Hello, Wild Animals Do Not Love You...Wild Animals Kill You...Hello? Is Anyone Listening?
On February 20, 1991, a group of 3 Killer Whales (Haida, Nootka, and Tilikum) killed a trainer named Keltie Byrne at Sealand in Victoria, British Columbia. After this, Tilikum was relocated to SeaWorld of Orlando, Florida, where he remains. He is currently the largest Killer Whale in captivity.
In 1999, a male was found dead in Tilikum's pool, with hypothermia determined as the cause of death, although he also had bruises and abrasions attributed to Tilikum.
February 24, 2010, a Killer Whale (Tilikum) at SeaWorld Orlando killed an experienced trainer towards the end of a show. Initial reports conflict about whether she fell into the pool or was pulled in by Tilikum.The autopsy determined that the trainer, Dawn Brancheau, died of "multiple traumatic injuries and drowning".
This is the third human to be killed by this particular Killer Whale. Just as I expected, some of the first words from the mouth of the spokesperson for Seaworld was that Tilikum would remain as a part of the team and continue to perform with the other whales and trainers. Yes, it was probably the fault of the trainer...she wasn't supposed to be in the water (whether or not she was is not yet known, what is known is that Tilikum grabbed her ponytail and pulled her under the water), but this whale had killed twice before, and should have been returned to the wild. No one can make me believe a grown Killer Whale cannot survive on his own after being in captivity. Even if that were the case, I don't really care in this instance. This whale has killed three times, and it will kill again. That is what they do, that is what they are.
Killer Whales are predators, they are wild animals. Killer Whales are not domestic housecats, dogs, horses, or hamsters. Killer Whales do not "love" their trainers, they tolerate them, and when the opportunity arises, they kill them.
“Captive Orcas are not domesticated… These tragic events are a reminder that Orcas are powerful and unpredictable animals.”
~Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society ~
"Killer whales are intelligent creatures that don't do things accidentally. The whale's actions at SeaWorld Orlando were intentional. I don't think he was lurking waiting to do this, though he very well might have been.The whale "was not trying to eat the trainer," but the marine mammal's actions were "premeditated."
~Richard Ellis, Marine conservationist with the American Museum of Natural History~
"There is absolutely a risk in keeping him where he is.Tilikum will kill again if he remains in captivity"
~Naomi Rose, a marine-mammal scientist for the Humane Society of the United States~