Corky Is the Last Northern Resident Orca in Captivity


Swimming in endless circles in a cramped tank at SeaWorld is an orca named Corkythe last Northern Resident orca in captivity. While her siblings and other members of her pod swim free in the ocean, the only life that Corky has known for decades is one of deprivation, suffering, and exploitation.

Kidnapped and Sold Into Captivity

Humans took Corky from her ocean home in 1969, attacking her pod off the coast of British Columbia. They forcibly and violently separated orca calves from their mothers—a bond that many orcas share for life—and sold them into captivity. Of the 13 members of her pod who were captured, Corky is the only one still alive. She has endured the longest captivity of any orca.

Corky Hasn’t Seen Her Immediate Family for More Than 50 Years

Corky’s pod lost a generation of family members because of captures in 1968 and 1969. Now it consists of about 16 orcas—including Corky’s sister, brother, niece, and other family members she has never been able to meet.

Orcas are highly intelligent, emotionally complex animals who mourn the loss of their loved ones. The grief that Corky’s family must have experienced due to these captures is almost unfathomable.

corkys family of northern resident orcas swimming in the ocean

Separated From Her Family and Ocean Home

Northern Resident orcas comprise about 34 pods, each with its own distinct language and culture. Calves form extremely close bonds with their family members and stay with their mother and siblings for their entire lives. In the summer, these orcas visit the beaches near Vancouver Island in British Columbia and rub their bodies over pebbles on the shoreline, which is a unique part of their cultural traditions.

SeaWorld doesn’t just deny Corky her freedom and autonomy—by keeping her captive, the company deprives her of everything that’s natural and important to Northern Resident orcas. The facility has condemned her to a tiny tank for decades and has even housed her with incompatible tankmates. On multiple occasions, other orcas have attacked and injured Corky, who is no doubt suffering from distress and loneliness because of separation from her pod for so long.

Bring Corky Home Before It’s Too Late

SeaWorld has already taken decades of Corky’s life. While her family members spent the last 50 years visiting rubbing beaches and raising the next generation of orcas, SeaWorld and the now-defunct abusement park Marineland of the Pacific forced her to perform tricks for ticket sales.

Corky in front of a crowd at SeaWorld San Diego

But you can help give Corky the chance to finally be near her family. A team of experts has been working to build a seaside sanctuary so that Corky could return home to the ocean waters where she belongs.

If released into a sanctuary in these waters, Corky would have an opportunity to communicate with her own siblings, who traveled with their mother until she reportedly passed away—an opportunity Corky was denied. There, she could feel flowing currents, dive deep into the water, and regain some semblance of a natural life. But for that to happen, SeaWorld needs to act now before it’s too late.

Take action for Corky by telling SeaWorld to implement a plan immediately to release her into a seaside sanctuary:





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