Beneath The Surface
Former Senior Orca Trainer at SeaWorld and author John Hargrove, joined Tim in this episode to talk about his recently released book, Beneath The Surface. John and Tim discussed how Orca performance emerged as a lucrative business model, Orcas in captivity compared to the wild and the process of writing the book. Find out more about John and his intriguing and powerful book, Beneath The Surface.
John Hargrove’s career as one of the most experienced orca trainers in the world spanned the course of two decades. He worked with 20 different whales, on two different continents, and at two of SeaWorld’s U.S. facilities, where he was promoted to the highest level of trainer and given elite access to the parks’ most dangerous whales. After two of his fellow trainers were killed by orcas in marine parks, Hargrove came to the realization that SeaWorld’s enormously popular and lucrative programs are not only dangerous for trainers, but also physically and psychologically detrimental to the whales themselves on an irreversible level. Truly, this is a shocking exposé of the dark realities of orca captivity, coupled with an intimate portrait of how intelligent and complex these creatures truly are.
Hargrove resigned from SeaWorld in 2012 and is now an advocate for the humane treatment of orcas, having starred in the award-winning documentary, Blackfish. The film brought the issue of orca captivity squarely into the hearts and minds of the American public, and BENEATH THE SURFACE delves deeper into the captive lives of these whales, through the perspective of the men and women who train them. Since orca trainer Dawn Brancheau’s death in 2010, no trainer has been allowed to perform in the water with a killer whale, making Hargrove possibly one of the last of a generation of human beings who have actually swam with orcas. This provides Hargrove with a truly unique vantage point as an on-the-ground expert who spent more than a decade observing and interacting with these dangerous, yet breathtaking animals.