SeaWorld orca Tilikum dies

Posted | Contributed by DS

One of SeaWorld's better-known orcas, Tilikum, perhaps best known for killing his trainer in 2010, died early Friday morning. SeaWorld said he died surrounded by trainers, care staff and veterinarians. A cause of death is yet to be determined and a necropsy is planned. However, the organization said he had faced "very serious health issues" and veterinarians had been treating him for a "persistent and complicated bacterial lung infection."

Read more from USA Today.

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Jeff's avatar

He lived a lot longer than most orcas do, in the wild or captivity.

PETA sucks. They wouldn't even care about orcas or their conservation were it not for SeaWorld. I doubt many people would.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

^ I completely agree.

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Pete's avatar

I certainly would have never seen an Orca up close and developed an appreciation for the animals if it wasn't for Sea World. When we had Sea World in Ohio, as a frequent visitor, it was pretty obvious that all of the animals were well cared for.

I find it humorous that the movie Blackfish couldn't get the title right as Orcas are mammals, not fish.

Last edited by Pete,

I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

Raven-Phile's avatar

I also hate how people equate orca tanks to bathtubs. A bathtub is sized to fit an adult without room for swimming. A more accurate description would be to compare their tanks to a large house. (They DO live in water, after all)

Honestly, they have plenty of room to swim, get a steady diet and don't have to hunt for their food. They are given the best medical care imaginable, and the awareness and education surrounding the whole thing is incredible.

Every time I have a friend who makes a negative Sea World comment, I always point out that if it weren't for SeaWorld, they wouldn't even know what an orca is to want to "save it from its bathtub".

Jeff's avatar

I'm willing to listen to arguments about the morality of captive animals to an extent (though you'll be hard pressed to convince me that there isn't any scientific or cultural value to it), but that's a completely different issue to one of mistreatment, which is not something these animals have been exposed to under this company's care.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

The problem is the segment of the population that equates captivity with mistreatment, regardless of the details.

Sawblade5's avatar

I know he wouldn't had lasted as long if the Orca's were in their original pool at Sea World Orlando. The original tank is being used for the Dolphin Show. It was also the tank that the Orca's were in when that was seen in Jaws 3D. That pool is a Bathtub for the Orcas. The Current Shamu Stadium opened in 1984.

I am sadden by the loss of Tily. His splashes into the upper tier (Non Splash Zone) of Shamu Stadium and it was quite awesome seeing a massive creature like that up close. I was even more sadden a few years ago when the trainer was accidentally killed by him. I know they had precautions before and the trainers told me how they handled Tily because they told me me because he's very playful and doesn't realize his strength. I am sad I wont be able to see Tilikum again.

Chris Knight

I also get frustrated when I hear people talk about Sea World when they don't know a damn thing. Everything I saw on AND off camera showed me all I need to know: the trainers and care staff in the park are so amazing and love their jobs. It shines through in everything they do. You could never convince me that any of them would stick around or remain silent if they felt the animals were being harmed. The same people bitching about the whales being harmed are probably the same ones who wanted Tilikum euthanized for "killing" his trainer. I'm glad he got to stick around for a little while longer, and I'm glad he got what was certainly exceptional care.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

delan's avatar

I was at the park Friday and the mood was somber. An attendant in the Season Pass Lounge told me the news. It warmed my heart when she said he was surrounded by family when he died.

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