Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Whale/Dolphin Wednesday - Death at Sea World

Last week I had the incredible honor of meeting and talking with David Kirby, author of Death at Seaworld and Naomi Rose, PhD, the lead "character" of the book and the Senior Scientist of Humane Society International.

Death at Seaworld explores the dark side of Sea World and the captivity of whales. The book details the tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, as well as other less known incidents in the history of the park.  Kirby follows the story of Naomi and former Sea World trainers who have turned into animal rights activists.

David started out the night talking about Death at Seaworld, which reads like a novel. David uses Naomi as his lead character, detailing her research and history with wild orcas.  David also researched the Sea World side of the story, talking with former trainers Jeff Ventre, Carol Ray and Samantha Berg.  Current Sea World staffers would not comment.

David Kirby has been a professional journalist for almost 20 years as a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and the New York Times.  He lives in Brooklyn, NY and his other books include:

Evidence of Harm - Mercury in vaccines and the Autism Epidemic:  A Medical Controversy

Animal Factory - The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment

Death at Sea World - Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity

Click any of the links for more information about David's books.

Naomi was next.  Naomi Rose, PhD is the Senior Scientist for Humane Society International, specializing in international marine mammal protection.  She is a member of International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee, the Society of Marine Mammalogy and Sigma Xi (the scientific research society)  She has co-edited the State of the Cetacean Environmental Report since 2003.  
Naomi obtained her Doctorate in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her dissertation was on the social dynamics of male orcas in British Columbia.

Naomi opened things up for questions about not only orcas related to the book but anything related to her work.  Once I started asking questions, I just wanted to hang out and pick her brain all night!  What a privilege to have this opportunity!!!  
Naomi has personally worked on many of the issues that I have been talking about on Whale/Dolphin Wednesday, including my recent posts regarding the potential import of beluga whales.  Needless to say, I was in awe.

It was an amazing night indeed and I am thoroughly enjoying Death at Seaworld so far.  I will be posting a review in the future, but I can tell you already it will be 5 stars.

In Taiji this week, on Thursday between 26-28 Striped dolphins were brutally slaughtered in the killing cove.  One other was taken into captivity for the Taiji Whale Museum.  Three Risso dolphins were also taken for captivity on Thursday.
Yesterday, a pod of 40-60 pilot whales were driven into the cove. 

For anyone who missed the announcement yesterday, I have decided to move Whale/Dolphin Wednesday to it's own blog where I can post more often about these issues.  I will probably duplicate posts for a couple weeks, but if you have enjoyed these Whale/Dolphin Wednesday posts, please visit my new blog at Ocean Advocate

Ocean Advocate also has it's own facebook page.  You can "Like" it HERE



  1. What a great opportunity for you to meet David and Naomi and hear first hand their thoughts. I know this is a subject close to your heart so I expect you had loads of questions for them. Look forward to hearing about the book review.

  2. How exciting to get to meet them! I'm glad there are people exposing all of this. Somehow, people just don't hear much about this. I personally advocate for wolves, and it's sad how much misinformation there is out there about them. It's truly ugly what some do to animals.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse