The tragic news out of New Zealand this week of a rescued orphaned orca calf’s death was a sad reminder that life in the wild is sometimes harsh. The circumstances surrounding this tragedy and the involvement of Ingrid Visser, a notorious animal activist, have also left some in the marine mammal research community questioning the care the calf received after his rescue. Some even calling his handling “amateurish.”
The question on everyone’s mind is – Did the actions of Ingrid Visser directly lead to the death of this orca baby?
Named ‘Bob’ by locals, the six-month-old calf was discovered swimming alone around a fishing buoy in Tauranga harbor on New Zealand’s northern island. Bob had become separated from his pod. As his health deteriorated, he was moved to a holding pool.
This is where some in the marine mammal research community developed very serious concerns about how Bob was treated and skeptical of the series of blunders committed by Bob’s chief caregiver, Ingrid Visser.
Lorro Parque marine park in Spain highlighted concerns that were shared in the marine science community about how Bob was treated and the lack of any efforts to find out how he died on their website this week.
But the biggest concern – the one that should sound the alarm – is that no post-mortem examination was performed after Bob’s death. This should have anyone who values research and science about to pull their hair out.
This orca’s death is tragic. The chances of survival were minimal and dolphin rescue teams also lose many patients. But scientists can learn from mistakes. This is not the case of Mrs. Visser. Instead of requesting an necropsy, the orca was buried immediately. It is not the first time that dead animals in captivity by extremist activists disappear mysteriously. Ric O’Barry has also prevented the post mortem study of the animals. Unfortunately, we can no longer find out why Bob died. A disgrace for a woman who calls herself a scientist.
Ingrid Visser did not even attempt to find out what caused Bob’s death. Unreal.
Just as concerning to this observer was the type of human contact Bob underwent and the obvious lack of mask and gloves to protect against germs.
Can you rescue an orca only by talking to it or “stimulating it” using the people being present in water around it, as expressed by Mrs. Visser? Absolutely not! That is the biggest mistake you can do if you want to rehabilitate and release successfully an animal. In the SOS Dolphin rescue station in Harderwijk, I have observed many times how proper rehabilitation should be done. If an animal can swim autonomously, no human should enter the water. A man can only interfere when feeding or giving medical care to the animal. Man should not even be on the edge of the pool. Every human contact for a wild and ill orca is enormously stressful.
The ignorance together with the numerous lies of this woman are unthinkable. For example, she states that the orca was placed in a pool (without filtering!!) in an undisclosed location. However, in all published images you can see dozens of people around the small pool. Of course with cameras and mobile phones. People coughing, sneezing, talking and laughing. And all this just a meter away from the young weak orca. Thank you for all these agents and germs.
Ingrid Visser is not seen in any photo using a mouth cloth or gloves. In comparison, I show you how patients are treated in Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network:
For comparison, here’s Ingrid Visser and folks who look a lot like tourists handling the calf, unprotected:
If true, it is an outrage and could have led directly to the death of the baby orca.
This is unfortunately a pattern for activists like Visser. They are the first to criticize accredited marine mammal facilities like SeaWorld and Lorro Parque while at the same time totally ignoring the basic tenants of animal care and science.
It’s sad to see the death of a young orca, like Bob, and it’s incredibly frustrating to see such hypocrisy from activists who call themselves researchers. Wild whale populations missed a huge opportunity to find out exactly how this orca calf died and what could potentially be done to prevent future tragedies like this. Shame.
The scientific community is demanding answers – as should anyone who cares about these majestic animals.