Naomi Rose

Naomi Rose

  • Domestic and international expert on issues of capture/captivity of marine mammals for public entertainment.
  • Awarded “Scientist of the Year” PhinFest Film Festival, Dana Point, CA
  • Testified before the US Congress four times—twice on captive marine  mammals.
  • Prolific writer of 80+ publications

Travels from Washington DC (Clients expense)

Keynote Fee: Pro bono

Naomi A. Rose, Ph.D., Marine Mammal Scientist, Animal Welfare Institute, Washington D.C.


Dr. Naomi Rose is a world-renowned marine mammal scientist for the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), one of the oldest animal protection organizations in the nation.  Dr. Rose coordinates several marine mammal programs for AWI, including protection of marine mammals in the wild and captive situations.

Dr. Rose leads an extremely important campaign to enlighten the public about the plight of captive marine mammals. She has prepared numerous documents analyzing the unnatural conditions of captive marine mammals, including those in “swim-with-dolphin” programs. She has met with government officials of several countries to discuss marine mammal welfare and regulatory issues related to live-capture and captivity.

Dr. Rose engages audiences around the globe with her presentations on the welfare of captive killer whales.  Killer whales (orcas), with life spans that approach those of humans, have strong family bonds, elaborate vocal communication and cooperative hunting strategies.  Orcas can travel great distances of 100 miles per day, which renders life in a small chlorinated tank inhumane.  Killer whales have complex brains, and the behaviors of different groups are so diverse that scientists talk about them as having different cultures.

Dr. Rose lobbies to have companies such as SeaWorld (which owns 30 orcas—more than half the total in captivity) create sanctuaries for both whales and dolphins. Sanctuaries (sea pens) would enable these beautiful mammals to live in their natural environment and be retired from all performance acts and shows.

Dr. Rose has authored/co-authored more than 80+ publications, including peer-reviewed journals and chapters in several books.  She lectures annually at three universities. She has been widely quoted in print media, including the New York Times, Time, Life, and New Yorker magazines, and has appeared on Larry King Live, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, ABC World News, ABC Nightline, NBC Nightly News, Fox News, CNN, CBC News, Anderson Cooper’s 360, the Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, PBS’ Frontline and Chicago Tonight, “Straight Talk” with Derek McGinty, the Joy Behar Show, and various local news & radio programs, including National Public Radio. She was featured in David Kirby’s book, Death at SeaWorld about the sad truth of captive orcas. Dr. Rose is also frequently cited in John Hargrove’s book, Beneath the Surface and the award-winning documentary, Blackfish.  Most recently, Dr. Rose presented a compelling TEDx talk on captive orcas in April 2015.

During her graduate career, Dr. Rose conducted several studies on the behavior of wild marine mammals. She led a five–year research project in British Columbia for her dissertation, studying the social dynamics of male orcas. Dr. Rose earned her B.S. in biology and French from Mount Holyoke College in 1984 and her Ph.D. in biology in 1992 from UC Santa Cruz.  She worked for 20 years at The Humane Society of the US and Humane Society Intl.  Dr. Rose joined AWI in 2013.

Speech Topics (Partial list only):

  •   The Plight of Captive Marine Mammals Dr. Rose outlines the scientific reasons why dolphins, whales and other marine mammals should not held captive for entertainment purposes.
  •    “We are Family Discover the fascinating similarities between orcas and humansstrong family bonds, elaborate vocal communication and complex brains. 
  •   Polar Bear Conservation IssuesDr. Rose provides compelling insights about polar bearsincluding challenges the Arctic icons face, such as sport hunting and climate change.
  • Ocean Noise and Negative Impacts on Marine Mammals  Rose discusses adverse effects of ocean noise, including military sonar, on marine mammals.


YouTube Link (PhinFest):

Link to TEDx Talk:

In her TEDx Talk entitled, “Let’s Throw Shamu a Retirement Party,” Animal Welfare Institute marine mammal scientist, Dr. Naomi Rose, advocates for the gradual phasing out of exhibits and shows featuring orcas, highlighting the species’ complex family structure in nature as a primary reason why orcas cannot thrive in captivity.In her presentation, Dr. Rose discusses how orcas in the wild share intricate family bonds, with members serving distinct roles to help one another survive, reproduce, and flourish. In contrast, Dr. Rose explains, orcas in captivity—sometimes held alone or with orcas from different populations—are denied natural family life.  In discussing the separation of family members at different marine theme parks, Dr. Rose says, “We all have family. How can it be morally right to do to others—even when those ‘others’ aren’t human—what we would consider devastating if it happened to us? This comparison is not anthropomorphism; it’s empathy.”

One of Dr. Roses many papers:

Killer Controversy: Why orcas should no longer be kept in captivity

Prepared by Naomi A. Rose, Ph.D., Senior Scientist


Naomi Rose is the go-to source for marine mammal captivity; a fount of knowledge.   Tim Zimmerman, Former Senior Editor, US News & World Report

Naomi Rose is a powerful voice for cetaceans everywhere.”  Howard Garrett, Director, The Orca Network

Dr Rose has sound scientific and moral responsibility.  She has no second or financial agenda and has not been bought or dictated to or by corporate interests.  Her research has proven to be sound and without prejudice. It is time for all of us to get behind the orcas and plan responsible and compassionate rehab and reintroduction.  Michele Jankelow, Amateur Naturalist/Conservationist

Government scientists and animal rights activists are telling us that its captivity itself that is actually killing these animals.” Matt Guttman, ABC News (during his report on Dr. Rose’s findings)