them using more than 5 boats to force them to swim to the nearest shore. After the net has been held against the dolphin, the dolphin trainers will come down near sea shore, picked the bottlenose dolphin that can be sold to many countries particularly those who had the marine park. After the dolphin selection occurred, the fisherman then will be left to do the last work which is killed the rest of the dolphins. Why did you have to kill it? Why can’t you let the rest of it go and live the rest of their life at the sea? Then, their answer befuddled me. They considered dolphin as the pest and they have to get rid of it. Apparently, dolphin has been consuming a lot of fish and cause the decline in number of fishing industry. OBVIOUSLY, the only thing that eats fish in their fucking mind is dolphin. They don’t even considered HUMAN (who eats it in on daily basis) as the reason for the depletion number of fish. Not even once. The sea pollution also could be the factor for it. Astonishingly, they put the blame on this poor creature.

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The team that worked hard to retrieve of evidences on the Taiji Activity.

I applaud the efforts Ric and the rest of the team who are willing to risk their life in saving the dolphins. They may banned from recorded the atrocious activity, but they got the footage anyway and can proved it to the world. The creative cameraman who concealed the cameras in a thing that shaped like rock, you totally rock. The Passionate Divers who swam across the shore to put the camera and sound recorder under water and the rest of the teams who made all of this possible. Thank you so much for what you guys have done in saving the dolphins especially in Taiji. I am so ashamed of myself that I don’t get to do nearly anything that you guys achieved so far. I can only say thanks.