The Museum of Science and the Cosmos screens
On Thursday 6, at 20:00, the Museum of Science and the Cosmos screens the documentary "Blackfish", by Gabriela Cowperthwaite (2013, United States). The film will be shown in the original English version with Spanish subtitles, and forms part of the free film season CosmoCine Science and Biodiversity.
"Blackfish", tells how for a long time orcas (Orcinus Orca) were considered to be fierce and dangerous creatures. The confusion arising from the term ‘killer whale’ is due to 18th century Spanish whalers who called them 'asesinaballenas' (Spanish for 'whale killers'), after seeing how they attacked large marine mammals. This term was literally, and incorrectly, translated into English as 'killer-whales'. Later, it was again translated back into Spanish as 'ballena asesina' ('killer whale'). The orca is not a whale, but rather the largest member of the dolphin family. It does not display aggressive behaviour towards humans, who it does not consider as prey.
However the life expectancy of orcas in captivity is substantially less than those in the wild. Unlike other animals that develop well in captivity, free from threats and with abundant food, orcas suffer when away from their natural habitat. Captivity produces pathological and psychological health problems. This has to come to light following some attacks on trainers in aquariums, which have led to a resurgence of the orca's old reputation.
The documentary addresses this problem using the case of Tilikum, an orca in a dolphinarium that has been implicated in various incidents that caused the deaths of three people over two decades. If we follow Tilikum's story, it is possible to find the root cause of his aggression lying in a series of traumas suffered during his first years in captivity, episodes which could have resulted in a psychological disorder. “Blackfish” reminds us that there are no recorded instances of fatal orca attacks in the wild, and compares this with the various occasions when there have been attacks by orcas in captivity.
Standing out among the awards this film has received are Satellite Awards 2013 ‘Best Documentary’; Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards 2013 ‘Best Documentary’, and a BAFTA Awards nomination for best documentary.