As a senior orca trainer for SeaWorld’s multi-billion-dollar company, John Hargrove has had elite access to some of the most dangerous killer whales in captivity. For over two decades, he worked with 20 different whales on two continents, building intense relationships with these mystical creatures. However, as his understanding of the whales deepened, Hargrove came to doubt that their needs could ever be met in captivity. And after the horrific deaths of two trainers by SeaWorld owned and trained orcas, he was certain that SeaWorld’s wildly popular programs were both detrimental to the whales and increasingly dangerous for trainers.
Since leaving SeaWorld, Hargrove starred in the award-winning documentary Blackfish. The enormous success of the film and the advocacy movement in which Hargrove is involved has caused an outcry across the nation.
Beneath the Surface explores the dark corners of orca captivity. Hargrove gives a heartbreaking account of the psychological and physical damage caused by captivity – and contrasts it with orcas’ lives in the wild. His journey is one that humanity has just begun to take – toward the realization that the relationship between the human and animals worlds must be radically rethought.
When I was a child I, much like John Hargrove, dreamed of being an orca trainer; but as I grew older I knew that everything was not right with the most majestic animals this Earth has the honor of housing. John Hargrove had the inside scoop on captivity and finally came to understand all the problems.
I have read many books slamming SeaWorld for their treatment of the orcas and demanding the parks to be shut down. This is the first book on the subject that has not demanded that and still recognises the other good work that they do, not to mention the fact that the orcas can never be released into the wild and therefore only SeaWorld and other marine mammal parks are capable of looking after them; albeit preferably in sea pens, that offer the orcas a higher quality of life to the tanks of SeaWorld. I have never been so impressed by a book that says here are all the bad things but here are also the good; and I’m so glad that this book, in my opinion, doesn’t encourage radicalists that know nothing about orcas or their natural lifestyles and eco types!
I thoroughly enjoyed following John Hargrove’s story and I believe that if this is a subject that interests you, or if you are in fact one of those radicalists, then please pick up this book as there is so much you can learn about orcas and their natures, both in the wild and in captivity, allowing more sensible decisions about releasing the orcas of SeaWorld into the wild!!
In the end it is all about what is best for the whales, and that is something both myself, John Hargrove and many others around the globe have in common.
Until next time…
Keep reading xox.