Killer Whales in Captivity?

September 24, 2014

BRANDON, MB – A renowned whale researcher who appears in a celebrated documentary movie that’s generating Academy Award buzz will be speaking at Brandon University (BU).

Killer whale breaks surface (web)Dr. Dave Duffus, associate professor at the University of Victoria, is featured in the 2013 film Blackfish, which explores the controversy of killer whales in captivity. Dr. Duffus was an expert witness in the 2011 court case following the death of a SeaWorld trainer dragged underwater and drowned by a killer whale.

“This will be an amazing opportunity for people to engage with a scientist whose research has put him on the front lines of a longstanding debate,” says Dr. Chris Malcolm, the Chair of BU’s Department of Geography and associate of Dr. Duffus for the past 20 years. “He’s internationally known for his work, and approaches the question of whales in captivity from a scientific rather than an emotional perspective.”

killer whale and crowd (web)Blackfish focuses on four people killed by captive killer whales, the corporate behavior by marine theme parks, and the ethics of keeping killer whales in captivity. The movie premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and is ranked as one of the top-grossing nature documentaries of all times, in the company of March of the Penguins and the Earth and Ocean films.

The public is invited to view Blackfish and talk with Dr. Duffus afterwards, in Theatre B of the Brodie Science Building on Thursday, September 25, beginning at 7 pm. Earlier, at 3 pm in Room 4-47 of Brodie, he will also talk about his decades of studying whales off the BC coast.

“Watch for more international-caliber speakers in the coming months through our Science Seminar Series,” says BU’s Dean of Science, Dr. Andrew Egan. “The new Master of Science degree launched this fall gives us increased opportunities to bring in acclaimed researchers and experts with appeal not only to students and scientists, but the entire community.”

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.

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For more information, please contact:

Dr. Chris Malcolm
Chair, Dept. of Geography
204-727-9770
malcolmc@brandonu.ca

Glen Kirby
Communications Officer
204-727-9762
kirbyg@brandonu.ca