Following the death of a trainer, Sea World has suspended killer whale shows and will conduct a thorough review of its procedures.That’s a good start.
The next step should be to end these ridiculous spectacles once and for all.
Even without the death of the trainer (and it’s not the first — it’s not even the first death caused by this particular whale), these shows are cruel.
But let’s get to the death part. There’s a reason these are called KILLER WHALES. For some reason the name KILLER WHALE wasn’t enough to tip people off that enslaving these huge animals and putting on shows where a trainer rides around in front of throngs of sunburned tourists wasn’t a good idea.
In 2004 there was another incident at Sea World, where a whale named Ky tried to submerge a trainer. More devastating, the Humane Society’s report on that event specifically mentioned today’s killer Tilikum as being a threat–because Tilikum had killed before, back in 1991. (Tilikum is the father of Ky, so we’re talking about a family affair here.)
Here’s what the Humane Society said in 2004:
In 1991, a 11,000-pound orca named Tillikum, along with two female whales, drowned a young part-time trainer named Keltie Byrne at Sealand of the Pacific in Canada. The incident was hauntingly similar to Ky’s attack in San Antonio: The earlier attack occurred in front a horrified audience, which watched helplessly as one of the killer whales grabbed Byrne in its mouth and dragged her around the pool, mostly underwater. The entire incident played out over several long minutes. “The whales weren’t trying to kill Byrne, but Tillikum and his orca companions didn’t know that humans can’t hold their breath as long as whales,” says The HSUS’s Rose.
Tillikum was later shipped to Sea World of Orlando where he would be implicated in another human death. A man, who had apparently stayed in the park after closing hours, jumped into Tillikum’s tank in July 1999. He was found dead the next morning, naked and draped across the whale. The man’s swim trunks were found in the water, and his body was scraped up, a sign that Tillikum had dragged him around the bottom and sides of the tank.So here we have this industry turn a blind eye to multiple instances of human death all fo the sake of profit.
And Ky isn’t Tilikum’s only spawn.
Since his arrival at SeaWorld, Tilikum has sired many calves with many different females. His first calf, born in Orlando, was to Katina. Katina gave birth to Taku on September 9, 1993. Tillikum’s other calves are: Nyar (born 1993, died 1996), Unna (1996), Sumar (1998), Tuar (1999), Tekoa (2000), Nakai (2001), Kohana (2002), Ikaika (2002), Skyla (2004), and Malia (2007). In 1999, Tillikum began training for artificial insemination (AI). In early 2000, Kasatka who resides at SeaWorld San Diego was artificially inseminated using his sperm. She gave birth to Tillikum’s son, Nakai, on September 1, 2001. On May 3, 2002, another female in San Diego, named Takara, bore Tilikum’s calf through AI.
Dear SeaWorld and SeaWorld-owner Blackstone: It’s time to put an end to this practice and send killer whales back to the sea.
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