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Can orcas raised or born in captivity be retrained and survive in the wild?

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  1. Why are they living in captivity?
  2. What sparked interest in the releasing of orcas into the wild?
  3. Precautions necessary before releasing Orcas
  4. Previous experiences with orcas being returned to the wild

Nature has undergone many changes over the centuries. Elements are introduced and taken away constantly. Some of these changes are from natural causes while others are from the hands of man. It is quite common for man to force interaction between ecosystems. The orca provides an example of this. Over 40 killer whales have been removed from their natural environment of the past few decades. Some have caused outrage and the immediate request for replacement. With the request comes several questions. The primary question rendered involves the retraining and placement of orcas back in the wild. Research reveals that it is possible to retrain and place orcas from captivity back into the wild.

[...] One movie assisted in familiarizing us with the struggle of orcas raised in captivity returning to the wild. The 1993 Warner Brother's film, Free Willy, introduces the controversial topic. Within the film, the orca is raised in captivity and eventually returned to the wild. Over the course of the film multiple issues in regards to releasing Orcas back into the wild once captivated are revealed. These include health, transportation, diet, and effects of the ecosystem. However, many more are not identified. Following the film one pertinent question remained. Should orcas be released into the wild? [...]

[...] Can orcas be retrained and actually survive in the wild? The short answer is yes. Orcas that have lived in captivity for an extended amount of time can be retrained to survive in the wild. It has been proven through research that these animals can be taught to hunt again and endure the wild. The previously mentioned intelligence allows this adaptation to take place. Even orcas that have been in captivity all of their life can be paired with a social group and learn to survive. [...]

[...] Hoelzel, A. Rus, and Gabriel A. Dover. "Genetic differentiation between sympatric killer whale populations." Heredity 66.2 (1991): 191-195. Jonsgård, Åge, and Per Bjørn Lyshoel. contribution to the knowledge of the biology of the killer whale (Orcinus orca)." ICES Simon, M., et al. "From captivity to the wild and back: An attempt to release Keiko the killer whale." Marine Mammal Science 25.3 (2009): 693- 705. [...]

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