Artificial Insemination, also called "AI" is a procedure in which sperm samples are collected from male cetaceans and placed, via a tube, into female cetaceans’ gentiles. Called "state of the art" by Dolphinariums around the world, it is far from that. Not only is this unnatural for whales and dolphins, it is obviously uncomfortable for them as well. The procedure is trained by having a male animal present his penis to be stimulated, and then have his sperm placed in a plastic bag. The sperm is then frozen and put in storage for future use. The female animals are trained by having their uterus cycles monitored as well as their estrogen levels. The animals are then trained to sit still while a long tube is placed into their gentile slits. During an actual procedure, the sperm collected from the male would then be pumped into the female through the tube, thus resulting in pregnancy.
There have been negative incidents in the past involving AI. In April 2007, during a routine sonogram (a procedure done in preparation for AI), a female orca at SeaWorld San Diego named Orkid knocked a trainer off of a platform while trying to make her hold still for the sonogram. This shows that this is most likely an undesired event for the animals involved.
Photo credit: SeaWorld San Antonio
In The Wild vs. In Captivity
In the wild, cetaceans reach sexual maturity around the same time that humans do. For example, wild female killer whales reach their maturity around 14 years of age, and will have a calf every 3-10 years. Once they reach their late 40s, they begin menopause, just like humans. This is generally concurrent with other species of cetaceans. In captivity, marine parks will breed their animals at a very young age. An example of this would be Kalina, a captive killer whale at SeaWorld who got pregnant at 6 years old. At this time in the orca life cycle their bodies are not ready for pregnancy and birth, and It can result in later medical problems and complications (it is important to note, however that SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment has discontinued it's killer whale breeding program as of 2016).
Dolphinariums will also breed their animals in too short time intervals. Their bodies need time to heal, but facilities won't give them that. Often facilities will force breeding upon their animals by putting them in the same proximity as sexually aggressive individuals, or administer medication called "Sea Tabs" which increase sexual drive. Breeding in captivity, in no way, shape, or form, is natural.
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