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Poll: Should Tilikum be retired?

September 5, 2010

In light of the killing of animal trainer, Dawn Brancheau, on February  24th, 2010 – there has been a lot of controversy as to whether SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida should keep Tilikum captive, or retire him to a sea pen.

Let us know what you think.  Vote here and leave your comments below.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2016 9:59 pm

    We are NOT all responsible for the actions of Seaworld. They should have never bought him knowing about his first victim. They knew they put these trainers lives at risk, and should have been held accountable for Dawns death. As for insanity, that whale knew what he did and that is why he is so sick and depressed these days.

  2. Lisa de Villiers permalink
    September 18, 2015 6:45 am

    I feel ill to my stomach. It is totally devastating to see him left like this. I’m sure he is sad, lonely and bewildered by the sudden lack of attention and enthusiasm he used to be shown. Just let him feel the stones on the sea floor, the natural rhythms of the tide, the peace and tranquillity of the ocean while he lives out the rest of his days. Please, do NOT let him languish, depressed and alone, until death. He doesn’t deserve that.

  3. malinda permalink
    September 21, 2014 8:58 am

    if they would have retired him after the first person he killed, the other victims would be alive today!!

  4. Amanda Akin permalink
    September 15, 2014 5:36 pm

    Let them all go free even the ones they shipped out all over the world,don’t forget the dolphins, I ask who was the freak who thought this was a good idea in the first place to capture the largest sea animals an put them in the smallest tinny ,little, tiny , bucket of water you can find man made pond? Who are the the sick people who still think this is still ok? It breaks my heart seeing them stuck in these sells. What is there crime? What did they do ? NOTHING !!!! It count amounts to abuse mental and physical abuse. In the UK we got rid of these cesspits, we go wise and got rid!!! So should the rest of the world. Show these people up for what they really are. They should go to jail for what they have put these animals through, what makes them any different to humans, NOTHING!!!! So let’s take this sick world to court for animal cruelty. If they were dogs or cats would it be any different ?if so why? Because if a cat or dog was kept in a shoe box 24 – 7 made to do silly tricks, starved if they do something wrong, get hurt ,injured left with big holes going skeptic, and all the other sick things that’s going on in sick world. take away there dignity there would be a human out cry and it would have been stopped years ago. So the only way to stop it is be a thorn in there side, Sick world how do you sleep at night how can you look at these beautiful animals and not see what everyone else see? abuse sadness Tilikum is alone sad empty he stays still floating there like an empty shell of what he should be,probably wishing he. Was dead, please let him go, maybe god will forgive you????

  5. Kathy Navarro Sochel permalink
    April 18, 2014 3:29 am

    I agree with all of the voices above – retire and free Tilikum. For his sake and to honor Dawn. I believe that if she was truly aware of ALL of his history, she would want that for him.

  6. November 5, 2013 1:38 pm

    If I was ignored and confined as Tilikum is I would go mad and quite frankly hope to die. How horribly sad it must be for him. Sea World should let him go to an organization who will care for him in a sea pen, hopefully with others of his kind, so he may live out his days in some sort of freedom. Give Tilikum his life back Sea World it is not right and very cruel.

  7. October 29, 2013 10:42 pm

    Profit always comes over humanity. The treatment of these wonderful, majestic animals is an atrocity. Animals were not created to entertain us. What has happened to a moral compass? If Sea World Management thinks they are treating the orcas humanely, try to imagine switching roles with the animals and see how you might feel. I’m disgusted!

  8. Elizabeth permalink
    October 28, 2013 2:45 am

    We take with no regard for anyone but ourselves. Selfish, greedy and gluttonous, are the only reason to exploit the animals the way we do. It is unfortunate that when these kinds of accidents happen, we blame the animals. They shouldn’t be there in the first place! They are bored and frustrated.
    Shame on us!

  9. Amanda Thomson permalink
    August 19, 2012 9:00 pm

    He deserves to be set free! Good God can’t these people see what they are doing is horrific?!?!?!? He was caught in the wild…how is this even legal anymore?!?!?!? They are doing NOTHING with this poor creature, for God’s sake, have a heart and set him free! This is just heartbreaking!

  10. Linda Robinson permalink
    January 3, 2012 4:35 am

    These creatures belong in the sea to be FREE!!

  11. paul dunn permalink
    January 2, 2012 7:24 pm

    retire him and let him be.

  12. barbara permalink
    January 2, 2012 2:59 pm

    I like to know more about how sea pens work. I think it wrong in the first place to incarcerate, force this redundant circus style confined life upon this intelligent marine wildlife member, and then justify more actions to the detriment of this specie upon him when in the first place he was FORCED into this existence.
    You people are to be ashamed of your selfs for the arrogance of putting his captors above him! You exploited this creature long enough for you gain. Now the longterm effects of this intelligent creature, do to your own inadequacies are becoming known, and you move ahead like it is the most common thing to continue pandering his life away while you keep control of this poor captive Whale.
    They are intelligent, that much has been proven again and again; yet unless they volunteer to allow you trainers, as you call them, to publicly preen their sick egos at the expense of a marine member being depraved of its natural habitat and interactions with its own kind again and again and again, day in day out, year by year, while this sensitive creature also is forced to witness his co-captives family members dying of diseases do to chemicals leeching from the artificial pools, die prematurely, die do to physical confinements weakening them and so on, all along this, being forced to breed and preform as if it had no capacity of grieve and sorrow wrecking it’s soul.
    You fiends, you exploit their capacity to show joy and love and respect and willingness to cooperate, but there your egos stops and you now assume the right to punish your captive for the crimes of slavery and exploitation for gain you are committing, continue to commit at the expense of their physical and mental health, while acting as if the human specie is the only deserving of understanding, compassion, mercy and consideration. Indicating by this action you invite to justify in the future a worse faith for your intelligent, sensitive and thus traumatized sea mammal wildlife slaves and captives. I find your sea-worlds haven been taken from it’s original intent to serve as research, marine hospitals and so on to vulgar public exploits for gain DETESTABLE! I do not frequent them nor do I support them in their current format. I can’t! I have a conscience. Do you?!

  13. Kat permalink
    January 22, 2011 6:26 pm

    LOL Kids….there should be an age limit to comment… some are just too darn young to know what they are saying…..

  14. January 22, 2011 3:31 pm

    You guys don’t know /anything/. I would go on ranting and ranting, but I feel I do not need to express myself too much, you should understand that SeaWorld would never realease their orcas for multiple reasons.
    Its wasting your time protesting for killer whales to be released, get a life.
    Tilikum is personally my favorite orca in the world, along with Kyuquot, Corky, Ikaika and Cappuccino {K-21}. You anticaps make me sick.
    I also am going to be an orca trainer at SeaWorld, in just a few years, and by then I’m sure you anticaps will still be going at it, since these seaquarium parks will not give.

    I’m not going to continue ranting, but if you want to come rant to me how freedom is best for currently captive orcas, email me.


    • Sally permalink
      January 15, 2012 10:03 pm


      You’re an absolute idiot and an ignorant one at that!!

      You tell me sweetheart, how would YOU like to live the life Tilikum and the other captive animals have lived??

      I can’t imagine you coping too well in captivity with very little if any real interaction with the people or the other whales!

      People like you are the only reason this form of animal cruelty still continues and will sadly still continue in years to come.

    • Lydia McPherson permalink
      February 5, 2014 12:54 am

      So, Collette…………you say WE know nothing and that YOU are going to be a trainer at Sea World, too???!!! It seems to me, YOU are the one who knows NOTHING since Sea World execs keep everything on the downlow and hush-hush to ALL of you trainers about how many incidents DO occur with these majestic, magnificent creatures that were meant to be FREE……….not a side freakshow making killer whales and other sea life PUPPETS for man!! Are YOU aware how MANY of these incidents OCCUR, and but by the Grace of God, did NOT become deadly??? Tilikum became famous because of the deaths…….and many of us thought Dawn’s was the FIRST………. because Sea World officials did as much COVER-UP as they could and they always try to put a spin on everything……even in Dawn’s case, they tried to blame HER by saying she wasn’t careful enough, that she fell in, then saying it was her fault because of her ponytail, etc. etc. which are all LIES as well as a HUGE INSULT to Dawn’s grieving family. Nothing like pouring salt on the wound…… Just remember, Collette, you are just a NUMBER on a paycheck to Sea World, and they PROVED it by their caustic remarks and attitudes in the Dawn Brancheau case. ONLY because of people LIKE US, are there ANY NEW CHANGES at Sea World for these beautiful animals. Unfortunately, it is NOT enough. While I am sure you chose this profession because you love animals and the whales………… what will you do since they are “supposedly” BANNING the trainers from getting into the water with the whales now???Be a “maestro” to the whales to make them do stupid tricks like a dog might do??? (Boy, THAT is really challenging for both you and the whale……..NOT)!!!! If people want to be up close and personal with sea life they can swim with dolphins or manatees, go whale watching on ships, swim and dive with sting rays, etc, ………… ALL IN THEIR OWN ENVIRONMENT…THE SEA!!!! Not some half ass tanks that restrict them, take them away from their mothers, and pods and others like them. I REALIZE that all of the sea life from Sea World can NEVER return to their freedom NOW as they could NOT survive. Which is no one’s fault but, SEA WORLD. But, for MOST of the people on this “Ranting Rampage” as you refer to it, only want what is RIGHT by the animals. They feel the sea life at Sea World have suffered enough, have spent a lot of their lives there, and should be RETIRED to as NORMAL an environment as CAN BE for them NOW, with their OWN kind, a small pod that could adopt them, and with PLENTY of sea to roam and do what they were meant to do, yet, while being taken care of, as necessary. If Man could build Sea World and do ALL the things that were WRONG……… man can surely do the RIGHT thing NOW and have some sort of SEA SANCTUARY large enough where they can live out the rest of their lives with out a ton of restriction, not in danger of other mammals or sea life, since they no longer have the right skills necessary to live in the wild, (thanks to SEA WORLD yet, again for taking that from them, too) and to be taken care of by animal specialists if they become ill, have food brought in for them so they CAN survive, ETC…ETC. With all the millions of dollars that SEA World has made………let them start spending it on what needs to be done FOR THE ANIMALS. They DESERVE that for ALL that Sea World has STRIPPED of them (their habitat, their family and pods, and very LIFE), TAKEN from them (their SKILLS to live and SURVIVE in the wild, their JOY, their SPIRIT to LIVE), and left them with broken, spirit-shattered, life-altered, sad and lonely and depressed lives. Let the Sea World EXECS put their heads together to create something beautiful and life sustainable and ABUSE FREE environment for the sea life to retire to and live out what lives they have left in PEACE and HARMONY, if that is even possible at all, after all they have been through. Let them use their millions of BLOOD MONEY from GREED to do the HUMANE thing for these intelligent, majestic, meant to be free animals. SEA WORLD will NEVER be what they once were in their heyday……… all due to the blanket of lies and the hidden cruelty that was kept from the public. It is ALL out in the OPEN now……… and WE are not going to STAND FOR IT ANYMORE!!!! Do me a favor and let the execs and owner go swimming with Tilikum for JUST 5 MINUTES………. that would be REAL JUSTICE!!!

    • malinda permalink
      September 21, 2014 9:02 am

      maybe when u do become a trainer, u will wake up and see whats going on, even though they will not be straight with u, no body pulled the movie blackfish out of thin air, there is footage there NO ONE can dispute. I hope u change career paths so u dont end up another supporter to these monsters who own these beautiful animals

  15. October 3, 2010 2:27 pm

    i agree he should be retired and taken some place he can be rehabilited and returned to the wild where he belongs.

  16. anneveggie permalink
    September 17, 2010 10:36 am

    He should definitely be retired, it’s so sad to see him living in this confined state. Has this poor mammal not served enough of his sentence yet??
    He should be allowed to live out the rest of his life with some dignity and peace!

  17. September 17, 2010 9:28 am

    Abuse and killing of animals for “sport” and entertainment is immoral. The problem began when Tilikum was taken from the wild into captivity.

  18. September 17, 2010 8:09 am

    He should be retired – the existence he is enduring at present is nothing short of cruelty. No animal should be used (abused!) for entertainment – ever! It’s simply wrong.

  19. September 17, 2010 5:10 am

    What can we do to help Tilly? Is there any way we can join forces to pressurize seaquarium to retire him? It breaks my heart to see him like that. This is the ultimate cruelty. Seaquarium are sadists.

    • Kerri Higgins permalink
      November 20, 2013 10:26 pm

      Josie, i agree. When i think of these tragic events I feel so depressed and anxious. The sheer stupidy and sickening greed that created these hell on earth Orca atrocities and human suffering and death! Right now God help me, the bulk of my empathy is with our boy, Tili here and his other tortured and mishandled co-prisoners. Margaret Mead said somethibg that comes to me now. Never doubt that a small group of like-minded indivduals can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. We have to stop this.

  20. September 13, 2010 9:22 pm

    absolutly retire him get him and every other captive animal out ,its time to give something back to these wounderful animals,they did not diserve this,i hope in the end man payes for all he has done,and pays dearly.

  21. September 8, 2010 6:18 am

    wild creatures living in the open ocean should never ever be trapped and used to create wealth
    for companies.It is completely misguided. This Orca should be allowed its freedom our arrogance sees the reduction of its purposeful life and it must be stopped

  22. September 7, 2010 6:45 pm

    i definitely think its wrong to have any animal in captivity,all captivity is torcher,i think at this point Tilikum should be retired to the best that can be offered,the sea pen sounds like a larger form of captivity,man has destroyed another form off live,no matter what is done now for him,it can never be given back what has been taken.we have got to stop going to these places,circuses,rodeos,aquariums,supply and demand it is so sick leave these beautiful creachers were they belong,soon they wont even have a home,as man is sure to take care of that also.

  23. Alfred Donovan permalink
    September 7, 2010 5:20 am

    These whales should never have been kept in captivity in the first place. He deserves his freedom.

  24. Emmy Hargreaves permalink
    September 7, 2010 4:49 am

    I think it is time that all captive marine mammals were returned to their natural environment and I also think that no more should be made captives to be forced to entertain humans. If people want to see these creatures then they should pay to go out on a boat to see them in the wild.

  25. catherine turley permalink
    September 6, 2010 3:28 pm

    retire them all. an animal’s needs must take precedence over human entertainment.

  26. Sharon Sargent permalink
    September 6, 2010 1:27 pm

    I think he should be retired and returned to his home. I think if his case was tried in court he would be declared temporarily insane due to the horrific conditions he as a wild and free beast was made to endure. I think any jury would have reasonable doubt and the trial would be ended . Folks..we all are as responsible as Sea World. We have supported their actions well by supporting their business. Don’t go to these Parks. End this kind of human entertainment!

    • Sally permalink
      January 15, 2012 9:58 pm

      I totally agree Sharon!!

  27. September 6, 2010 1:42 am

    It’s time for a scientific panel to help design retirement protocols for captive orcas, with guidelines for care, feeding and companionship and benchmarks for gradual release. Options for economic support by viewers, subscriptions, sponsorship or donations should also be considered.

  28. Kathy Shoemaker permalink
    September 5, 2010 7:20 pm

    Yes it is time for him to retire.. he has done his time and made a ton of money for $eaworld.

  29. Jennifer Whitman permalink
    September 5, 2010 4:44 pm

    I think they should retire him. I see no reason to keep him at sea world any longer. They are not using him in the shows and it sounds like he rarely gets to interact with the trainers or the other whales there. What is the point? Retire him!!

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