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Renaming of Corky, Orky Is Just Another Fish Story

March 19, 1987|GEORGE STEIN | Times Staff Writer

Corky and Orky, who lost their home at Marineland, will not have to suffer the further indignity of losing their names, their new owners have decided.

In a move that provoked public outcry, the two killer whales, whose antics had delighted--and splashed--millions of visitors to the Rancho Palos Verdes park, were spirited away from Marineland shortly after Harcourt Brace Jovanovich bought the park and shortly before the company closed it forever Feb. 11.

Harcourt installed the two whales at its Sea World park in San Diego and announced that they would henceforth be known as Namu and Shamu--the same monikers it uses for killer whales at other Sea World parks.

"I thought they were kind of hokey names," Lanny Cornell, zoological director at the San Diego park, said at the time.

Sometime last week, however, "there was a change of mind and we are calling them Corky and Orky," Sea World spokeswoman Jackie Hill said Wednesday.

"They are Corky and Orky and always have been and, I think, always will be. It was a recognition that there was a tradition behind those names."

Hill said she did not know whether the decision to use the original names was influenced by a busload of protesters from the Los Angeles area who picketed the San Diego park last weekend.

"I don't know that the group placed any pressure on us about anything," she said. "I know there were news reports about the name change. I think that was a factor. It would be naive to think otherwise."

The whales themselves are apparently oblivious to the fuss.

Tim Desmond, Marineland's former assistant curator in charge of training and shows, said the animals had not been trained to recognize the sounds of their names, although they could have been taught to do so with underwater speakers. Desmond said Corky and Orky were trained to respond only to hand cues.

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