What's the difference between a Killer Whale and a Great White Shark? Some of you might answer, a brain; but you would only be half right.
Orcas are intelligent, sentient, sociable beings capable of reasoning, planning, problem solving, thinking abstractly, comprehending complex ideas, learning quickly, learning from experience, collaborating through communication, and perhaps most intriguing of all, playing, as a triathlete in New Zealand recently discovered. While swimming 80 meters offshore she looked down and saw "a big black and white face looking up at me." After frantically getting back on land, she realized that the Orca was simply curious and wanted to play. On the other hand, Great White Sharks are little more than a life support system for a gruesome mouth, and had this woman's encounter been with one of these mindless eating machines it would have ended differently; horribly so.
Having said this, Great White Sharks possess something that far too many Orcas do not, which is freedom. This is because these sharks die immediately in captivity and cannot be kept in sea parks. Orcas also die in captivity, long before their time, but not right away. Instead they are doomed to suffer years of mindless boredom, physical hardship, and mental anguish. And lest you think that the capture of Orcas in the wild is prohibited, both Japan and Russia have recently begun allowing it again; dooming more of these magnificent creatures to a slow and cruel death, all for our entertainment.
And that, my friend is the real difference between the Killer Whale and the Great White Shark...FREEDOM!
P.S. I'll be traveling for a few weeks and unable to post...see you on the other side.