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This article is about the (original) killer whale Shamu. For other uses, see Shamu (disambiguation) or Shamu (SeaWorld show)

Shamu was the first orca to survive more than 13 months in captivity and was the star of a very popular killer whale show at SeaWorld San Diego in the mid–late 1960s. She was the fourth killer whale (orca) ever captured (the second female).[1] After her death in 1971, the name Shamu continued to be used in SeaWorld "Shamu" orca shows for different killer whales in different SeaWorld parks.


Shamu represents the first intentional live capture of a healthy orca. The three previous orca captures ("Wanda," Moby Doll and Namu) had been more opportunistic.[2] The very young, 14 foot (4.25m), 2000 lb (900 kg) Southern Resident orca was captured by Ted Griffin in Puget Sound in October 1965 to be a companion for the orca Namu at Griffin's Seattle public aquarium.[3][4][5] But the new orca was soon leased to and then purchased by SeaWorld in San Diego in December 1965.[3] Her name is presumably a portmanteau of "she" and "Namu."[citation needed] She was retired from performing after an incident in which she grabbed and refused to release the leg of a female SeaWorld employee who was riding her as part of a filmed publicity event.[6]


  1. ^ "A listing of dolphin/whale captures..." at
  2. ^ "Stories of Captive Killer Whales," PBS link
  3. ^ a b "SeaWorld Investigation: Secrets Below the Surface". KGTV San Diego. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  4. ^ "The Killer in the Pool", Zimmermann, Tim, Outside Magazine, 2010 July Retrieved 2010 July 12
  5. ^ "Granny's Struggle: A black and white gold rush is on", Lyke, M. L., Seattle Post-Intelligencer 2006 October 11 Retrieved 2010 July 12
  6. ^ Eckis v. Sea World Corp. [Civ. No. 14458. Court of Appeals of California, Fourth Appellate District, Division One. November 19, 1976.] [64 Cal. App. 3d 1] ( link)

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