Tilikum’s Legacy: How a Late SeaWorld Orca Changed a Park and Whale Captivity Forever

On Friday morning, Tilikum a orca whale died during a SeaWorld park in Orlando, Florida.


Long before his passing, a 36-year-old torpedo whale done headlines for his partial in a argumentative documentary Blackfish, in that his function was profiled — and for murdering SeaWorld tutor Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

These events speedy a new epoch during SeaWorld, where a seductiveness shifted from tact whales and creation them perform to focusing on a animals’ healthy behavior, and also bolstered a transformation to finish whale captivity.

In a timeline of his brief life, it is easy to see a severe universe Tilikum lived in, and how his onslaught has perpetually altered SeaWorld and how we perspective serf whales.

1983: Tilikum a 2-year-old longhorn orca is prisoner from a furious in a waters near Reykjavík, Iceland, and is taken to a tank during a internal zoo.

1984: After a year in Iceland, Tilikum moves to Sealand of a Pacific in South Oak Bay, British Columbia, Canada.

Here, Tilikum is put into a tank with dual other comparison and incomparable womanlike orcas, Haida II and Nootka IV, withdrawal a masculine visitor during a bottom of a amicable hierarchy. Because of his station with a group, Tilikum endures continued bullying from both of a womanlike whales, who mostly forcibly flock him into a smaller medical tank.

Feb. 20, 1991: Keltie Byrne, a 21-year-old sea biology tyro operative as a part-time tutor during Sealand, slips into a pool containing Tilikum, Haida II and Nootka IV. All 3 whales plunge Byrne, a rival swimmer, in a H2O and forestall her from surfacing. For minutes, a whales drag her around a pool and forestall her from reaching a sides or receiving assistance from associate trainers. Eventually, Byrne drowns in front of guests. Several hours pass before a park can safely mislay a woman’s physique from a whales’ pool.

Jan. 9, 1992: Harassed by his pool friends for years and partially obliged for a genocide of one person, Tilikum is eliminated to SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, to continue training and performances. Sealand of a Pacific closes shortly after Tilikum’s departure.

During his time during SeaWorld Orlando, spermatazoa private from Tilikum by trainers is used to founder 21 orca calfs, 11 of that preceded their father in death.

July 6, 1999: On this morning a passed man, 27-year-old Daniel P. Dukes, is found exposed and slumped over Tilikum’s back. SeaWorld discovers after that Dukes had visited a park a prior day, hid until it sealed and afterwards snuck into Tilikum’s tank. An autopsy dynamic Dukes’ means of genocide was drowning by Tilikum.

Feb. 24, 2010: Tilikum becomes obliged for his third genocide — creation him obliged for 3 of usually 4 available deaths by orca attacks on humans. After behaving a ‘Dine with Shamu’ uncover with maestro tutor Dawn Brancheau, Tilikum grabs a tutor and drags her into a water, drowning her in front of guests. Tilikum is private from performances after this incident, though stays on arrangement during a park.

March 30, 2011: SeaWorld decides to use Tilikum in performances again, adding a few confidence measures to forestall serve tutor injuries.

December 2011: Tilikum is private from performances due to illness.

April 2012: SeaWorld starts regulating Tilikum in performances once more.

January 2013: The documentary Blackfish premieres, profiling Tilikum’s knowledge in captivity, arguing these assumed conditions (tiny cages, tighten buliding to other whales, opening training) caused a whale mental and earthy anguish, that contributed to a deaths he was concerned in.

August 2014: SeaWorld starts building new, incomparable torpedo whale tanks, though states that a choice is not a response to Blackfish. Animal advocates plainly disagree that a changes are not adequate to prove a intelligent creatures, who float dozens of miles a day in a wild, and that all of SeaWorld’s orcas should stop being used for tact and get to live out a rest of their lives in sea sanctuaries.

October 2015: Tank enlargement skeleton in San Diego hindrance after California Coastal Commission manners that construction can usually continue if a parks finish their serf tact program.

November 2015: Plans to proviso out torpedo whale shows are announced. SeaWorld states that torpedo whale performances will stop during a San Diego park in 2017 and during other locations in 2019.

March 2016: SeaWorld reveals that Tilikum has a bacterial infection in his lungs that is resistant to diagnosis and is severely inspiring his altogether health.

Gerardo Mora/Getty

Gerardo Mora/Getty

March 17, 2016: SeaWorld announces a skeleton to finish a serf tact program, that means a stream orcas vital in a parks will be a final torpedo whales in chains during SeaWorld, unless a whale comes in as a rescue.

May 2016: The tools of a orca performances that embody kissing, dancing or posing stop during SeaWorld.

Jan. 6, 2017: Tilikum dies during SeaWorld Orlando.


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