Only foolish humans would keep a 12,300 pound Killer Whale, or Orca, in captivity, made to perform & listen to loud music under stressful conditions.
Killer whales are found in all oceans, from the frigid Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas. Killer whales as a species have a diverse diet, although individual populations often specialize in particular types of prey. Some feed exclusively on fish, while others hunt marine mammals such as sea lions, seals, walruses and even large whales. Killer whales are regarded as apex predators, lacking natural predators and preying on even large sharks.
Killer whales are highly social; some populations are composed of matrilineal family groups which are the most stable of any animal species. Their sophisticated hunting techniques and vocal behaviors, which are often specific to a particular group and passed across generations, have been described as manifestations of culture.
Migration patterns are poorly understood. Each summer, the same individuals appear off the coasts of British Columbia and Washington State. Despite decades of research, where these animals go for the rest of the year remains unknown. Transient pods have been sighted from southern Alaska to central California.] Resident killer whales sometimes travel as much as 160 kilometres (100 mi) in a day, but may be seen in a general area for a month or more. Resident killer whale pod ranges vary from 320 to 1,300 kilometres (200 to 810 mi).
Tilikum, is a bull orca who lives in captivity at SeaWorld Orlando. Tilikum measures 22.5 feet (6.9 m) long and weighs in at 12,300 pounds (5,600 kg), as of 2010. His pectoral fins are six and one half feet long, his flukes curl under, and his 6 feet (1.8 m)-tall dorsal fin is collapsed completely to his left side. He is the largest orca in captivity. As stated above, Killer Whales maintain an 800 mile radius as a kind of home base. They are social, and work together to hunt for food. I don't blame the whales for the human deaths, because humans took them out of their natural habitat, and put them in a very unnatural habitat. They are wild animals, behaving as wild animals do. It's amazing they even put up with the circus performance type training they have been subjected to.
While at Sealand, on February 21, 1991, Tilikum was involved in an incident which resulted in the death of a female trainer. The trainer slipped and fell into the tank with the whales. Tilikum, pregnant Haida II, and Nootka IV grabbed her in their mouths and tossed her to each other, presumably playing. The trainer subsequently drowned. The orcas had never had humans in the water with them before. Both females were pregnant at the time which was not known to the trainers.
Tilikum was at the scene of a death on July 6, 1999. A 27-year-old homeless male intruder was found floating naked in Tilikum’s pool. He had visited SeaWorld the previous day, stayed after the park closed, and evaded security to enter the orca tank. Investigators determined that the man supposedly bit Tilikum. The intruder was eventually identified as Daniel Dukes. Hypothermia was listed as the main cause of death.
On February 24, 2010 Tilikum was involved in a third incident, when he killed Dawn Brancheau, a 40-year-old trainer with 16 years of experience at SeaWorld. The trainer was drowned following a popular 'Dine with Shamu' show as at least two dozen tourists looked on from above a whale tank and from an underwater viewing area. Employees used nets and threw food at the whale in an attempt to distract him.
Moving from pool to pool in the complex, they eventually captured Tilikum and released Brancheau's body, before realizing that the whale still had her arm. A SeaWorld executive confirmed what witnesses saw, that Tilikum pulled the trainer into the water by her ponytail, possibly mistaking it for a fish or thinking it was a toy. Brancheau's autopsy indicated death by drowning and blunt force trauma. The autopsy noted that her spinal cord was severed and she sustained fractures to her jawbone, ribs and to a cervical vertebra.
On August 23, 2010, the park was fined US$75,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for three safety violations, two directly related to Brancheau's death. SeaWorld issued a statement that called OSHA's findings "unfounded".
Scott Brancheau, widowed husband of the SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau, has hired a law firm that specializes in wrongful-death litigation to represent him.
Tilikum returned to performing on March 30, 2011. The trainers no longer work closely with him, and no trainers are allowed in the water with him. High pressure hoses are used to direct the whales, and guardrails and safety nets have also been installed in the pool. There are plans to install false-bottom floors that can lift trainers and whales out of the pools in under a minute.
So many factors, the Orcas living free are used to swimming 100 miles a day. Putting this huge whale in a holding tank ruins their health, not only do they not have space, but they are fed dead fish which is an entirely different diet, which also causes them to lose their ability to hunt in the wild. Also radical climate changes, like Florida, which is the wrong temperature. Tilikum has been ill, taking antibiotics, and being held in captivity, for the captive whale, not performing means even less exercise.
Because he has killed humans three times, you would think Sea World would retire Tilikum. Instead he is back in the fishbowl of entertainment. Can you imagine the insurance liability rate for this set up?
But seriously, you would think if the whale killed 3 people, they would not set it up for a potential 4th incident?
* Credit Wikipedia for Whale fact info.
* Credit Wikipedia for Whale fact info.