SeaWorld also claims it provides “restaurant-quality fish, exercise, veterinary care, mental stimulation, and the company of other members of their species.” Not to quibble, so silly is the claim overall—but a live salmon caught and swallowed by a wild orca is fresher than what is served in a restaurant.
What is more relevant is that the diet and all else experienced by the captive orca is contrived, alien, and fundamentally different from what is experienced in the wild, at all levels. In the wild, the orca is part of site-specific, complex, interactive, dynamic food chains. Choice of diet, which can include everything from small organisms to chunks of large whales, depends on a multifaceted suite of ever-changing, interacting factors that can never be replicated in a tank. Both the wild orca and the other species sharing its natural habitat affect each other.
The ability of the orca to feed is dependent on the energy derived from the food equaling the energy expended in capturing the food, and all other aspects of living. The less food, the greater the output of energy, until a state of diminishing returns occurs, with a subsequent decrease in orcas—manifested as a decrease in fecundity, immigration to more fruitful locations, or starvation. That is why, in a naturally evolved predator-prey relationship, it is the amount of prey that determines the survivability of the predator. None of this becomes evident from seeing captive orcas, who are simply fed via the same methodology that has done such a horrifically efficient job of destroying so many of the world’s fish stocks: the commercial fishing industry. Predators don’t deplete their prey; humans, being independent of the caloric value of the prey (by virtue of their unique access to technology), do!
See on www.thedodo.com