Kandu V and Kenau
THE sun Frl., July 28, 19S3 Sea World's young killer whales disobey trainers i SAN DIEGO (AP) - Three killer whale performances at Sea World have been canceled in the last month and others have been disrupted because two young 4,000-pound whales have begun pushing their trainers around. The two female black and white whales named Shamu and Kandu have disrupted six of about 120 recent shows by declining to perform and then toying with a trainer who was swimming in their tank, Sea World spokeswoman Jackie O'Connor said Tuesday. She said in each instance the trainer ,was pushed relentlessly from one end !ot the tank to the other. On June 11, Kandu took a trainer in her mouth and momentarily refused to let her go. I None of the trainers has been in-I jured, and O'Connor said the activity is "the kind of thing we occasionally see in the spring." t "These animals are reaching maturity and, like all teenagers, they have their ups and downs," said Bruce Stephens, Sea World's director of animal behavior. Shamu and Kandu are both about 7 years old, and are approaching the age - when they can give birth. When they are not performing, they mingle with I Namu, a 20-year-old, 12,000-pound bull whale. "Our best judgment is that we're seeing a change in developing social patterns among our whales," said O'Connor. "These are not windup toys. They are wild animals, trained but not trained, and, is some respects, unpredictable. If they don't want to perform to our expectations, there's not much we can do." When the whales won't perfrom, they swim around lazily in the pool, ignoring their trainers, who stand on the shore or float in the water, blowing whistles and waiting for a response. Occasionally, the whales are coaxed out of the main pool and visitors see a dolphin show instead. Trainers at Marineland in Palos Verdes were ordered out of the water in May 1978 when the male killer whale Orky playfully pressed a trainer to the bottom of the training tank for four minutes. Orky and his mate, Corky, are sexually mature whales. Brad Andrews of Marineland, who helped save the pinned trainer, said, "Killer whales are intelligent and readily trainable, but they also have a mind of their own; sometimes they'll push a trainer around to make a point, to show who is bigger. Every situation is different, but my advice is to stay out of their way as they reach sexual maturity." Sonny Allen, a whale trainer at Marine World in Redwood City, agrees that whales become more difficult to handle as they grow older. But he said trainers at Marine World regularly spend time in the water with killer whales Yaka and Vigga. "If you're an animal trainer you go where the animals are," Allen said. Sea World officials say they aren't worried about Shamu's and Kandu's deviant behavior and have no plans to change performance schedules or procedures. "We put on thousands of shows and 99 percent of them come off without any problem at all," Stephens said.