Male killer whale hurt at SeaWorld in San Diego
Nakai, a male, suffered a deep gash to his lower jaw during a show with two other orcas Sept. 20.
SeaWorld officials say the injury occurred when the animal accidentally scraped his jaw on the side of the pool. But the activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has suggested it was the result of a fight with other killer whales.
"The lives of orcas at SeaWorld consist of privation, stress, injury and premature death," said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. The group has called for an investigation by the Department of Agriculture, which inspects animal parks.
But in a statement, SeaWorld said that its methods of care "exceed standards set by the (federal) Animal Welfare Act. There is no organization more passionately committed to the physical, mental and social care and well-being of animals than SeaWorld."
PETA has scheduled a protest outside SeaWorld for Wednesday.
--Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: Nakai's injury. Credit: Ingrid Visser / Orca Research Trust