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Killer Whale Tilikum Returns to SeaWorld Shows After 3rd Death

March 30, 2011
Tilly Breaches in debut performance after 13 months

Tilikum returns to SeaWorld performances on March 30, 2011, after 13 months of isolation following the brutal death of veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau

Tilikum, the 12,000 lb killer whale at the center of a controversial debate on orca captivity and safety, returned to performances today in Florida– a little more than a year after brutally killing veteran orca trainer Dawn Brancheau.  SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment President Jim Atchison signed off on the decision earlier this week according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel.

This is seen as a risky public relations move as details have emerged that implicate the marine park for knowingly allowing their veteran trainer to come in close contact with Tilikum, who had already been involved in the deaths of two people including trainer Keltie Byrne at Sealand of the Pacific.

In less than a month the Orlando theme park will square off against OSHA as they contest citations for “willfully” placing their employees at risk. In the interim, SeaWorld has attempted to placate the safety issues with several unrealized and unproven systems intended to keep trainers out of harms way but only time will tell if SeaWorld’s calculated risks will be “profitable” enough to avoid the cost of future deaths.

Why put him back in the show only three weeks before they are going to debut the new show “One Ocean” of which he is so far not scheduled to appear?  Perhaps they’ll just say it’s because he’s not ready to perform in that one. And why didn’t they put him back in the show earlier, when they’ve had their “new safety protocols” in place for a while now?  Could it be because they want to be able to show the judge that Tilikum is safe to work with, minimizing the risk that he will harm someone else? The timing is very suspicious just ahead of the OSHA hearings.

Dawn’s death has also reignited the debate over housing the ocean’s top predator in captivity, a socially dynamic, intelligent, social mammal and forcing it to perform tricks for food… and for the paying public.

Below is a clip from Tilikum’s debut performance in the 11:30 a.m. “Believe” show on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 before a crowd of “Shumu” chanters:

Participating in shows is just a portion of Tilikum’s day, but we feel it is an important component of his physical, social and mental enrichment,” said Kelly Flaherty Clark, SeaWorld Orlando’s animal training curator, in a prepared statement.

Ms. Clark’s words speak volumes in the marine parks care of the world’s largest orca in captivity since that tragic day. Following last year’s incident, Tilikum has essentially been kept in isolation, has not performed publicly and has been without a companion since Taima died. This has been widely viewed as a cruel departure from the strong social bonds that are formed by orcas in the wild and serves to substantiate the claims that Tilikum’s social interactions have been neglected over the past 13 months. The long hiatus may prove to be difficult for Tilikum, creating a more unstable situation for him and increasing the risk to trainers.

And these are not the only tragedies to have befallen the multibillion-dollar entertainment giant this past year. In just 9 months, four orcas have died in SeaWorld Parks, including the October death of the “Original Baby Shamu” Kalina… the first “successful” orca born into captivity that died at the age of 25. In September, 12-year old male orca Sumar died at their San Diego park. And just 3 months earlier, Sumar’s mother Taima died at the Orlando facility along with her 4th calf. Tilikum was the father of the unsuccessful birth.

In the wild, male orcas live an average of 30+ years and females 50+ years. Many also live well into their 80s or 90s. In captivity; orcas rarely make it out of their teens and suffer from the extreme stresses of captivity. Tilikum, at age 31, remains an anomaly amongst captive orcas, of which there are only 42 worldwide.

For more on Tilikum’s return:

Watch an interview with former SeaWorld trainer Samantha Berg on the CBS Early Show <HERE> and the full report from CBS <HERE>.

Watch a report on ABC’s Good Morning America <HERE>, with additional coverage from The Orlando Sentinel <HERE>.

Read an AOL News interview with former SeaWorld trainer Dr. Jeffrey Ventre <HERE>.

UPDATE: Three weeks after Tillikum’s return to performing, SeaWorld rolled out its new “One Ocean” show to replace the “Believe” show. On day two of their new extravaganza, Tilly seems less than thrilled— and visitors begin walking out of Shamu Stadium as Tilikum refuses to perform. After splashing the crowd a couple of times, he appeared to lose interest and just swims around the pool for several minutes. After what was already a rather lame show, the guests have seen just about enough and begin filing out— annoyed with the music and lack of “entertainment”. Other than numerous water jets that squirt into the air and into the pool, the new “One Ocean” show appears more pathetic than its’ predecessor the “Believe” show. Watch Tilly’s day 2 performance of “One Ocean” below:

92 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2015 9:21 pm

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  2. Calista Lane permalink
    June 24, 2015 8:09 pm

    My heart is so completely broken for Tilli. He has paid his dues and much more. U don’t really need him anymore. He deserves his freedom. Let him live what little time he may have left free of captivity. He has made these people billions of dollars in the thirty years of his life. He doesn’t have any value of life in his pool floating lifeless daily with no interaction with other whales or trainers. Free Tilli!

  3. rebca permalink
    October 8, 2014 10:49 am

    Tilikum is old for a whale in captivity. Perhaps Tilikum is holding onto the idea of someday being free.

  4. rebca permalink
    October 8, 2014 10:44 am

    OSHA, please write laws that ban orca whales from being held in captivity in th U.S.A. The outcome for the whales is a sad life as a slave for profits in the pockets of SeaWorld upper management. The whales are not earning a living doing the shows. Their captivity is not in their best interest. The trainers are not succeeding at SeaWorld.The outcome for the trainers is injury and death. The saftey protocols for the trainers are severely inadequate.

    OSHA, please take the lead in writing laws banning orca whales from being held in captivity in the U.S.A.

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  8. wyatt evony permalink
    December 15, 2013 9:01 am

    F(edited) SeaWorld

  9. dan permalink
    November 27, 2013 7:18 pm

    Well im a bloke who will gladly sit in a sea food restaurant and pick my lobster out of the tank before demolishing it without a hint of regret. Im pretty working class and for the most part enjoy living my life without really giving a shit about what other people do or how they make money or any of the other unjust happenings this world spits at other people or animals. However in years to come i think that a the people who care to this degree about the orca in captivity will owe a lot to the work of garbriela cowperthwaite for blackfish. Before watching blackfish i would have gladly taken my 3 year old son and my wife to see the shows these parks put on for the public, but after watching i get the broader picture of these amazing social animals who seem to have a much higher form of intellect that not even the top marine biologists truelly understand not to mention your average working class man. Its made me question myself. Will i now become a vegan and start to shop in charity shops for odd brightly coloured clothing and think its cool? erm……. no. Will i really care if another species become extinct? probably not. But we arnt talking about other species. The one thing that struck me was at the start of this film it showed a group of orca being tracked, so to protect their young they split into two groups with the males surfacing and the famales and young keeping submerged and taking a different route. this is concious decision making on a scale level with a human. This for me is why orca is different from the rest of the animal kingdom. The fact they have a more complex part of the brain than controls emotion and the can talk to each other to the degree they have different languages. Yes they are animals but they are so very special. As for the rest of nature. We are humans and i will still go to burgerking. But i will never ever take my son to seaworld and let him live that particular lie.

  10. Laurie permalink
    November 2, 2013 11:45 pm

    Why hasn’t anyone stepped in? Experts on Orcas have proven, thru research, the social/family ties these animals have. Tilikum should NEVER have been isolated for 13 months, or stolen from his mother for that matter. Why hasn’t anyone learned from this? This isn’t like teaching our children about these animals thru a zoo environment (which I’m not a fan of but understand the concept). This is making a non domesticated animal perform tricks like a dog. I am guilty of going to Sea World as a child but we are now in 2013. What more can OSHA do?

  11. Rose permalink
    October 30, 2013 7:15 pm

    Free the whales and all animals!!!!!!!

  12. SeaWorld Rocks permalink
    September 29, 2013 3:31 pm

    I can’t wait to go to SeaWorld Orlando! 😀

    • Kerri Higgins permalink
      November 20, 2013 10:55 pm

      Dumb$&@, the happy face troll.

  13. August 18, 2012 4:13 pm

    I don’t understand why they don’t set him free and let him go back to his land in the ocean …Obviously he doesn’t like it here, he already has killed 3 people, if it’s not for the whale sake, do it for the people sake! Omg!

  14. Karla permalink
    June 18, 2012 12:22 pm

    Orca whales are wild creatures, Human thought they could get them out of exsinction rates however its like all animals out of their natural habit… you cannot handicap them into something they are not. whether it be a Orca, Polar Bear, Wolf, Tiger, Lion ect. They are natural born hunters eat meat. YOU CANNOT HANDICAP THEM OUT OF IT!

  15. Laine permalink
    October 28, 2011 7:39 pm

    @I LOVE BELIEVE is the perfect example of
    $eaworlds target audience for their torture-parks – a selfish, uneducated and moronic individual with $$ to burn.

  16. April 7, 2011 5:19 pm


  17. April 2, 2011 2:15 pm

    Thank you CG & JK for shedding light on the issue(s) of orca confinement and the relationship to the increased suffering and mortality seen with captive Orcinus orca, as well as the poor governmental oversight of this industry (reminds me of the MMS and BP). And thank you Dyz for illustrating the direct evidence. We do know that the median duration of captivity is quite low, for all captive orcas (both living and dead, n = 192) at 8.5 years. That’s a remarkably dismal number when compared with free-ranging orca longevity. Here is a brief and effective video worth sharing:

  18. April 2, 2011 12:19 pm

    Arden and Dyz

    You condemn the captivity of Killer Whales in marine parks and yet YOU DO NOT CONDEMN PEOPLE WHO HAVE SMALL BETA FISH AQUARIUMS IN THEIR HOMES!! I even dare to say that many you who support this so called “cause” are owners of such “domestic” aquariums or know friends who do…. and yet you won’t do anything about it!…..

    If you compare such small aquariums vs the number killer whales in captivity worldwide this is even a greater atrocity that you just do not care about….



    • Jen permalink
      April 2, 2011 10:28 pm

      If you are that concerned for fish (and you must be as you keep, on and on mentioning them) then go and complain on a fish keeping forum – this is an orca forum. And no one on here has said that keeping beta fish in a tiny tank it ok, so why keep bringing it up?

      If you wanted to you could make an anti captivity argument for every animal in the world, but this site is specifically about orca. Stick to the subject.

    • LetitB permalink
      January 14, 2014 11:37 pm

      Oh dear God SHUT YOUR STUPID PHACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Retard! Christ, I hope you’re sterile!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Gabriela permalink
      February 2, 2014 11:45 am

      Well at this rate you may say that but Im one young girl who grew up wishing to go to sea world and actually see a huge whale jumping around and splashing people because I considered it to be normal at that time. When I went for the first time I was shocked and had the time of my life, I was 6 –_–. I went again when I was 13 and it wasn’t the same. The truth is that SOME PEOPLE do have little fish in a bowl and what not, but is sick of you to say just because that happens you are allowed to have a WHALE as a PET! jumping around for money $$$$, and even worse actually take them away from their mothers like nothing is wrong. Lets just put this way not everyone has a fish, a dog, cat or whatever animal you may like to add, in their house, including myself for all that matter. The POINT is that those are not the subject here, the subject of the conversation are ORCAS living in captivity, stressing out about things that they are not suppose to be doing, so lady, if you are so sure that this is right than I hope you never have children, in fact it would be awesome if you had any and have that motherly feeling of protection! and think about how would it feel if your child was ripped out of your arms without any regrets by those people, who knows if that poor child is sold somewhere for god knows what, JUST THINK! Orcas have brains, they are intelligent and really emotional, just think how would you feel and if you would try to do something about it and you couldn’t.

  19. Arden Greenwood permalink
    April 1, 2011 5:58 pm

    Once again I am perplexed how someone with a vengeful attitude toward the species ORCA is allowed to spew antagonistic comments on a page supporting the protection of this species?
    If anyone (I know, I am one) goes on any of the Seaworld pages and merely discusses the ethical considerations of incarcerating a wide ranging cetacean they are BLOCKED from the page.
    If you contact any marine biologist not on the payroll of the captivity industry, you will get the opinion that it is not humane to encase such a huge aquatic mammal in such a limited space.
    The sea is vast. The species is so wide ranging that they have been tracked at approximately 100 miles in a single day.
    There was a time when an elephant was kept in a small enclosure in a zoo. This is no longer considered ethical.
    The concrete pool makes the sonar worthless and in fact frustrating to the orca. There are experts in the field such as Paul Spong or Howard Garrett who can be reached to discuss this species.
    As far as concern for Dawn Brancheau, there is no person more saddened and concerned for her than her widower.
    A company that makes millions and millions each year is refusing to pay a mere $75,000 OSHA fine.
    There are trainers who have been interviewed on this very site who know all too well how much their welfare is worth.
    Dawn’s husband is suing the company for the death of his beautiful and competent wife. It has been stated by many how no trainer in Orlando had her expertise or knowledge of this particular orca.
    Yet, Thad has had the audacity to speak for the dead. There is even a video available in which he states that Dawn herself would say this or that about Tilikum.
    If an employee of the captivity industry can speak for the dead, is it not allowed for THE ORCA PROJECT to advocate for the well being of a species with no money, no lawyer, no ability to climb out of a trap and go home to where it was meant to be?
    How can a person not have compassion for a 12 thousand pound mammal who is trapped in a tiny enclosure. How can anyone compare a dog to an orca?
    Study the species. Unless you must be beholden to the captivity industry for your livelihood ( and that is a reasonable concern in a difficult economy), you will see that this species is not appropriate for a small enclosure.

  20. April 1, 2011 2:29 pm


    “She loved and knew more about killer whales than everyone here who pretends to be something that they are not”
    Your own words support why this is all wrong, she was “one of the best and most knowledgable trainers” yet she managed to become too lax for her own good and trusted Tilly when she should not have….if Dawn was not safe what makes you think anyone is safe with him? You have no idea what these animals go through when the public is not present. You are only seeing one side of the story, the side SeaWorld wants you to see….people like you are easy to brainwash and you make them money!!

    People at TOP support the animals while people like you support the trainers. This blog is for the support of the animals not the trainers. Your complaining would be better dealt with in one of the closed forums for procaps.

  21. April 1, 2011 2:20 pm


    You stated Keiko died only 5 years after release but do you have any idea how many orcas have died in captivity within the first 6 years of being in captivity- Here are a few facts you seem to beleaving out~

    97 out of 156 orcas that have died in captivity did not survive 6 years….more than 62%.

    Wanda 2 days, Moby Doll 3 months, Namu 1 year, Shamu 6 years, Katy 3 months, Orky 2 years, Lupa 7 months, Bonnie 4 months, Natsidalia 7 months, Corky 2 1/2 years, Tula 3 months, Ahad 5 1/2 years, Cuddles 5 1/2 years, Mamuk 5 1/2 years, Ramu2 1 year, Calypso 1 year, Patches 1 1/2 years, Kenny 1 1/2 years, Scarredjaw Cow 2 months, Chimo 2 1/2 years, Lil Nootka 7 months, Ramu4 1 year, Wally 1 year, Clovis 2 1/2 years, Chappy 3 1/2 years, Jumbo 4 years, Kandu3 4 years, Kona 6 years, Canuck 2 1/2 years, Zero 15 days, Sandy 4 1/2 years, Kandy 3 months, Frankie 5 months, Nootka2 9 months, Nootka3 9 months, Kim 5 1/2 years, Baby 18 days, Miracle 4 1/2 years, Magnus 2 months, Canuck2 4 years, no name 4 months, Spooky 11 days, no name 5 months, no name 5 days, no name 1 month, no name 2 months, Chi 4 months, Tai 3 years, Surfer Girl 9 days, Dzul-ha 4 years, no name 3 months, King 4 years, Benkei2 2 1/2 years, no name 2 months, Neptune 1 1/2 years, Nemo 5 years, no name 4 months, Benkei3 1 1/2 years, Sacchi 2 years, no name 10 days, Kiva 48 days, no name 8 months, Nandu 4 1/2 years, no name 2 months, Freyja 3 years, no name 1 months, Milagro 5 1/2 years, Baby Shamu 11 days, no name 2 months, Shachi 2 years, Prince 4 years, no name 22 days, Ai 6 years, Kyosha 96 days, no name 33 days, no name 62 days, no name 1 day, Nyar 2 1/2 years, Kanuck 4 years, no name 38 days, no name 1 day, no name 1 day, Malik 4 years, Nova 4 1/2 years, no name 4 months, no name 4 months, no name 11 days, Hudson 6 years, Algonquin 2 1/2 years, Sarah 3 years, no name 28 days, April 1 month, Athena 4 1/2 years, no name 2 days, Halyn 2 1/2 years, no name 3 days, Pascuala 2 months

  22. Corrie153 permalink
    March 31, 2011 9:31 am

    my goodness, there is alot of strong opinions on this topic. I have never seen a whale or dolphin show and I would not want to as I would perfere to see them in there own environment. Went Dolphin watching while on holiday to New Zealand and what a show the dolphins put on. There were about 20-40 dolphins following the boat and they were jumping, doing flips and all sorts. If people want to see a show then they should go where the dolphins do it on there own accord.

    I strongly disagree with captivity and I believe Tilly should be retired and at the least be put in a sea pen. This is no life for such a strong and intelligent being. Keiko’s release was indeed a great success and learning curv for us. He was able to live the life he should of been left to live and due to his many years in captivity (which caused him illhealth) he did indeed seek human interaction. But isnt it great that he was able to CHOOSE. if he wanted intereaction he came looking for it but on the days when he didnt, he could swim the open ocean.

    I dont particuarly like zoos although they do have there place in the breeding programmes. but again this is prob due to humans hunting certain animals to the point of extinction.

    We have a lot to answer for and we must learn that keeping a wild animal in a cage or tank is no life for any being.

  23. March 31, 2011 12:02 am



    • Jordan permalink
      March 31, 2011 12:04 am

      If I hadn’t known better, you have a massive crush on Kielty! Awwwww ❤

      • March 31, 2011 12:18 am

        Look who is talking… one of his disciples and supporters….

        • Jordan permalink
          March 31, 2011 12:26 am

          Yeah but you’re the one bringing up his name TWICE while foaming at the mouth. I never even brought him up once, young’un.

          Honestly, how old are you? You fit exactly within the cookie-cutter 11~13 year olds that act like like a total Internet tough guy but can’t defend him/herself worth a lick.

    • Tilikum permalink
      March 31, 2011 12:22 am

      In my opinion, nobody is exploiting Dawns death, the only exploiting going on is by SW and other Marine parks on their animals.
      You’re the one who keeps bringing her up, almost like you are trying to make us feel guilty for speaking out against this industry by spinning it like we are somehow disrespecting her memory. Nice try!

      • March 31, 2011 12:27 am

        Oh once more!!!


        I encourage you to read my last response to RITA after she made the exact same (CONTENT REMOVED BY TOP) statement!!!….

        • Tilikum permalink
          March 31, 2011 12:34 am

          I did read it …twice.
          Sorry but I don’t see how you’ve explained anything, all you’ve done is trash talked JK and posted a link to his FB page. So, how has everyone exploited Dawns death? Please enlighten me.

        • Jordan permalink
          March 31, 2011 12:53 am

          And I encourage YOU to read my reply to your question about why I’m in this “movement.”

          And I also encourage you to answer my inquiry as to why you’re so mad and filled with such venom.

    • March 31, 2011 8:23 am

      A note from the creators of The Orca Project:

      The Orca Project was created to provide an outlet for individuals to present facts and insight into the world of orca captivity, and for readers to participate in a healthy, constructive debate on the issues.

      It is not our desire to overly moderate the discussions; however, all comments that are deemed to be personal in nature, abusive, obscene, defamatory, false or misleading will be deleted. Let’s please stick to the issues and refrain from personal attacks.

      We welcome you to continue to participate in this debate, so long as you steer your focus to the facts, issues and debate at hand. Continued abuses of our comment policy will lead to deletion or blocking of your input.

      Note: We will be deleting those comments that do not meet our commenting policy.

      Thank you,
      The Orca Project

  24. Rita Tsolos permalink
    March 30, 2011 11:52 pm

    @ I LOVE BELIEVE I have read everyones comments here and you are the only who keeps up bringing Dawn up…Sea World is actually the one promoting Tilikum the KILLER whale “who has killed 3 people is now back performing in the show” Today the stadium for his return was packed so in reality who is really the one exploiting Dawn’s death for personal promotion? You

  25. March 30, 2011 11:29 pm

    Making generalizations about people who have empathy for other living creatures is unproductive. People who advocate for humane treatment of animals come from a wide variety of backgrounds and political and religious beliefs. Empathy is not Democrat or Republican, Lutheran or Buddhist.

    Threatening violence against people who hold different views, who to my knowledge have never performed any of the jihadist acts listed here– which would endanger lives that we can all agree should be preserved– is bigoted and perverse. Threats and name calling often exist in such forums in lieu of intelligent, respectful dialogue because people are acting from emotion instead of reason.

    I’ve always seen other viewpoints welcome on this forum, but often see it in the form of anger and insults rather than logic and persuasive facts. To dissenters I say– bring your thoughts, but do it respectfully. I’m open to other viewpoints. I want to be sure I’m considering all sides and making objective decisions. I shun groupthink. I also wonder what else is wrong in people’s lives that causes them to label, categorize, and falsely accuse total strangers.

    We are a diverse crowd that doesn’t always agree on how to handle these issues. But we are united by a respect and empathy for a beautiful, intelligent creature that has needs beyond what entertainment venues can give. No one with half a brain wants to just throw them back in the ocean and watch them die; there are better plans, like sea pens, for trying to get these orcas out of their swimming pools and back to more native environments.

    The bottom line: if you really want to convince people of your views, you won’t do it by threatening them, berating them, accusing them of fantasizing about things that don’t seem to have a basis in reality, or calling them names. If that garbage continues, then it’s clear this is about bashing people, not reasoning with them.

    • March 30, 2011 11:40 pm


      • Jordan permalink
        March 30, 2011 11:54 pm

        Can you explain to us why you’re so mad? Please, I think inquiring minds want to know. And please use your quiet voice.

        • March 31, 2011 12:25 am

          Can you explain what do you think you will remotely achieve by belonging to this “movement”?….

          Let me see… I know! You think you will put enough burden on SeaWorld to the point that they will end up releasing Tilikum!!!!

          How brilliant!

        • Jordan permalink
          March 31, 2011 12:39 am

          You want an answer so badly bro? Fine, here’s my position:

          I don’t even support the release of just dropping Tilikum into the wild, genius. I’d be happy if SeaWorld stopped the shows, made sure the female orcas were on safe contraceptives so no more needless breeding occurred (although accidents happen and those are fine) and went for a TOTAL zoo approach. This would include the tanks getting revamped not make them so obnoxiously blue and featureless, but make them dark, covered in rocks, pebbles and sand, and have synthetic kelp forests and varying currents. Then all the orcas would stay together in the pods as they are.

          But since I know SeaWorld wouldn’t do that even if they had the money, I’d prefer to see Tilikum be in a large sea pen. But realistically, that won’t happen. So what do I really want? More stringent regulations by independent and federal organizations to make sure the trainers and orcas are safe, and not let the marine parks do as please for the sake of their wallets.

          Trainers have been seen as nothing more than a replaceable performer, not a zoological expert. Don’t believe me? Then explain why trainers are paid so meagerly and the dropout rate is so high. Please explain why one Orlando SW’s head trainers in the 90’s had to get a second job being a server at Chili’s in order to have enough money to cover the costs of food, bills and living.

          Does this answer your “movement” question or are you going to throw another tantrum? If this satisfies you, then please answer mine. It’s only fair.

      • Tilikum permalink
        March 30, 2011 11:56 pm

        As far as I’m aware, Shamu Stadium was packed with Pro caps today, all wanting to see the Killer in the pool, and you call us weird?

      • March 31, 2011 12:00 am

        How do you know Dawn? You have such strong feelings about her that it sounds like you have a personal connection. I’d like to know what drives your anger since you have repeated this sentiment many times now. I’ve never assumed anything about her. I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things from people who did know her. She sounds like someone who loved her animal companions and loved her job.

        What is it that you feel the rest of us don’t understand about her story?

        No, not lecturing. Just asking people to have respect and not assume that they know what we’re all thinking or where we all come from. Theoretically some of us may have nothing in common except for this one issue.

        • March 31, 2011 12:17 am

          And I would like to know what (CONTENT REMOVED BY TOP)

          So you heard about her… She sounds like she was nice….
          So clearly you did not know her and much less you saw her perform….

          My connection with her is non of your business… but let me tell you this…. if you had seen her perform as many times as I did or if you had known her like I did you will be TOTALLY ASHAMED of belonging to this “movement”….

          She loved and knew more about killer whales than everyone here who pretends to be something that they are not… and (CONTENT REMOVED BY TOP)

        • March 31, 2011 12:46 am

          Last time I checked, I wasn’t a goofy cult member with an enlightened leader out to exploit the masses for personal gain.

          Let me ask this a different way, because you clearly want to be heard and are obviously upset.

          Specifically, what is it that hits a nerve?

          Do you feel that because someone you feel strongly about was okay with orcas in captivity that people who are against it are against her?

          If so, know that some advocates are people who not only care about the orcas, but about the safety of their trainers and other involved parties. I hope that as long as there are captive orcas, there are trained, loving, talented people to take care of them.

          Right now you are defensive of someone dear to you and want others to understand what you’re feeling. You feel pretty alone here and maybe like you’re trapped in an environment with others who just don’t understand.

          That’s probably how captive orcas feel– frustrated, in an alien environment, trying desperately to get others to understand. Remember the line from “Titanic”– “I feel like I’m standing in a crowded room screaming and no one hears me.”

  26. Rita Tsolos permalink
    March 30, 2011 11:20 pm

    @ I LOVE BELIEVE You are so ignorant Do you know anything ? Not all dogs are wild animals! I also can provide an excellent life for my dog where he can roam free at the parks and natural ravines and socialize with other animals. Unlike what captivity offers killer whales and other BIG animals confined in solitude . I bet my dog lives a better life than you LOL! Anti-captive organizations and celebrities have offered 3+ million dollars and have a sea pen waiting for Lolita… what makes you think the same isn’t already happening for Tilikum? Like the killer whales can ‘choose’ when they want to perform they can also chose to leave or stay in a sea pen.

    • March 30, 2011 11:28 pm

      Dear Rita!

      You have a dog in your house then you have an animal in CAPTIVITY!… period!

      Weather you like it or not that is a FACT!

      Do not try to justify yourself!

      • Jordan permalink
        March 30, 2011 11:32 pm

        What are you trying to achieve with this argument of having pets is having animals in captivity, aside from stating the blatantly obvious?

        • March 30, 2011 11:44 pm

          What are you trying to achieve by supporting this “movement”???… using Dawn’s tragedy for personal benefit while making a (CONTENT REMOVED BY TOP) of yourself and pretending to be something that (lets face it) YOU ARE NOT!?

          Go put yourself in harm’s way trying to avoid the hunt of a killer whale and then you will get my respect… meanwhile you are just a (CONTENT REMOVED BY TOP)

        • Jordan permalink
          March 30, 2011 11:52 pm

          This entire comment is gold, I love it.

          How am I hypocritical? All I’m did for far for the past 10 minutes was deflect your invalid argument of domesticated animals/wild animals and point out that you’re looking like a brat that’s having a BAWWWfest.

          Are you even paying attention to what you’re typing? First you call me a weirdo with intellect, then a clown, then a hypocrite. Why would I put myself in the middle of a transient orca’s hunt? What brought that up? Why would you think I would do that? They need to eat to survive, why the hell would I do that?

          Wait, do you think I’m a vegan, is that what it is? I had grilled chicken with a black bean and assorted veggie sauce for lunch and a PB&J for dinner. Is this what you’re so pissed off about? That I’m eating something much better and yummier than the Lunchables your parents are giving you, is that what?

  27. March 30, 2011 10:56 pm

    Dear Rita.

    You have a Chihuaua at your house!!!… is not that captivity too!!!!!!???…. Proof that you are a hypocrite! Why don’t you release your adored Chihuahua into the wild to live with the other animals? Oh no!!! because a Chihuahua is a “domestic” animal!!!….. right??… OMG!!!

    So.. again.. you want to “free tilly” LOL.. on a sea pen?… what a lovely idea…. and may I ask you… ON WHOSE EXPENSE???? who is going to pay for that!!! YOU?

    Alright then… why PETA has not acquired a sea pen with all the millions they get in support as a sanctuary for released orcas and dolphins?… Let me guess…. they are too busy paying for the next boob job for Pamela Anderson!!!

    And you should read better. When Keiko was released into the wild he was still looking for human interaction… it is in the exact same link you posted… why you did not put that? huh?…

    • Jordan permalink
      March 30, 2011 11:09 pm

      First off, the dog/orca argument and using against Rita is INVALID because her Chihuahua was domesticated via thousands of years and generations of selecting and passing down desired traits, i.e. big eyes and itty bitty body. Orcas are wild fauna. You can take them out of the wild, but you can’t take the WILD out of them.

      SeaWorld can wish all they want that their captive breeding program could make them more tamer through the generations, but at the rate Tilikum and Katina are being used to create more offspring, their children and grandchildren will copulate and inbreeding will run rampant. In the end, they won’t get that – just a bunch of orca calves with a myriad of health problems and possible deformities.

      Why do you think all the white tigers that in captivity are commonly born with chronic health problems? Because they’re inbred in order to get the white coat! Their handlers and trainers can care less about the health risks that will most likely arise!

      • March 30, 2011 11:24 pm

        Blah! blah! blah! blah! (CONTENT REMOVED BY TOP)

        Just like I said! (CONTENT REMOVED BY TOP) justify having animals in captivity by saying that those are DOMESTIC ANIMALS!!!

        • Jordan permalink
          March 30, 2011 11:26 pm

          Why you so mad, tho?

    • Tilikum permalink
      March 30, 2011 11:15 pm

      Seriously? Are you really wanting people to use a whale and a small dog for comparison?

      • March 30, 2011 11:20 pm

        (CONTENT REMOVED BY TOP) to say that having a dog in your house or a small aquarium full of beta fish is no captivity!….

        Again!… (CONTENT REMOVED BY TOP)

        • Jordan permalink
          March 30, 2011 11:23 pm

          How about you stop acting like a brat? You’re getting nowhere with your cursing and half-strung arguments. If you’re so pissed off with our stupidity, then why are you still here?

        • Tilikum permalink
          March 30, 2011 11:29 pm

          I’m not even going to reason with you, clearly you are some 11 year old who’s mad at Mommy and Daddy for not taking you to SW this month.

  28. Rita Tsolos permalink
    March 30, 2011 10:46 pm

    @ I LOVE BELIEVE By “release Tilikum” I am saying to retire him from $W and release him into a sea pen. I know what happened to Keiko a whale who beached himself and died of pneumonia in his NATURAL ENVIRONMENT That’s what whales do when they are sick…they beach themselves…another instinct that can not be fulfilled when held captive in a tank.
    FYI ‘ I do not own any fish. I do have a chihuahua who was given to me by a friend who’s dog had puppies:) And BTW I feel blessed and good about myself everyday. Free and loving every moment of the short time we spend here on earth.

    • Tilikum permalink
      March 30, 2011 10:57 pm

      I agree Rita, I don’t know why people think Keiko’s release was a failure? He spent the last 5 years of his life in freedom, I wouldn’t consider this a failure.

      • March 30, 2011 11:03 pm

        Oh please! (CONTENT REMOVED BY TOP)

        Keiko lived 23 years in captivity and when released only lasted 5!…. Even a 5 year old knows the difference!

        What a great idea!!!! Lets release kill Tilikum then by releasing him into the wild too!

        • Tilikum permalink
          March 30, 2011 11:10 pm

          Honestly, you really don’t need to write the limited parts of your vocab in uppercase, I can read it just as well in lowercase.

          What do you suggest should happen with Tilikum? Do you think he should be retired to a Sea Pen? Do you think he should stay at SW doing his tricks? Do you think Tili is happy with his living conditions?

          PS, Keiko was very sick in captivity, he was taken from Mexico just in time. Keiko wasn’t going to last much longer, he would have died in that tank, fortunately for him, he lasted 5 years longer and died in his natural environment.

  29. Rita Tsolos permalink
    March 30, 2011 10:15 pm

    @I LOVE BELIEVE Weirdos? NOT wanting to free Tilikum (an orca that has been physically, mentally and sexually abused for the last 28 years of his life) into his natural environment and having the BEST care for him is WEIRD and selfish! From your comment above you show that you are very ignorant, defensive, and idiotic to think that John ( or any one who BELIEVES in something passionately) would result to any physical threat or harm to any one @ SW. You brought up violence. You made these sick accusations. Do you work there? Why so defensive about someone coming out to watch a killer whale perform? Unless…$ea World has something to hide…
    In regards to Dawn an experienced dedicated trainer to Tilikum. She loved all animals especially killer whales and was very aware of the risks of working with wild animals in captivity. May she Rest In Peace
    Talking about ‘nuts’ grow some balls and new brain cells! Educate yourself…you love whales and animals then save some money go take trips into the wild and watch them in their natural environments…go to a museum…watch a documentary….Why would you rather give your money to $ea World and watch an ill, broken down animal swim in a small concrete tank doing repetitive mindless tricks? That to me is WEIRD!

    • March 30, 2011 10:29 pm

      Dear Rita….

      Do you want to “free tilly”?… LOL! don’t make me laugh!

      Do you realize that this orca simply will not survive if released into the wild? What part of this (CONTENT REMOVED BY TOP) do not understand?…. Want an example? read what happened to Keiko!

      If you really care about animals in captivity start by releasing all the beta fish you have in your domestic aquarium on your kitchen and encourage others to do the same… maybe that will make you feel better about yourself!

  30. March 30, 2011 9:20 pm

    I warn you all (CONTENT REMOVED BY TOP)

    • Tilikum permalink
      March 30, 2011 10:08 pm

      Wow, interesting vocabulary you have put forth on this public forum, $eaWorld will be so proud that they have such quality people such as yourself as a voice for their Abusement Parks. Thank you for your insightful and intelligent input into this subject, I’ve learned a lot from you!!

      • March 30, 2011 10:23 pm

        Wow! your level of creativity really amazes me!!!! I would’ve never occurred to me criticize SeaWorld by substituting the “S” with a dollar sign!!!

        No wonder why your so called movements are so disrespected by being target of jokes and laughs!!!

        You don’t like my vocabulary?… well… what about this….


        • Tilikum permalink
          March 30, 2011 10:53 pm

          The only reason your comments will be removed is because they’re offensive, childish, confrontational, and crude.

        • Jordan permalink
          March 30, 2011 10:54 pm

          Actually you just made yourself look more like an angry twelve year old just by the way you came in here and dropped F bombs on everyone, as well as how you’re going to harm everyone, rather than defending your argument for captivity of cetaceans. You’re not doing yourself or your pro-cap fellows’ image a favor with your hostile behavior.

          I believe the term you’re looking for is fetish, not “sexual dysfunction.” Let me guess, did you run into some lazily drawn Tilikum/Dawn vore on Deviantart or FurAffinity and immediately assumed some anti-cap made it?** If that’s the case, then you’ve got alot to learn about the crazy subcultures that reside on the Internet. If you did a bit more research, it was not an anti-cap that created it but a vore fan (Unless there is someone who is vore/anti-cap that I am not aware of).

          **For the record, yes, such abysmal dross does exist, and I find it ridiculous and awful that piece of chicken-scratch still hasn’t been taken down on DA considering the number of times I’ve reported it.

        • SeaWorld Rocks permalink
          September 29, 2013 7:02 pm

          “No wonder why your so called movements are so disrespected by being target of jokes and laughs!!!” So true.

  31. March 30, 2011 8:45 pm

    Thank you Orca Project for the untiring advocacy for the mind in the waters. This is indeed a spectacle of dominance, as Ric O’Barry and others have characterised it. To see a magnificent male orca in his prime years used as an entertainment toy, and behind the scenes sexually interfered with by humans for sperm collection since his teens, as well as his every thought continually interfered with by Sea World operant conditioning, is a catalogue of atrocities.
    Tillikum and all wild captives should be returned to home waters in sea pens with all the support they need for as long as they need it, and captive breeding of orcas and all cetaceans must end.

    • March 30, 2011 11:06 pm

      Really! Have you seen orcas in the wild?… and with that I do not mean on the NAT GEO or Discovery but in the wild! or even better! Have you participated in the rescue of a whale from furtive hunters?……or participated at least on a manatee conservation program????


      • Jordan permalink
        March 30, 2011 11:27 pm

        What are you doing at this hour anyway? Isn’t it your bed time? I’ve got an all nighter on this assignment, so I’ve got plenty of time to kill if you’re gonna be here for the next hour trashing the comments section.

  32. SIMON CHADWICK permalink
    March 30, 2011 8:30 pm

    I live for orcas and when I first went to sea world I was hurt by how miserable the orcas looked in the viewing pool.It broke my heart.I live in British Columbia now and followed my dream to live near these orcas in the wild .I now have the luxury of seeing orcas in the wild,and they so enjoy thier life,its amazing that you can kayak along side them and they never bother you,however they can attack and kill someone who works with them and shows them love.This tells you how stressed and unhappy they really are in captivity. seaworld breaks my heart the way they mask news from the trainers and the way these orcas are struggling for value of life,its like a life long prision sentence…keep up the good work orca project you are making people aware of this brutal act.


  33. Kat permalink
    March 30, 2011 5:08 pm

    Sad…. and very sad to see people think this is a great show…. all the captives need to be free living with their family and feeling the ocean……

  34. March 30, 2011 4:21 pm

    Oh this makes me sad. I’m glad that he’s getting some more exercise and mental stimulation (as much as a show can be anyways), but to see the crowd of people there to watch the show is just depressing. It makes you wonder who the people are who’d pay money to go watch people in a prison forced to entertain. Seaworld is such a PR manipulator 😦 Let the poor guy go live in a sea pen at least.


  1. Over 30 Years and Three Deaths: Tilikum’s Tragic Story – Site Title
  2. Tilikum’s Life Story Will Bring You to Tears | Claudine Giovannoni
  3. Blackfish: Tilikum, a dying Orca in Seaworld – animalsrockblog
  4. Tilikum, SeaWorld’s Notorious Killer Whale, Is Near Death – The Conscious Mind
  5. Tilikum – savethekillerwhale
  6. This Orca's Living Hell at SeaWorld | Blog |
  7. 30 Years & 3 Deaths | Accidents @ Seaworld: "Blackfish"
  8. “Blackfish” – The Story of The Killer Whale Tilikum | removing crisis
  9. Blackfish Response | S.Weisz
  10. The Blackfish Documentary - Should Killer Whales Be Held In Captivity?
  11. The Compassionate Report – 30 Years and Three Deaths: Tilikum’s Tragic Story
  12. #SeaWorld Trainer Death Theory Debunked as a Ponytail Tale «
  13. SeaWorld vs. OSHA- Killer Whale Showdown in Florida « The Orca Project
  14. SeaWorld Trainer Death Theory Debunked as a Ponytail Tale « The Orca Project

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