This week SeaWorld announced that killer whales currently living at their facilities will be their last ones. They will stop breeding them immediately and phase out theatrical Orca shows over time.
Although SeaWorld is making this change, orcas will continue to live in captivity for many years to come. The average male orca life span is about 30 years, though they can live up to 60, while the average female orca life span is 50 years, and they can live up to 100.
The oldest known orca is called Granny — estimated to be 105 years old.
She’s the the matriarch of a family group (pod) living in the Pacific Northwest.
How do we know how old she is? Her pod is the most studied group of orcas in the world. Scientists estimate that she was born around 1911 based on the age of her offspring.
Granny was captured in 1967 but was deemed too old for marine parks, so she was let go. She continues to live wild and free.
In the book Granny’s Clan, you’ll discover what life is like in an orca pod — giving birth, hunting for food, playing with “cousins,” and even interacting with humans.
After reading this story you will fall in love with orcas. — Jean-Michele Cousteau, son of Jacques Cousteau
In this lesson, students create a classroom totem pole that tells the story of Granny and her family and they make individual totem poles that tell their own family stories. In a second activity students learn how quilts are created and used to tell a story. Download a free pdf of directions for this lesson.