Free Corky, the Longest-Held Captive Orca in the World

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In 1969 off the coast of British Columbia, a pod of orcas was attacked by humans in boats. Calves were forcibly and violently separated from their mothers—a bond that many wild orcas share for life—and sold into captivity. One of the young orcas taken that day was Corky. Speak up for her!

This is her story.

Today, Corky is locked inside one of SeaWorld’s tiny tanks, swimming in endless circles. Her siblings and other members of her pod still swim freely in the ocean, but the only life that Corky knows is one of deprivation, suffering, and loss.

On this page, you can learn more about Corky and then join the hundreds of thousands of people calling on SeaWorld to release the long-suffering orcas it holds captive into seaside sanctuaries, where they can experience some semblance of the natural lives that they’ve been denied for so long.

It’s time for change.

A MOTHER’S HEARTBREAK: Corky’s Tragic Role in Orca-Breeding Programs

From 1977 to 1986, at the now-defunct Marineland of the Pacific in California, Corky was used as a breeding machine and bred with her own cousin six times. None of her babies survived past 47 days. In 1987, she was transferred to SeaWorld San Diego, where her last pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Her dead baby was found at the bottom of a tank.

Possibly missing her own calves, Corky spent a lot of time close to a young female orca named Orkid when they shared a tank at SeaWorld. But this may have led to jealousy. Orkid’s mother, Kandu, attacked Corky. Forcefully charging Corky, Kandu broke her own jaw, severing arteries in her head. It took 45 minutes for Kandu to die as her calf watched.

From the minute she was taken from the ocean, Corky’s life has been full of confusion, pain, and death. Had any of her own calves survived, it’s likely they would have been taken from her anyhow—shipped elsewhere to sell tickets and breed more orcas.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE: Bringing Corky Home

Not every member of Corky’s pod was captured along with her. Other orcas from her pod, including her mother, were left in the ocean off the coast of British Columbia, where her siblings still visit to this day.

It’s there that a team of experts has identified an area to build a seaside sanctuary so that Corky and other captive orcas can finally return home to the ocean waters where they belong.

If released to a sanctuary in these waters, Corky could actually have an opportunity to communicate with her own biological siblings, who traveled with their mother until she passed—an opportunity stolen from Corky.

Here, she could feel flowing currents, dive deep into the water, and possibly even reunite with her family. But for that to happen, SeaWorld needs to act.

Urge SeaWorld to Send Corky to a Seaside Sanctuary

Although SeaWorld ended its orca-breeding program, this does nothing to help animals like Corky who will continue to swim in circles inside tiny tanks for decades until they die. The company must empty its tanks and release these long-suffering animals into seaside sanctuaries, where they can have some semblance of a natural life.

Help Corky today by taking a moment to sign our petition asking the company to implement a firm and rapid plan to release her to a seaside sanctuary where she will be given some semblance of the natural life that she has been denied for so long.


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