The Killer whale shows at SeaWorld Orlando has resumed just a day after, Tillikum, killed a trainer. It’s the third time the 30-year-old whale, who was captured in Iceland when he was two years old, has been involved in a death. In 1991, when Tillikum was at Oak Bay’s Sealand of the Pacific, he was among three whales who killed 20-year-old trainer and marine biology student Keltie Byrne after she slipped into the pool. The whales, Tillikum and females Nootka and Haida, would not allow her out of the pool and she drowned. All three whales were sold to SeaWorld in 1992, the same year Sealand closed its doors. In 1999, a 27-year-old man apparently jumped into Tillikum’s pool. He died of drowning and hypothermia, but his body was also found to have bite marks.
Should Marineland continue the Killer Whale show?
One of their main attractions at Marineland Niagara Falls are the Killer Whales. The Marineland website describes the Killer Whales as affectionate and gentle:
“Despite their ferocious name, killer whales are actually friendly and affectionate animals. Previously regarded as undesirable, fearsome predators, this congenial side of the largest member of the dolphin family became known only through observations and contact made at facilities like Marineland. At Marineland you’ll have the rare opportunity to see, first-hand, just how affectionate, as well as incredibly intelligent, these beautiful friendly giants of the sea really are..” – Marineland
The park does not open until May 22nd and we were not able to contact the park for an official comment on the recent trategy at SeaWorld, or if the park plans to continue the Killer Whale show in 2010. But that does not mean we can’t voice our opinions. Is it ethical to have large mammals such as killer whales in captivity? Tell us what you think.