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SeaWorld's Dead Killer Whale Is 3rd in 6 Months

Activists fear stress led to 18-year-old killer whale's death

(Newser) - SeaWorld San Antonio has seen its third whale death in six months with the passing of Unna, an 18-year-old killer whale suffering from a fungal infection. The whale, who died Monday, had been undergoing treatment for a pathogen, Candida, in her bladder for months and was under "constant care,... More »

SeaWorld Has Just Been Dealt a Killer Blow

Commission says San Diego park can no longer breed killer whales

(Newser) - SeaWorld San Diego's top attraction may be on its last legs, er, fins. In approving a $100 million project that will see a larger holding facility for the park's orcas, the California Coastal Commission imposed some conditions: bans on captive whale breeding and bringing in wild-caught orcas—changes... More »

What Bergdahl Was Thinking Before He Disappeared

Hearing testimony paints him as 'naive,' 'unrealistically idealistic,' 'remorseful'

(Newser) - Stories of Bowe Bergdahl's brutal captivity by the Taliban are already well-documented, but it's what was reportedly going through his head before his 2009 disappearance from his Afghanistan base that emerged at a hearing last week at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. Specifically, that he didn't... More »

Woman Escapes Nightmare Captivity With Rent Check

She'd been held in her own apartment since April

(Newser) - A woman held hostage since April by her boyfriend in her apartment in Lenexa, Kansas, ended her horrifying ordeal via one of life's more innocuous chores: Paying the rent. "Do not call police, but send help," read the note tucked in her rent payment, reports KSHB . So... More »

No Freedom for 2 Chimps Being Used for Research

Chimps Hercules, Leo are denied legal personhood rights

(Newser) - Two chimpanzees being used for mobility research at Stony Brook University in New York will not be released to a sanctuary because a state supreme court judge has dismissed the lawsuit seeking to grant them personhood. The reason comes down to legal precedent: A higher court ruled last year that... More »

This Man Spent 5 Years as Hostage, Then 'Thrived'

Joe Cicippio explains why the experience didn't ruin him

(Newser) - Joe Cicippio spent five years often chained to a radiator, a captive of Hezbollah in Lebanon. His only companions were his masked kidnappers and one or two other captives. But he's thrived since his release in 1991, and now Cicippio, 83, reveals how in an interview with NPR . “... More »

Months Ago, Cops Went to Home Where Girls Were Held

But couldn't hear anything, saw no evidence of children

(Newser) - The mother and stepfather arrested and accused of holding their three daughters captive in Tucson soundproofed the girls' bedrooms so well that when police officers went to the house two and a half months ago on a robbery call, they saw no evidence of the girls. Among other things, the... More »

London Captives Appeared in 1997 Documentary

Film crew was looking into death of woman at commune

(Newser) - Eerie: A documentary crew caught two of the captives recently rescued in London on film, ever so briefly, in 1997. The ITV documentary focused on the death of a woman who fell from the window of a house used by the alleged slavery commune that year, the Telegraph reports. Investigators... More »

One London Captive Spent Entire Life Imprisoned

London cops hunt for more captives—or bodies

(Newser) - Investigators piecing together the bizarre case of three women held in servitude for decades suspect there may be more victims involved, reports the Telegraph . After the arrest of a man and woman in south London, both aged 67, police are searching possible linked addresses for other slaves—or possibly bodies.... More »

3 Women Freed After 30 Years' Captivity in London

2 arrested in investigation into 'slavery, domestic servitude'

(Newser) - Police have rescued three women from a London house where they were allegedly held captive and may have been treated as slaves for 30 years or more, NBC News reports. Authorities were first contacted about the situation last month, by a domestic abuse nonprofit. The women—a 69-year-old Malaysian woman,... More »

Another Ohio Captivity Case: Woman, Child Held 2 Years

US attorney calls it 'modern day slavery'

(Newser) - Ohio has another creepy captivity case on its hands. Three people have been charged with forced labor after allegedly holding a woman with cognitive disabilities and her child prisoner for two years, reports the Plain Dealer . According to an FBI affidavit reviewed by the Mansfield News Journal , Jordie Callahan, 26,... More »

Teen Held as Sex Slave Knew Captor: Police

They reportedly developed a relationship, but he wouldn't allow her to leave

(Newser) - A teenager held captive in a house for more than three years before escaping with a relative's help initially went there voluntarily but wasn't allowed to leave when she wanted to go home, an Illinois police chief said today. He said the 19-year-old St. Louis woman met the... More »

PETA Sues SeaWorld for Whale 'Slaves'

Says their treatment violates 13th amendment

(Newser) - Never known for half-measures , PETA is suing SeaWorld—for violating the 13th Amendment. You know, the one that outlawed slavery. In a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of killer whales Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka, and Ulises, the animal rights group contends that SeaWorld keeps its orcas in conditions that violate... More »

Taliban Mentor Dies in Captivity

Sultan Amir Tarar was US ally against Soviets in Afghanistan

(Newser) - A former Pakistani spy who helped the Taliban rise to power in Afghanistan has died in militant captivity 10 months after he was seized in northwest Pakistan, a top official said today. Sultan Amir Tarar, who as an American ally against Soviet rule in Afghanistan in the 1980s trained at... More »

Pandas Freed to Give Birth in the Wild

Experts will monitor captive-born animals in forest

(Newser) - Four pregnant giant pandas are on the loose in a forest near the reserve where the captive-bred animals normally live, and they'll be allowed to give birth and raise their offspring there, the Xinhua News Agency reports. "We hope the mothers can teach their cubs life skills to help... More »

Knut Is Disturbed, Having Panic Attacks

Polar bear is imitating tourists, acting abnormally

(Newser) - World-famous polar bear Knut is suffering panic attacks thanks to his life in captivity, say scientists…PETA scientists, that is. Knut and Gianna, his companion at the Berlin Zoo, “are definitely displaying behavioral problems,” one researcher tells AFP . Among his apparent issues: Panic attacks, swaying to and fro,... More »

Freeing 'Magical' Orcas Easier Said Than Done

Writer notes 'primal connection' with captive whale

(Newser) - Whales like the one that killed a SeaWorld trainer on Wednesday belong in the wild, Susan Orlean writes, and humans should “just take fabulous videos of them and project them on gigantic high-definition screens”—but when you see the creatures up close in captivity, they’re just so... More »

SeaWorld: Killer Whale Grabbed Trainer's Ponytail

Dawn Brancheau was 'underwater for an extended period of time'

(Newser) - The SeaWorld trainer slain by a killer whale yesterday was pulled underwater by her ponytail, according to the company, the latest in a variety of explanations as to how she ended up in the water. Because of Tillikum’s size and history, trainers never got into the pool with him.... More »

Trainer Death Sparks New Call to Free Killer Whales

Captivity is cruel, and accidents are unavoidable, activists say

(Newser) - The death of a SeaWorld trainer is being met with the inevitable calls to free Willy, and end orca captivity once and for all. “These behemoths are denied all of their natural, instinctual inclinations,” one tells the Christian Science Monitor . “We humans tend to think, ‘Well,... More »

Scientists: Dolphins Are 'Non-Human Persons'

New research shows them to be smarter than chimps

(Newser) - Dolphins are not only the world's smartest animal after humans, they're so intelligent they deserve to be classed as "non-human persons." So say scientists who argue their research on dolphins' brains shows it is unethical to keep such animals captive in amusement parks or to kill them for... More »

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