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Featured Image Credit: PETA
SeaWorld has responded to shocking footage showing the moment killer whales appear to attack each other at one of its theme parks. You can watch the viral clip below:
The video captured by a visitor at the SeaWorld location in San Diego has been doing the rounds on social media after it was shared by the animal rights group PETA.
Two killer whales (or orcas) are shown thrashing about before blood began spilling into the water, according to one onlooker.
The injured orca appeared to then 'beach' itself, which experts say is 'highly unnatural behaviour'.
At one point, a young child can even be heard asking how the orca is still alive, adding: "I thought they help each other, not fight each other."
Speaking about the horrifying incident, one eyewitness said the orca was being ganged up on by the others.
They said: "We all immediately saw blood soaking the water, which triggered my nine-year-old daughter to start crying.
"We would see bite marks and fresh wounds all over the side of the whale. Every couple seconds, two [or] more orcas would jump out of the water to [continue] attacking the hurt orca."
Following the news that PETA filed a complaint about the incident to the US Department of Agriculture, a spokesperson for SeaWorld has since claimed that the footage is 'misleading'.
They told the Daily Star: "The video released by PETA is misleading and mischaracterised.
"In fact, it shows common orca behaviours exhibited by both wild populations and those in human care as part of natural social interactions.
"During the interaction, one of the orcas sustained some minor and superficial abrasions that pose no serious health risk.
"Numerous scientific papers have been published about these behaviours among wild orcas.
"The papers include documented physical evidence in orcas that resulted from these same types of interactions in the open ocean."
The above footage arrives just days after another orca at the park died following an infection.
Nakai, who passed away last Thursday (5 August), had reportedly been kept in a tank where he was bullied by other whales for two decades.
PETA's executive vice president Tracy Reiman said: "In two days, one orca has died and another has been attacked by other frustrated, closely confined orcas, resulting in a serious injury.
"And young children were witnesses to the carnage."
In its press release, the charity slammed parks like SeaWorld for the conditions these animals are kept in, which it claims lead to increased levels of violence.
LADbible has contacted SeaWorld for a comment.