Sen. Kevin Ranker says the only way whales, dolphins and porpoises should be viewed is in their natural habitat.

Ranker, a Democrat from Orcas Island and the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 5666, testified to his legislation in the Senate’s Natural Resources & Parks Committee on Thursday. His bill is a preemptive strike against holding, capturing or importing whales, dolphins and other porpoises in Washington for performance or entertainment purposes.

“There are no shortage of heartbreaking stories about the negative effects a life in captivity has on these highly intelligent creatures,” Ranker said. “Washington is fortunate to share its waters with orcas and many other species. There is no good reason to put these animals at risk through captivity.”

The law would not apply to animals being temporarily held for research or rehabilitation.

Historically more than half of all orcas taken into captivity originated in Washington waters. Currently, there are 57 orcas in captivity in 14 marine parks in eight countries around the world.

A petition in favor of the bill has been signed by close to 2,000 people and can be viewed at Change.org.

SIGN⇒Jaxon Ravens: Thank you, Senators Ranker and Rolfes, for cetacean legislation!!  https://www.change.org/p/jaxon-ravens-thank-you-senators-ranker-and-rolfes-for-cetacean-legislation?