Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Saving Luna
By Raymond Douglas (06/09/13 17:45:49)
Related animals: Human, Orca

Seeing this film was the first time I heard about Luna’s story. But, it was also the first time I started to seriously consider some of the topics and issues at play in the film. I think it is known that the reason that the film was created to be that orca whales typically don’t interact with humans in such a loving, platonic way. The people of the area embraced this new member into their community and sought to protect and enrich its life. Despite this massively supportive welcoming party of humans, the true reason for Luna being alone is overwhelmingly sad. Luna was separated from his pack and left alone to fend for himself. Yes, Luna is a large mammal capable of intense killing tactics, but he still did not have his natural support system of his blood family. His new community knew this and took to watching after him and protecting him at all costs.
Eventually, however it was thought that too much human interaction would spoil his life and eliminate any possibility of Luna assimilating back into his natural family, who was now many miles away and totally unaware of what was happening. This was, in my opinion, the most incorrect assumption anyone could make. This whale had found itself a new family. One with copious amounts of love and interest. Such affection enriched Luna’s life in ways that it could never have been enriched. He played in ways that his natural family would not. He was starting to be the center of a documentary! He also knew exactly what he wanted. When the community was ordered to ignore him at all costs and to not provoke any of his older, more playful behavior he made obvious attempts at reconnection. He would try to impress people in boats and people ashore and he would seek out those who loved him best. After a while, I think it became clear that this community was the only thing supporting Luna in his quest for happiness as an orca. He had found his natural community and wanted to thrive as much as possible. It was almost as if he knew the dangers that came with swimming near motorized boats and other water machinery. But, he kept on pushing to touch the humans and share moments with them. What started as an effort to reconnect him with his roots actually pushed him away from his roots. His new roots. He had found a place he never wanted to leave.
It is known that at the end of the documentary the prop of a boat kills Luna. People of the community grieved for his permanent disappearance. It also needs to be known, however, that what they did was the most obvious and correct answer to the presence/problem of Luna. Embrace him for he wanted to embrace in return. Any species that seeks to be part of something larger across interspecies boundaries shouldn’t always be dissuaded. A different lifestyle awaits, but one of equally opportunity and reward.

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