Tilikum, SeaWorld most infamous performer has been reported to have a decline in his health. SeaWorld veterinarian Scott Gearhart has said he is “not optimistic” about the orca’s future.
I’m sure many of you will be familiar with Tilikum and possibly have even seen him in action through his 23-year long career. SeaWorld has said on their blog that he has a bacterial infection in his lungs and has been resistant to all treatment.
It has not been an easy life for Tilikum after been responsible for the killing of two trainers in his first home of SeaLand of the Pacific, in British Columbia back in 1991. After this park was closed he was then moved to his now current home of SeaWorld Orlando.
Again Tilikum was responsible for numerous deaths here including that of a man who trespassed in 1999 after hours in SeaWorld and was found dead in the orcas tank the next morning. However, the incident everyone remembers is Tilikum killing his own trainer back in 2010, Dawn Brancheau, when he grabbed her under the water and she drowned.
He was used as a form of entertainment and was part of their breeding programme throughout the years he has spent here.
The documentary, Blackfish, released in 2013 starring Tilikum revealed exactly how these creatures were being treated behind the scenes at SeaWorld.
The theme park came under huge fire after animal rights activists were furious with what they saw. Not only did it damage their reputation but it also saw a huge decline in ticket sales in all three SeaWorlds in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio as well as a public campaign opposing shows with captive killer whales.
Since the documentary they have continued their signature orca shows but recently CEO, Joel Manby, has said that they want to take things in a different direction and by creating a new “orca experience” showing the whales in their more natural setting.
What do you guys make of all this? Let us know
But we here are sending all our love to Tilikum! 🙂