In the wake of the documentary , SeaWorld has been fighting a losing battle to convince the public that keeping orcas in captivity is a good thing. For years the theme park has also claimed that “no one knows for sure how long killer whales live” as a way to brush over the fact that many of their orcas die before they reach their 20s. But a recent sighting of the 103-year-old orca known as Granny reinforces what many have known for a long time – SeaWorld should not be allowed to keep orcas captive.

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According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation project, orcas born in captivity only live to be 4.5 years old. Due to their reduced lifespan, many are forced to breed continuously, diminishing their overall health. By keeping orcas in tanks barely big enough to support them also means they are unable to swim up to 100 miles a day – an activity that exercises them and extends their lifespan.

Related: ‘Blackfish’-Inspired Bill Could Ban Orca Shows at SeaWorld San Diego

Animal wellfare groups that have been tracking Granny say that she has just finished an 800-mile trek from northern California. These findings support those who have always said that long-distance swimming is “integral to orcas’ psychological health and well-being” – something that SeaWorld has always denied.

Granny was reportedly spotted in the 1930s and over the years has seen her pod grow. However, she has also suffered tragedy; one of her grandchildren, Canuck, died when he was just four-years-old after being captured and held at SeaWorld. Anyone who has seen Blackfish knows that orcas who are separated from their pods can suffer huge mental and emotional strain. To keep pressure on SeaWorld to release these magnificent animals, sign this petition.


Images via  Miles Ritter and  Miles Ritter