Did you know that orca whales can live longer than most humans?
Neither did SeaWorld, apparently.
According to SeaWorld’s website, the average lifespan of a female orca whale is “approximately 50 years.’’
At least one female orca has doubled that. “Granny,’’ the world’s oldest known living orca whale at 103 years old, was spotted by Captain Pidcock of Ocean EcoVentures Whale Watching in Cowichan Bay, British Columbia, on Friday, May 9.
She appeared to be leading her pod up from California into the Strait of Georgia, according to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that orcas typically live to about 50-80 years old, so Granny is definitely an exceptional whale. But the real reason the Granny sighting is noteworthy is because her very existence contradicts the facts about orcas’ lifespans that SeaWorld had reported.
SeaWorld, a marine mammal park with locations in Florida, Texas and California, has come under heavy scrutiny regarding its treatment of orcas after the 2013 documentary “Blackfish’’ depicted Tilikum, a performing killer whale, killing several people while in captivity.
The film aired at numerous festivals like Sundance and The SheffieldDoc/Fest in England, and caused some to question whether orcas in captivity are treated cruelly and confined to exceptionally small spaces.
Healthy orcas travel about 75 miles, or 120 kilometers a day, according to The Center for Whale Research.
When Granny was spotted, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that she had just traveled 800 miles in a week.