SeaWorld Killer Whale to be Spared, But no ‘Free Willy’ Moment

February 26, 2010

(ChattahBox)—-SeaWorld’s 12,000-pound killer whale named Tilikum that pulled its trainer Dawn Brancheau, a 40-year-old veteran trainer, into the water and thrashed her to death, won’t be killed for his violent behavior, despite the fact that he has now killed three people. The killer orca’s sperm is apparently too valuable to the SeaWorld’s breeding program. SeaWorld officials also point out that Tilikum is a companion to the other whales at the park; not to mention his value as a performer. But there will be no magical “Free Willy” ending for Tilikum, because officials say he has been in captivity too long to survive in the wild.

Chuck Tompkins, chief of animal training at SeaWorld parks announced that changes will be implemented in how the trainers handle the whales. And a VIP program, which allowed visitors to pet the whales will now be eliminated. “We’re going to make any changes we have to to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said Tompkins.

Additionally, all orca shows will be suspended at SeaWorld’s three parks, while a review is completed of the circumstances surrounding Brancheau’s death. Although Tilikum was said to be acting strangely in the hours leading up to his fatal attack, his behavior was dismissed. Presumably the issue of a whale’s behavior will be part of the review.

In response to questions about the whale’s previous history of killing, Tompkins claims that the park took precautions. “We didn’t ignore those incidents,” Tompkins said. “We work with him very, very carefully. We did not get in the water with this animal like we do with other killer whales because we recognized his potential.”

Dawn Brancheau’s sister, Diane Gross, supported the park’s decision to spare the life of Tilikum, noting that Brancheau loved the whales she worked with. “She loved the whales like her children. She loved all of them,” said Gross.

Source: MSNBC

Photo Source: Julie Fletcher / AP


11 Responses to “SeaWorld Killer Whale to be Spared, But no ‘Free Willy’ Moment”

  1. Hukiworld on February 26th, 2010 11:45 am

    I think it’s very sad what happened how the trainer was killed, it was no accident like the Sea World tried to put in public eye to cover it all up because the whale is too valuable to be put down or set free. People once again under estimate the wild life. Tilikum shouldn’t be put down because it is a wild animal but the killer whale SHOULD definitely not be allowed to perform with humans ever again- 3 strikes and your out! That’s how bad this economy is that even Sea World values the life of a wild animal OVER that of a human. I bet if it was the child or family member of someone in upper management there at Sea World, the whale would be put down or set free.

    Tilikum can survive just fine. The whole BS story about lived in captivity is a bunch of crap to keep him there as a sperm donor and performer because Sea World ONLY cares about making money. That whale should have never even been allowed to perform after first death of human, but no, after three trainers, Tilikum is still allowed to stay working. If it was a human, we be put in jail and sentenced to death. Interesting huh?

  2. Hukiworld on February 26th, 2010 11:48 am

    I am going to start a MySpace to make people stop going to Sea World altogether till they release that wild beast and away from humans. Sea World doesn’t wish to lose money, they will lose a lot more when people stop coming to their park because they don’t care about human life as much as their money makers (the sea life).

  3. donna on February 26th, 2010 1:51 pm

    i think that Tilikum should go to the ocean were he belongs.

  4. Alyssa on February 26th, 2010 5:06 pm

    i think they are making the right decision. No, you cannot release him back into the wild. he has been fed from a bucket his whole life. he does not know how to catch food or defend himself. yes he is dangerous to us and a dangerous animal in the wild, but he doesnt know how to be a wild whale. its in his nature to kill. hence the name killer whale. the mistake was made a long time ago when we captured the first one for entertainment. these animals are not meant for captivity. how can you condemn an animal for acting on something that is natural to him? i think its sick to keep these animals in captivity. i dont support sea world and i dont support zoo’s. i think its sick that people take their children those places to gawk at animals that are captured and being held against their will. if you want to see those animals, go into the wild yourself. they are wild animals. let them be wild. what if someone caged you and people got to come around all day and gawk at you and treat you the way the animals are at the zoo. people think its so nice because the animals are fed and have shelter but i bet if those animals could talk they would tell you they would much rather be in their natural habitat doing things that are in their nature. so, though i dont support these places, i do support this decision because if they are going to release him knowing he’s going to die in the wild they might as well just kill him and you cant kill him for doing something that comes natural to him.

  5. Rembrant on February 26th, 2010 11:41 pm

    Hukiworld You are incorrect in some of your points here. First you can not charge an animal with a crime. Humans and animals are two different species, and to charge someone with a crime like murder you have to prove intent.

    LIke here can you really prove that the orca intentionally killed the trainer. No you can’t and you can’t charge an animal with murder. That’s silly. Second the whale from free willy proved that you can’t release these orca’s back into the wild.

    Millions were spent getting Keiko ready to be releaseed into the wild, and when they finally released her/him the whale sough out human companionship. They are too accustomed to human contact now. So no don’t compare an orca and a human when to comes to the law, and don’t just say he’ll be alright in the ocean.

  6. Brittany on February 27th, 2010 2:43 am

    I think that they should leave the whale Alone and let it be free in the ocean where he belongs.
    Seaworld only is trying to make money off the whale which I think is wrong
    I don’t think it is right for anyone to take these beatuiful whales out of there homes in the oceans and make them do tricks they should be left alone
    I think they should also look into how seaworld is treating the whales as well as other animals.
    People should do more to save the whales not destroy them.

  7. Wen on February 27th, 2010 3:17 am

    People, just look at the size of that killer whale!! The tiniest little thing it do will cause humans serious injury. The fact of the matter is most humans are so selfish and ignorant. All we are concerned is about how to domestic these animals and use them for entertainment. It is a tragic to lose such valuable trainer. But the fact of the matter is there is always dangerous to work with wild animals and accidents happen, especially giant animals that are thousands time bigger than an ordinary human. I just don’t understand what makes humans think that they have to right to decide whether to put Tili to sleep? What makes humans think that dangerous wild animals like killer whales will be always obedient and submissive and do everything humans tell them to do. Who likes to be slaves? Even animals don’t. Animals are living beings too..they have emotions too. They can feel aggravated and irritated…human’s selfish interest shouldn’t always come before wildlife.

  8. marty on February 27th, 2010 9:58 am

    horses are not near as big as a whale and they have consistantly injured the humans who work around them. some are just plain mean. they are not killed for being mean nor are they turned loose in the wild. this whale needs his human contact limited to safe measures for the trainers and visitors but releasing him into the ocean is a death sentence. that would be like taking your pet poodle into the wilds of alaska and turning him loose. this should be a learing experience. I also believe that sea world is not allowed to capture wild whales. all new whales must be bred in captivity.

  9. pete on February 27th, 2010 9:52 pm

    I often wonder how much control we -they need to have .We must have ultimate control of us and our lives but where do we draw the line.They are going to let that creature display its acts again??? Well your list is not right this person trainer was worth a lot more in every way than a fish! Yes its a mammel so then send those that made the decision in with the fish.I would bet my life that the ones in charge are following procedure but maybe it should have been there own child . Animals are tortured with all this captivity just so us citizens can look ,,at the pretty animals .We dont have any real captivity spaces for these creatures.In 3rd world countries its ok to do anything you want with any animal eat it alive. Why do most of us have our heads up our butts

  10. Dino Dogan on February 27th, 2010 11:49 pm

    SeaWorld had issued contradictory reports on the Whale murder… muddy waters are benefiting the owners of the Sea World…divide opinions, put out inconsistent information, confuse and thrive…just another day at the office Im afraid.

    I am sure that SeaWorld has put bottom line before the well being of the whale, humans, trainers and anyone else who stood in the way of making profits.

    The root of the problem is deeper Im afraid. I’ve written about it on my blog if anyone cares to comment …

  11. jack on March 2nd, 2010 3:11 pm

    first of all the blame of the trainer who died goes too sea world they never should have been alowed to catch this killer whale he was robbed from his family yes its true he could never survive in the ocean ever again i feel sorry for the family who lost a family member what about the family members of the orcas who lost there family member and take a look at the size of the tank they have him in very unfair too him and his family usying his sprem is cruel there making tons of money off this show they do and if sea world like too contact please do i give them a earful your dealing with a wild animal that should never be allowed to catch i would think there would be laws agaist this is this not whale fihing i bet they use nets too catch those killer whales lets put a stop too this i just some who also have seen one of these shows too but is it fair too have then in tank so small NO its not fair for them i think sea world should be in big trouble for traping and catching killer whales i think the presdent of this company should know this is wrong so sea world what are you going too do about this lets put this crime too a stop no more killer whale catching and shows they will not listen too us when there making big money from them the killer whales if any one wants too state your thought please do so maybe sea world who listen too us

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