Killer Whale Attack Raises Questions for Six Flags

Vallejo park's orca has good history with trainers

By Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, Feb 25, 2010  |  Updated 9:59 AM PDT
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Animals in the News

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393343 01: Talk Show Host Larry King Pretends To Interview Shamu, A Killer Whale, During A Family Visit To Seaworld August 6, 2001 In San Diego, Ca. (Photo By Getty Images)

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As officials at SeaWorld in Orlando try to decide what to do with a killer whale that dragged a veteran trainer underwater during a live show on Wednesday, killing her, animal experts at Vallejo's Six Flags Discovery Kingdom are reviewing how they work with their orca.

Representatives at the park say Shouka, one of their "animal all-stars," has a good history and relationship with trainers. The 16-year-old killer whale has been at Six Flags for almost six years and also performs live shows.

Although Shouka is much smaller than the orca in the deadly SeaWorld incident, she's still a whopping 4,000 pounds. That's big enough to inflict a deadly injury even accidentally.

For now, the park will continue to handle Shouka with the rules in place, spokeswoman Nancy Chan said.

"As with any facility that has killer whales, or any species for that matter," Chan said, "our park follows standard operating procedures and safety precautions when working with any animals."

Chan said that during her time working with the park, she has not heard of any trainer-orca incidents.

Six Flags released a statement reacting to the tragedy at SeaWorld:

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to SeaWorld in the loss of a member of their family. This is a tragic situation."

SeaWorld in San Diego has suspended shows with their killer whale until further notice and issued a statement:

 

In light of the incident at SeaWorld Orlando yesterday, SeaWorld San Diego has decided to cancel its "Believe" Shamu show for today (Thursday, Feb. 25). Park officials will determine at a later time whether the Shamu show will be performed on Friday.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom opens for the season on March 6.

The incident is sure to add fuel to the ongoing debate that wild animals should not be showcased. How do you feel about the situation? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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