The Social Life

In their natural environment, whales and dolphins have strong family units and many species will live with their relatives for life. For example, male killer whales in the Pacific Northwest "Southern Resident" population have been known to live with their mothesr for life. It is even thought the mothers may pick out mates for their sons!


In captivity, cetaceans can be moved between different facilities frequently for breeding and trade purposes. This can create problems with the already established social structure at the park where the individual was moved to, and the previous park where they resided. This can result in aggression. For more information on aggression between animals, please visit our "Aggression" page.


Another difficulty the animals may face is that a lot of the whales and dolphins come from different populations, such as an Icelandic orca living with a Southern Resident orca. Both have different dialects because they come from different regions, similar to how people from different places in the world speak different languages. This can make communication difficult, which can then make it hard for the animals to co-exist. The same goes for other species of cetaceans.

Social Life