Video: RAW: Orca capture 1971

SEATTLE - It happened 38 years ago this week, but the sights and sounds echo through Terry Newby's mind like it was yesterday.

Newby, a marine mammal researcher, was an invited to observe the capture of orcas during the 1971 Penn Cove roundup.

Hired trappers rounded up dozens of orcas to capture a select group to sell to theme parks.

Newby remembers the group herding the orcas into Penn Cove near Coupville, then sealing them off with nets.


Then they began capturing young, valuable orcas to sell off.

"I still hear their screams... and it's always bothered me," said Newby. "It sounds funny, but it really did... it got me."

KING 5 reporter Don McGaffin noticed the event while on vacation and brought out a photographer to cover the event. At one point, the whale capture team in a large boat swooped in on the news team's much smaller boat to scare them away. It didn't work. McGaffin's coverage of the event helped spark a public outcry that led to an early end to the capture.

Whale groups say a dozen orcas died in the captures in 1970 and 1971.

Only one of the captured whales survived, Lolita, who is still on display at the Miami Seaquarium.

Newby went on to testify in hearings that led to a ban on orca captures in Puget Sound in 1976.

Newby and others who were at Penn Cove that day will attend a commemoration of the event in Coupville on Sunday, August 9.

The event will also feature recently recovered film of the event captured by the KING 5 team.

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