After Almost A Lifetime In Captivity, Freya, The Orca, Dies

Orcas are often caught at a very young age to go into captivity. Freya was caught in 1982, when she was around 1-year old. Freya has spent the vast majority of her life in tanks. Her life was spent entertaining and training.

Freya, the orca, died in captivity at almost 33-years old.

Marineland, Freya's home for decades, announced her death via Facebook on Saturday. According to the post, Freya succumbed to death after a long illness. The whole post, translated by Google, is below.

"Marineland announced the sad news Freya, the eldest orca in family, died after a long illness.After more than 32 years with [her] trainers and [her] group of orcas, the matriarch leaves today Wikie, Inouk, Valentin, Moana and Keijo all born the Park.

"The team trainers, veterinarians and experts have devoted their efforts for several months to heal [Freya]. They made sure she had no pain and in that time, Freya stayed with [her] social group.

"Analyses will be performed by a veterinary expert team, to know the cause of death. The findings will be published.

"The many births also in recent years (the Moana and Keijo orcas, polar bear cub Hope, gray baby sharks, turtles...) comfort the teams in the success of the park conservation missions."

Freya gave birth multiple times while at Marineland. She earned the title of matriarch and was the leader of the park's orca pod.

Freya, the orca that died in captivity, was only 32-years old. Which may seem old to some people. However, according to The Dodo, many wild orcas can live up to 5o years, with some going into their 80s and 90s. There is one whale, known as "Granny" who has surpassed expectation and is 103-years-old.

Orca Aware reports that Freya was one of seven wild-caught Icelandic orcas that was still alive in captivity. That number is now down to six. In total there were 48 orcas caught; 42 have died in captivity.

Freya also made an appearance in John Hargrove's Beneath the Surface. An excerpt, released through NPR, tells of John's harrowing encounter with the captive orca.

"Freya was refusing to follow any of the signals I had taught her. It wasn't as if she didn't know what I wanted. She just wouldn't cooperate — nor did she want any of the fish I had in my hand. She pushed at my torso with her head, propelling me with her mouth, which remained obstinately shut. Her nearly 7,000 pounds of orca muscle directed me farther into the middle of the pool, farther from the safety of the perimeter."
Freya died in captivity, after spending her life in tanks. Marineland, and its patrons, will miss her.

[Images via Marineland/Facebook]