Bikers Take On Orca Captivity


Ask any biker what he loves most about riding a motorcycle, and you often get a single-word answer: freedom. Bikers cherish the ability to travel anywhere, at any time, over vast distances and with extraordinary agility. Sometimes they ride with great purpose; other times they do it for sheer joy.

Bikers, it turns out, are a lot like killer whales.

Now a new group, Bikers 4 Orcas, has arisen with the goal of returning captive whales back to their native waters. The group was created a few weeks ago by Vincent Lensen, a 36-year-old father from Holland, and some of his motorcyclist friends, and is already growing, spreading among motorcycle groups in Europe and beyond. So far, more than 600 people have liked the Bikers 4 Orcas Facebook page.

“A breeze of wind on your skin, a wide world in front of you, and the ability to go wherever you want,” the page states. “Bikers also experience this in a group, a club or a gathering, like a pack of wolves, or a pod of orcas.”

Watching orcas “makes you realize that us bikers are not really that different,” Lensen says. “We enjoy our freedom and understand others enjoy this too. In a lot of countries, bikers greet each other. It’s a social way of showing we understand what the other is experiencing.”

Getting sometimes rough-and-tumble bikers interested in saving whales, “is not so hard,” Lensen says. “If one person can link bikers and orcas to each other, it works as a snowball effect. If you explain to people, including non-bikers, the suffering these animals go through, and show them pictures of a captive orca being bullied and attacked by others, and tell them how social and intelligent these creatures are, most people will support you.”

Lensen knows that a gang of bikers roaring down the highway gets noticed. “When I’m out on my motorcycle, many stop and stare when hearing the sound of a rumbling engine,” he says. “This, I feel, can be to put to good use to get attention from others on the captivity subject. It’s a heavenly start to one hell of a ride.”

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About David Kirby

DAVID KIRBY is the author of 'Evidence of Harm,' which was a New York Times bestseller, winner of the 2005 Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) award for best book, and a finalist for the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, and 'Animal Factory,' an acclaimed investigation into the environmental impact of factory farms which NPR compared to Upton Sinclair’s classic work 'The Jungle.' His latest book, 'Death at SeaWorld,' was previewed by Library Journal, which wrote: “Lives are at stake here, and Kirby can be trusted to tell the story, having won a passel of awards for his investigate work.” Booklist called the book “gripping” and “hard to put down.”
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