When student and illustrator from Germany, Jenny Jinya, went viral for her ‘Good Boy’ and ‘Black Cat’ comics, she could’ve turned both of those stories into their own series. However, she took a different route. One that’s more socially responsible.
“When I saw how viral my first comics went, how intensively they were discussed and into how many languages they were translated, I wanted to use this reach,” Jenny told Bored Panda. Now, she uses comics to draw attention to as many problems as possible. Each of the artist’s new works focuses on different animals, suffering from one form of human cruelty or another. Like the effects of waste on seabirds or the huge number of parrots that are being discarded every day. Jenny has hundreds of thousands of followers on her social media accounts, so the amount of awareness she raises is really something.
Her latest strip deals with orcas in captivity — their poor conditions and untimely deaths. Continue scrolling to check it out yourself.
Image credits: jenny_jinya
Like National Geographic pointed out, orcas don’t do well in captivity. An orca named Kayla, for example, died in January 2019 at just 30 years old. In the wild, the average life expectancy for a female orca is 50, and some live to even 80 or 90. But these majestic marine mammals are still used for entertainment, marketed as stars of amusement park shows around the world.
Experts estimate that a third of the world’s captive orcas are in the United States, and all but one of those live at SeaWorld’s three parks in Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio. Lolita, a 54-year-old orca who was captured back in 1970 in the waters off Washington State, lives alone at the Miami Seaquarium, in a pool with an open-top roof that’s less than twice the length of her body.
70 orcas have been born in captivity around the world since 1977 (not counting another 30 that were stillborn or died in utero), according to records in two databases. 37 of them, including Kayla, are now dead. A very small number of wild-caught orcas have lived past age 30, but no captive-born orca has yet.
They are very intelligent, social creatures that are genetically built to live, migrate, and feed over great distances in the ocean. Neither wild-born nor captive-bred orcas can thrive in captivity, Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., said. They are massive and swim vast distances in the wild — 40 miles a day on average — not just because they can, but because they need to, to forage for their varied diets and to exercise. They also dive 100 to 500 feet, several times a day, every day.
Like always, Jenny Jinya included a public service announcement
If you were to go through all of Jenny’s comics (and you should), you would see that her storytelling is getting better and better; the amount of tension and unpredictability she creates with just a handful of frames is really something. “I think this is practice and research,” the humble illustrator explained her progress. “Storytelling has always been fun for me, every day I sit in front of my sketchbook and write little scripts, sketch comic pages, move panels back and forth — it’s all part of the learning process. There is still so much I want to learn though.”
Most people get really emotional while taking in the comics, but imagine just how angry and sad one might get when researching these topics and then spending hours and hours to portray everything. “It really goes to the psyche and hurts,” Jenny said, adding that she tries to balance it out. “When a comic is finished, I have to take a few days off before I can research a new issue. Or I watch cute cat videos.” We often run away from difficult discussions because they can exhaust us. Jenny, however, keeps bringing us back to them. And we all should be grateful for it; hopefully, it’ll result in positive change, too.