January 6th 2017, see’s the passing of SeaWorld’s Killer Whale (aka. Orca), Tilikum. Tilikum was taken from his mother in in Iceland, while he was still only a baby, and a year later was brought to Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia. In 1992, Tilikum got transferred to SeaWorld, Orlando. Tilikum is father to 21 calves, 10 who are still alive currently.
In 2013, a documentary called ‘Blackfish,’ was released, causing many people distress and regret of supporting SeaWorld.
Tilikum’s first attack took place on February 20th, 1991. Keltie Byrne, unfortunately slipped into the pool which was containing three Orca’s, including Tilikum. The three Orca’s completely submerged her, eventually causing the 21 year old marine biology student and competitive swimmer to drown.
The second attack happened with Daniel P. Dukes, a man who thought it would be okay to sneak in after closing, and swim with the Orca unclothed. On July 6th, 1999, Dukes body was found draped over Tilikum, and there was a number of wounds, abrasions and contusions found all over his body. After the autopsy, it was concluded his cause of death was drowning, and also there was no drugs or alcohol found in his system.
And the third attack, was a 40 year old trainer, Dawn Brancheau, this took place on February 24th, 2010. Tilikum was already not co-operating with the shows that day, and was getting frustrated as Brancheau was also running out of food. When she did her post show routine, which involved rubbing Tilikum, she was grabbed by either her pony tail or left arm, there is many different eye witness reports, and was pulled into the water. She was then drowned by Tilikum.
Tilikum’s health started to deteriorate in March 2016, due to a lung infection caused by bacterial pneumonia.
January 6th, 2017, SeaWorld announced Tilikum’s death. They said it was due to bacterial infection, but do we really think this? A killer whale who was kept in a small tanks, which he barely had room to swim, and was the death of three people. Tilikum also couldn’t preform all that much anymore, was he killed?
Two Beluga and two dolphin deaths in a year?
A 22 year old male bottle-nose dolphin died in March, 2015. He showed no signs of illness previous of his death. An 8 year old bottle-nose dolphin soon died afterwards, this death was listed a probable pneumonia, is this good enough? A Beluga whale which was only two years old, died unexpectedly, and previous another Beluga died not too long before hand. These Beluga whales life expectancy in the wild is 60 years old, and 60% born in captivity don’t make it to adult hood, and those that do don’t usually live past 30. Can we really say this is better than them being in the wild for the sake of a few shows?
What can we do?
STOP going there and funding them to continue, these animal’s need to be taken to seaside sanctuary to live out the rest of their day’s feeling what it’s like to be free and in natural waters, not swimming pool sized enclosures. Because people are funding them by still going, these animal’s are going to remain in captivity, and never experience a taste of wildlife. Just because the Orca shows are ending, doesn’t mean its right to keep the other animal’s in here.
Sign petitions, as many as you can, even if they are super popular, or unpopular, every little bit helps, it’s places like this that need to go as quick as they came.
Rest in peace to all the animals who have suffered in this captivity, and especially Tilikum, you are now at peace.