orca capture

Image shows the capture of baby orcas in rare footage from former orca hunter. Photo is a screen grab from CNN’s video report

In an apparent effort to further the cause against the capture of killer whales for Sea World and other such facilities, a former orca hunter-turned-rescuer shared with CNN never-seen-before video from a 1980s capture in Iceland.

Marine biologist Jeff Foster worked at capturing orcas for Sea World from 1972 to 1990 until the practice began bothering him more and more, and he finally walked away from the business to begin rescuing marine animals instead.

CNN's Ivan Watson interviewed Foster and showed his heart-wrenching video for the first time on Monday night:

Foster told CNN that he was involved in capturing about two dozen killer whales over the years. It started in the waters of Washington until it banned the practice in 1976.

According to an interview Foster did on PBS in 1997, the Icelandic government actually asked the U.S. government if it wanted to use the killer whales in its waters for target practice because the mammals were hurting the local herring fishery.

Foster said the American government laughed off the proposition, but Sea World saw an opportunity to move its orca hunting operation there. Over time, Foster came to detest the capture of orcas.

"It's a cry like a baby's cry," Foster told CNN, describing the sounds from a baby orca. "So, yeah, it tugged at your heart."

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